Oregon

Musicians To Be Defined As Independent Contractors

OPB | April 13, 2009 6:48 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:11 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Colin Fogarty

Oregon clubs and concert venues will no longer have to pay unemployment taxes on musicians, under a bill approved by the Oregon Senate Monday.

Local club owners complain the tax laws threaten Oregon’s indie music scene.

The Oregon Department of Revenue defines musicians as employees of the venues where they play.

Oregon taxes the clubs for that work, even for a one-night gig.

Democratic state Senator Floyd Prozanski told his colleagues the new policy would treat bands and balladeers as independent.

Floyd Prozanski: “You don’t want to be paying unemployment taxes for someone you thought was an independent contractor. This will take care of that and make certain all these different venues who are actually hiring these individuals and groups are not considered their employer.”

The bill has won unanimous votes in the Oregon House and Senate. After one more procedural vote in the House, the measure heads to the governor’s desk.

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