ATLANTA—Like all smart businesspeople, evidence photographers should pay attention when bills come along that can help (or hinder) them. Luckily, H.R. 3660—The Equity for the Nation’s Self-Employed Act—is a tax bill that can help many self-employed photographers save money.
H.R. 3660, recently introduced into the House by Representatives Ron Kind (D-3rd-WI) and Wally Herger (R-2nd-CA), represents a step in the right direction to lower the already high tax burden carried by small businesses and the self-employed. Currently, all business entities (except sole-proprietors) receive a deduction for health insurance premiums as an ordinary and necessary business expense for all employees, including the owners. However, sole-proprietors (Schedule C filers) do not receive this benefit. Their premiums are not paid with pre-tax dollars and are exposed to self-employment tax.
As a result, self-employed individuals—including self-employed evidence photographers—pay for health insurance costs with after-payroll tax dollars. This means that the money they use to buy health insurance for themselves and their families is subject to an additional 15.3 percent tax that no other employers or employees must pay.
With health insurance premiums averaging almost $12,000 per year for family coverage, it is estimated that H.R. 3660 will save every self-employed individual about $1700 annually. For a professional photographer earning an average of $35,000 per year, this is money he or she can put towards annual health insurance costs or reinvest into the business.
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) recently announced support of H.R. 3660 in a letter to the Congressmen. PPA is joined in its support by its partner organizations, the Society for Sports & Event Photographers (SEP), Commercial Photographers International (CPI), Evidence Photographer International Council (EPIC), and the Student Photographic Society (SPS), representing over 40,000 professional photographers across the U.S. And as of October 23, 2007, the bill is co-sponsored by 20 members of the House.
PPA, SEP, CPI, EPIC, and SPS have encouraged all photographers, their employees and other small business owners to contact their Congressional Representatives, by visiting http://www.copyrightdefense.com/congress.html.
Professional Photographers of America (PPA), an international nonprofit association for professional photographers, exists to assist its more than 19,000 members in achieving their professional, artistic, and fraternal goals; promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science and a visual recorder of history. For more information, visit www.ppa.com.
The Society of Sport & Event Photographers (SEP) is a private, nonprofit association dedicated exclusively to serving the needs of sport and event photographers. SEP marshals the resources of the event photography industry and delivers them to its members via their exclusive online content, Action News publication and live events. For more information, visit www.SEPsociety.com.
Commercial Photographers International (CPI) is an energetic, nonprofit membership organization focused on the changing needs of commercial photographers. Led by successful commercial photographer volunteers and a skilled professional staff, CPI has put together information, resources and materials for photographers in this rapidly changing industry. For more information, visit www.MyCPI.com.
The Student Photographic Society (SPS) was founded in 1999 to provide career-building resources, networking opportunities, and information resources to photography students.
The Evidence Photographer International Council (EPIC) was founded in 1968 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization with the primary purpose of advancing forensic photography and videography in civil evidence and law enforcement. EPIC also hosts an annual conference, providing awareness and education of evidence photography. Their seminars and workshops are now held internationally and throughout the U.S. In 2007, EPIC merged with the Alliance of Visual Artists, a combination of PPA, SEP, CPI, and SPS. For more information, please visit www.evidencephotographers.com, or call 866-868-EPIC (3742).