Film, TV Tax Breaks Likely to Be Extended to Broadway and Live Theater

Charles Schumer - P 2012
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Charles Schumer - P 2012

Charles Schumer has been the key force behind the tax package, rallying for the bill alongside Broadway performers Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Tyne Daly.

Broadway and live theater across the country are about to benefit from the same tax breaks long afforded to film and TV production, in a move that Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) says will encourage investment and spur job development.

The new federal tax package, called the "Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015," passed the House with bipartisan support and will be voted on by the Senate on Friday, after which it is expected to be signed into law. Schumer has been working on the live entertainment amendment for four years, rallying for its passage last year alongside Broadway performers including Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Tyne Daly, as well as producer Harvey Weinstein.

"Finally, Congress will give its regards to Broadway," Schumer said in a statement. "Culture and entertainment is one of America's great economic drivers, and investing in live theater is absolutely fundamental to the nurturing and growth of this critical sector of our national economy."

The U.S. tax code up to now has excluded live theater from incentives that provide film and TV productions with up to $15 million in tax credits, when 75 percent of compensation is paid for services in the U.S. That allows producers to recoup their investments before taxes are assessed on any profits earned. Given that half or more of the productions that open on Broadway each year fail to recoup their initial investment before closing, the tax amendment stands significantly to improve the odds.

Schumer claims that exclusion from the benefits available to film and TV has caused many theater producers to go abroad to develop new plays and musicals.