Wednesday, February 27, 2008

a letter from A.D. Coleman

within the past three minutes, this email was forwarded to me twice. Seems worthy to pass it on:

Dear Friends,

Many of us, especially in the arts community, have been waiting for
this bill to come up (again) for a quite a while.

This artist deduction bill (S.548) (H.R. 1524) would give artists the
right to deduct the fair market value of their work when donating it
to museum (and in some cases other charities). Believe me, artists are
constantly being asked to donate work to different charities for
fundraising purposes. Visual Art Fundraisers are very common and
widely used every year to support foundations that benefit cancer
research, Parkinson's, diabetes, AIDS, and other non-profit causes.

Another aspect that I find particularly interesting is that often
museums (of every size) can be hit with budget constraints and this
can be quite difficult when attempting to build or even maintain
certain collections. If an artists gets the same fair shake from the
I.R.S. that a collector might get, then artist donated pieces may more
often find their way into those collections.

As it stands now, the artist can only deduct the amount of the
material costs of creating their work (the cost of paint, canvas,
clay, paper...)

This bill is non-partisan and fair. If you can support it, please
click on this link...

...and simply by typing in your zip code a letter of support will be
sent to your senators and congressmen.




Blake Andrews said...

This is one of those ideas that sounds nice. Who could argue against helping artists?

But I think it has some problems. First of all, it would basically allow artists to escape their tax liability. Say you can create art for $100 and maybe you've sold one or two for $1000, so $1000 is the fair market value. So instead of paying taxes, you just create a dozen or so art pieces (or however many were needed) and donate them, deducting 10 times their cost to you from your income. Problem solved. Some people might think it's a good idea for artists to get a tax break. Support your local starving artist bla bla bla. Maybe, but if so, that motivation should be clearly expressed in the bill, and it shouldn't be worded so that donations are a hardship to artists ("constantly asked to donate...").

I don't tax law should be the primary motivation for a donation anyway. If you want to donate a piece, donate it. If you consider it a hardship, don't donate. Whether you can deduct $100 or $1000 from your income should be secondary (of course it isn't, but it should be).

Lastly, the federal debt is currently the largest in history. This is not the time for more tax breaks. It's time to close close loopholes, phase out the Bush tax cuts, and basically restore fiscal sanity to the federal budget.

daniel shea said...

a.d. coleman is awesome. i made a post about him here:

and thanks for the link, i support it, obviously.