Silver seeks tax equity for actors

Actors Equity prexy Ron Silver is calling on Congress to reshape a bit of the 1986 Tax Reform Act so struggling thesps can deduct expenses like audition tapes and photographs, the actor told Daily Variety Thursday.

Testifying Wednesday on behalf of a consortium of perf arts unions, including Equity, AFTRA, SAG and Writers Guild of America East, Silver told the House select revenue measures subcommittee that under the 1986 act, those kinds of deductions are only fully allowed if the performer had more than one employer in the perf arts, if expenses exceeded 10% of adjusted gross income, and if that income did not exceed $ 16,000.

He said that dollar figure includes all money earned, not just payments from performing. So, Silver said, if the thesp made $ 10,000 acting and another $ 10, 000 from waiting tables, he could not deduct expenses.

Silver said 92% of working actors made less than $ 16,000 performing but supplemented it with outside work, and thus couldn’t deduct things like agents fees and copying costs for resumes.

Silver called on Congress to increase the minimum to $ 36,000 and to limit it to money earned strictly in the performing arts. He also lobbied to overturn the one-employer rule, to allow, for example, for an actor in a long-running play.

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