Monday, July 1, 2013

Proposed Tax Break for Broadway and Other Theater

The section 181 tax deduction for the entertainment industry is currently available only for movies and the first 44 episodes of TV shows produced in the United States.  It is not available for porn and other types of performance art.

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) knew a problem when he saw it, and he is proposing to extend the tax deduction to Broadway shows and other forms of live theater.

Mr. Schumer's main concern is that, just like the section 181 tax deduction has successfully stopped American movies and TV shows from being made in other countries, a similar tax deduction is necessary to prevent New York City's Broadway shows from moving to other countries.

Without the extended tax deduction, Broadway patrons in the future might discover that they can save some money, while obtaining nearly the same experience, by watching a telecast (or even time-delayed) production of Les Miserables made in Europe or Evita made in Argentina.  Thousands of stagehand jobs making $422,600 a year would be lost.

Mr. Schumer's proposed legislation is called the STAGE Act of 2013, which appears to be a clever acronym like the USA PATRIOT Act.  His press release unfortunately does not disclose what the acronym stands for.

Given Mr. Schumer's concern about keeping entertainment jobs and dollars in America, presumably he will also extend the tax break to pornography production, in order to prevent the off-shoring of that job-creating strategic American industry to Eastern Europe and South America.  The PORNOGRAPHIC ("Putting Our Resources (National) in Our Generous Research and Providing Hospitality Industry and Culture") Act of 2013 will undoubtedly receive a warm and welcomed reception.

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