Chuck from DownToTheWireDesigns checked in with us after his New Year’s Resolution to donate a piece of his jewelry every week for the entire year. Committing to a project like that is quite an undertaking for any artist, and Chuck wants to share an important message about a new piece of legislation that would improve the way artists are compensated for their charitable donations. ‘Tis tax season after all…
There is currently a proposed change to the tax code pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that could have a profound effect on all U.S. artists if passed. The proposal, H.R. 1126, also known as the Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2009, seeks to address the issue of artists donating their work to charitable groups and institutions. As the law currently stands, any person in the arts donating their art work is only allowed to deduct the cost of the materials involved in producing the art work. This resolution seeks to change that situation and would allow for a fair market value deduction.
I would encourage everyone to contact their elected representatives in support of this resolution so that it does not languish without getting a floor vote. Getting this passed is a basic issue of fairness. The tax code as it is now written discourages charitable giving in these hard times and it undervalues the work of artists.
To illustrate the absurdity of the current law, consider the following: If I donate a piece that I could normally sell for $100 but that only costs me $10 in materials, I can only deduct that $10 on my tax return. My time, design abilities, and technical skills are not valued at all in the tax code as it now exists. However, if someone else buys that same piece of work for the $100 that I normally charge, they could then donate it to charity and deduct the full $100 market value irrespective of the cost of the materials used in its creation. This is simply not fair, and it hurts both the artists and the groups which rely on those artists in their fundraising efforts.
Again, if you feel that the current law is unfair, please take a moment to send a quick email to your elected representatives encouraging them to support the resolution. All you need to do is write them a single line saying, “I am writing to encourage you to support H.R. 1126, the Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2009.” If you feel inspired you can elaborate by telling your elected official how the current law affects you, and how the change would be an improvement. Try to keep it short and be respectful.