Tax bill would give actors a break

Legislation would double expense deduction limit

WASHINGTON -- Struggling actors and other performers would get a break under federal tax legislation introduced Thursday that doubles the limit under which they can deduct business expenses.

The Senate bill raises the income limit under which an actor or other performing artist can get the standard income tax deduction but also write off performance-related expenses such as headshots and transportation to and from auditions as "adjustments to income," rather than having to write these expenses off as itemized deductions.

"This tax code is so outdated, it's more appropriate for court jesters from the Middle Ages than for today's performing artists," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The deduction was set in 1986 at a $16,000 annual income. Schumer's bill raises that to $30,000 and indexes the cap to inflation and applies it to individuals, eliminating the "marriage" penalty under current law. Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are the legislation's chief backers.

"California is home to thousands of talented performing artists who work hard just to make ends meet," Feinstein said.