Many orchestra musicians will lose big under the tax law enacted by Congress in December, according to Daniel Braden, who was a tax consultant to musicians for two decades.
“Under the previous tax rules, employee musicians deducted their expenses as part of Schedule A itemized deductions. Under the new tax law, no employee expenses are allowed to be deducted at all,” Braden writes for The Morning Call of Allentown, PA. A larger standard deduction will not offset “a serious loss when an employee is required to pay out of pocket for substantial expenses, as is the case for orchestra musicians.”
Moreover, musicians with permanent positions with an orchestra will no longer be able to take depreciation deductions on their instruments. Nor can they write off expenses such as repair and insurance, although those working as independent contractors may still do so, Braden writes: