Kevin Case, counsel to the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, spells out the nitty-gritty of the Trump tax-reform bill:
Under prior tax law, if you were an employee, the IRS allowed a deduction for “ordinary and necessary expenses” incurred in connection with your job. An expense is “ordinary” if it is “common and accepted” in your field; it is “necessary” if it is “helpful and appropriate” for your business. The expense didn’t need to be required by your employer to be deductible.
Many members of ICSOM orchestras have been taking advantage of that deduction for years. It isn’t hard to see why. Orchestral musicians incur substantial expenses in connection with their employment: union dues, work dues, concert clothing, unreimbursed travel expenses (including audition travel expenses), repairs and supplies for instruments, and—most importantly—the instruments themselves. Prior law—which includes the 2017 tax year for which many have not yet filed—allowed a tax deduction for all of that. If you’re a string player in particular, chances are you paid a very large amount of money for your instrument(s) and bows. You’ve been allowed to depreciate that property and deduct the value of that depreciation as an Employee Business Expense over a period of years or even, in certain circumstances, in a single year.
No more. …
Read on here.