Home tax attacked

Cardenas moves to exempt entertainment biz workers

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon on Friday introduced a motion supporting a state bill that, under certain conditions, would exempt actors, musicians, writers and others who work at home from a tax imposed last year by the City Council.

Alarcon’s motion, which likely will be sent to committee this week, calls for a resolution in favor of a bill by Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar) and responds to complaints about the ordinance, which became effective on Sept. 5.

“Many of these home-based artists do not work for the public at large, nor do they create traffic which impacts their neighborhoods,” Alarcon said at a news conference prior to Friday’s council meeting. “If someone is writing a screenplay at home, they are pursuing a dream, not running a business, and these artists should be able to work on their crafts at home without being burdened by taxes and permits.”

Thousands affected

The home-business tax potentially affects more than 160,000 writers, artists and others who work at home and could generate $4 million to $5 million a year.

The city ordinance passed last year requires all persons conducting business at home, including those in the entertainment industry, to get a permit and pay either a minimum tax or a gross receipt tax. The ordinance also gives the city clerk power to enter any place of business to determine whether it should be registered and taxed.

The conditions

Cardenas introduced his Assembly bill last week. If signed into law, it would obviate the need for work permits, business taxes or regulatory license fees if there is not more than one employee engaged in the home and no more than two business-related deliveries at that address per day. In addition, only one client would be able to visit the home per hour, and no public advertising could be conducted.

Among those joining Alarcon and Cardenas at the press conference were representatives of AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Graphic Artists Guild, Motion Picture Editors Guild, National Academy of Songwriters, National Writers Union, PEN Center USA West, Professional Musicians Local 47, Recording Musicians Assn., Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Guild and the Society of Composers and Lyricists.

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