The Inequitable Taxation of Low- and Mid-Income Performing Artists

50 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2023 Last revised: 26 Mar 2024

See all articles by Omri Y. Marian

Omri Y. Marian

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: March 21, 2023

Abstract

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) imposes an excessive income tax burden on many low- and mid-income performing artists. Low- and mid-income performing artists suffer a higher effective income tax burden than similarly situated taxpayers who are not performing artists. Low- and mid-income performing artists may also suffer a higher income tax burden than high-income performing artists. This inequity is due to a doctrinal failure in the Internal Revenue Code. This failure was significantly exacerbated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in 2017.

This article makes the following contributions: First, it shows that the IRC and the TCJA do not account for the unique employment structures of the entertainment industry, resulting in low- and mid-income performing artists having to pay income tax on more than their net income. Second, the article uses stylized examples to show how current taxation of performing artists fails the standard benchmarks of sound tax policymaking. Third, the paper explores several possible solutions to the problem and calls for the passage of the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act (PATPA), which has been introduced with bipartisan support in Congress several times but has yet to pass.

Suggested Citation

Marian, Omri Y., The Inequitable Taxation of Low- and Mid-Income Performing Artists (March 21, 2023). 30 UCLA Entertainment Law Review 47 (2023), UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2023-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4395867

Omri Y. Marian (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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