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Entertainers who work in several states might face tax issues

Entertainers who work in several states might face tax issues

July 27, 2021: -With the pandemic upending where Americans work, many might face income tax issues.

Although, workers in few industries, like entertainment, have been dealing with this problem for a long time.

Touring musicians, anchors, athletes, film crew, and other entertainment professionals who work in the U.S. had grappled with tax issues long before the coronavirus pandemic, said the financial experts.

Entertainers and sports professionals are caught in the web of various state and local income taxes, said Chris Cooper, a financial planner at Chris Cooper & Company in San Diego.

The workers owe taxes in their home state, spending most of their time, own a home, register a car, vote, etc.

When they work and pay levies elsewhere, some states have reciprocal agreements, allowing workers to avoid double taxation.

While New York and Los Angeles are magnets for those who work in entertainment, some professionals have shifted to lower-tax jurisdictions, said Jason Moll, CPA and partner of HarnarMoll LLP in Nashville, Tennessee.

For example, while there’s a maximum levy of 13.3% in California, states such as Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas may be attractive because they are income-tax-free.

However, if a Los Angeles transplant shift to Nashville but still spends a lot of time in California, they may have trouble proving that they are no longer residents, Moll explained.

“Your credit card bills tell a pretty revealing story as to where you spend your time,” said Robert Seltzer, CPA at Seltzer Business Management in Los Angeles.

Artists on tour or athletes working in multiple states throughout the year may have particularly complex tax issues. They need to report income to every state, pay levies and file non-resident tax returns.

“If someone is touring, then few states will have their hand out,” Seltzer said.

For example, let’s say a crew based in California relocates to Georgia for a new production. Those workers must withhold Georgia levies and file a non-resident return, he added. Although, they will receive a credit for the taxes paid on their California return.

“As a California resident, it doesn’t hurt them because the Georgia tax rate is lower,” Seltzer said.

But suppose a Georgia-based crew worked in California. In that case, there may be a problem because they can’t claim full credit for higher California taxes paid on their Georgia return, he said.

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