Like most people, I barely understand most of the legalese involved in tax law. In fact, until recently, I blindly believed that, as an Author, since I considered myself engaged in business, and everything I read told me I had to file a Schedule C as a sole proprietorship, when I had royalty income, I was engaged in a For-Profit business. Well, imagine my surprise when the State of Arizona tried to tell me, just before Christmas, last year (Thanks a lot Arizona Scrooge!), that because I couldn’t prove a profit (ie, more income than expenses) in three out of five years as an author, I was not, in fact, engaged in a For-Profit Business.
Apparently, being an Artist/Author is one of those areas for which you are supposed to be punished, in the good ol’ US of A (or, at least, in Arizona), thanks to one of a set of “tests” to determine whether or not a business meets the criteria for “For Profit.” Unfortunately, one of those tests requires a showing of profit — something few authors or artists are familiar with, when it comes to their art. And, equally apparent is the ridiculous notion that an author or artist should ONLY be engaged in writing/art in order to be classed as pursuing that For-Profit status without proof of said profit margin. Apparently, we really ARE supposed to starve and end up in the poor-house/bankrupt in order to be taken seriously by the tax laws.
Well, if you’re an author/artist, or family or friends of such, you know how driven a profession this is. We dedicate every spare moment we can squeeze out of our day for the creation of our creative minds. And there’s not a one of us who doesn’t intend to someday be able to do nothing but write, paint, etc, etc full-time. But we’re also realistic enough to realize that with millions of books printed every day, and hundreds of thousands of artists out there, most of us aren’t likely to ever see our names on or far enough up the bestsellers list or on gallery listing, etc, to make that kind of money. We hold down other jobs, to pay the bills, and our families suffer as much as we do, for our art.
It’s time to take a stand… So if you’re an artist or author, a friend or family of one, or a fan who wants to see your favorite author/artist/etc continue to create, we need your help. Follow the link below, sign the petition, and let’s tell the US Congress that being an artist/author IS a business, and we deserve protection and fair regard, as such, under the tax laws.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/arts-irc-186-amendment/ (yes, I know the link has a mistake… I hit a “6″ instead of a “3″ when typing in the title, and can’t figure out how to change it).