Tax bill would give actors their big break


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 such performance-related expenses 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"This tax code is so outdated, it's more appropriate for court jesters from the Middle Ages than for today's performing artists," said Sen.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.

A similar bill was introduced in 2006 but failed.

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. (partialdiff)