Tax break for recording artists in Biden’s spending bill

A tax break for recording artists managed to make the cut in House Democrats’ latest version of President Biden’s $1.75 trillion-plus social spending bill — allowing music producers to deduct up to $150,000 for “qualified sound recording productions.”

The provision looks to amend Section 181 of the tax code, which currently allows deductions for “qualified film or television production, and any qualified live theatrical production,” to include “qualified sound recording production,” a change for which the Recording Academy,  the group behind the Grammy Awards, has heavily lobbied. 

The language mirrors that of the HITS Act, a bipartisan bill led by Sens. Dianne Fienstein (D-Calif.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Ron Estes (R-Kansas). 

A tax break for recording artists made the cut in the latest version of the $1.75 trillion-plus social spending bill.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The language was previously omitted from two pandemic relief measures despite lobbying efforts. 

The Recording Academy applauded the move, lauding Feinstein and Sánchez for their efforts to push for the change. 

Proponents of the provision argue that it’s a necessary step to help equalize tax breaks throughout the entertainment industry and aid independent musicians, technicians and producers that have been financially impacted by the pandemic. 

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn is one of the leaders of the HITS Act.
Tom Williams/Pool via AP
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is helping to push the bill forward.
Oliver Contreras/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

“We are thankful to @RepLindaSanchez and @SenFeinstein for their leadership in pushing the #HITSAct forward, and to our constituents and advocacy team on the ground in D.C. for their support in championing this key piece of legislation on behalf of music creators,” the group tweeted. 

“The inclusion of the #HITSAct in the most recent version of the House Build Back Better Act is an important win. An important win for the music creators and @RecordingAcad members who have been fighting to create a foothold for recovery amidst the challenges presented by the pandemic. #HITSAct.” 

House Democratic leaders are scrambling to rally support around the reconciliation measure as disagreements over a handful of provisions have emerged between the different factions of the party. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has asserted she would like to see both the social spending measure and a Senate-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the end of the week. 

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