Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Tax Write Offs for Artists

The US Tax Court has recently ruled that artists may claim arts supplies as a business expenses, and receive a tax deduction for those expenses. You can read more about it in this article in the NYT here. Honestly, I was pretty shocked this wasn’t already the case. Businesses do not pay taxes on supplies they purchase to turn into goods for sale. Professionals can deduct educational classes, materials, travel fees, and uniforms from their taxes. Why are art supplies any different? Artists are business owners of one, and as business owners ought to have the same tax privileges. Although in art school the idea of taking a business class was never suggested to us, which I think is a huge mistake in fine art curriculums.

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3 comments on “Tax Write Offs for Artists

  1. cayleycarroll
    October 11, 2014

    I agree that the business classes should be required in fine arts curriculum. Or at the very least, some explanation on how to do income tax. I recently found out that as a freelance stage manager, I am technically a small business owner and need to register as such. I had no idea that I had been doing my taxes wrong for years (and hopefully the government doesn’t know either). It’s not just me either, it is a fact that most of my freelancing cohorts are also not registered business owners. We would have all benefited from some formal education on business before getting out into the field.

  2. benjamendouglas
    October 13, 2014

    When I first saw this article, it infuriated me. Particularly this bit: “…the I.R.S. contended that Ms. Crile’s legal position that she was both an artist and a teacher was “artificial”…”

    • gormleykimberly
      October 14, 2014

      Cringe worthy, I agree. Replace “artist” with any other profession… “biologist” would do. Now imagine the IRS’s response in a similar situation where the professor was deducting research supplies.

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