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Happy Holidays!

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The end of December is drawing near. And that means there are candles to be lit, stockings to be hung, and presents to be given out, over one day, or eight. It’s the time of year when all the radio stations get the opportunity to play Elmo and Patsy’s Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer more times than Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift combined.

But aside from all the material possessions that will be wrapped, given, and White Elephant swapped, this is also the time to put down the mouse, turn off the light over your drawing table, and enjoy time with good friends and family

In whichever way you’re holiday travels take you, cherish the time you have with your loved ones. The work will still be there waiting for you to return when you get back to your office or studio. Enjoy the time you have with your close friends and family. Smile when your Aunt, whom you haven’t seen for 12 months gives you another Christmas sweater that will soon be put up on eBay. Laugh at the bad jokes told around the dinner table. Forget about the unpaid invoices for a few minutes and relish in the moist turkey, ham or other festive food that is served.

On behalf of the Guild, I wish you and yours a joyful and wondrous holiday season.
Haydn S. Adams

Graphic Artists Guild National President

New Tax Reporting Requirement Will Create a Paperwork Nightmare for Small Businesses Like Us. Write to the Senate Finance Committee and tell them!

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Hidden in “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010” was an add-on concerning small businesses: IRS Notice 2010-51. Here it is on the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/irb/2010-29_IRB/ar09.html. The new reporting requirements will apply to payments made after December 31, 2011.

This is affects every small business in the United States, including visual artists.

The new regulation will require small businesses to complete a 1099 form every year for every business or individual you make payments to -by cash or check- which total over $600 in a year. Transactions by credit or debit card are exempt because those purchases are already tracked by other means.

Small businesses would be required to send an IRS Form W-9 (request for taxpayer ID or social security number) to every business or vendor they purchase from, and produce an IRS 1099-Miscellaneous Income form for each of those businesses and vendors at tax time. If you don’t get their number and if you don’t file a 1099-Misc for each of them, you will have an additional withholding reporting requirement on your annual income tax. This will be a huge time and accounting burden for small businesses.

There are a lot of objections from all directions to this requirement, from different types of small business organizations. It also seems that the IRS changes its rules and reporting requirements all the time, irrespective of what was stated in legislation, so it’s anybody’s guess where this regulation will end up or if it will be enforced.

The Graphic Artists Guild sent the IRS a comment letter on Notice 2010-51 in September 2010.

Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) has introduced S. 3578 the “Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act,” which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. The Graphic Artists Guild urges graphic artists as small business owners to write to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, as well as Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), the Chair of Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth, and let them know that you support S. 3578 and you want the Committee to move this legislation forward.

More information about this legislation at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3578

Senator Max Baucus’ web form email http://baucus.senate.gov/?p=contact

Senator Max Baucus’ Fax: (202) 224-9412

Senator Kent Conrad’s web form email https://conrad.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm

Senator Kent Conrad’s Fax: (202) 224-7776

We’ve provided a sample letter for you to email or fax.

Your Name
Your Street
City, State zip
date
To: Honorable Senator Max Baucus
Or
To: Honorable Kent Conrad
Re: S. 3578 the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act

Dear Senator [Baucus] [Conrad],

I am a [insert discipline], a small business owner and handle my own business paperwork. The new Section 6041reporting requirement of the Internal Revenue Code would create a tremendous burden on my business, obligating me to spend additional unbillable administrative time on paperwork.

I typically spend at least $600 a year with a variety of stores and vendors, such as office supply stores, photocopy shops, art supply stores, electronics retailers, printers, fabricators, and many online vendors, as well as licensing fees for usage of other’s copyrighted work. Some purchases are made by credit or debit card, but many are also made by check or cash.

If the new Section 6041reporting requirement were enacted, these stores and vendors will also incur a huge increase in administrative labor hours to process the additional paperwork from small business customers like me. Those cost increases will be passed along to every consumer increasing the cost of goods and services. The IRS will need to increase in staff as well to process this additional paperwork, increasing operating costs that will likely be greater than the revenue received from this new rule. It just doesn’t make economic sense for anyone.

I support S. 3578 the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, which will repeal IRS Notice 2010-51 in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. I would like to see the Senate Committee on Finance move S. 3578 forward.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Member of the Graphic Artists Guild

Free Copyright Seminar on May 5th

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Best Practices Workshop

The Software and Information Industry Association is hosting the Copyright Registration Best Practices Workshop in Washington, DC on May 5 from noon to 2:15 p.m. EST.  Attendance in person or via webcast is free. RSVP at https://www.siia.net/events/prereg.asp?eventid=1364

Speakers:

Ted Hirakawa, Assistant Chief, Literary Division, U.S. Copyright Office
William Briganti, Assistant Chief, Visual Arts Division, U.S. Copyright Office

Topics that will be addressed:

• Best practices within the context of changed registration procedures
• Current ways of submitting claims within the Office’s electronic registration system.
• Recent developments in copyright registration, especially those for works disseminated electronically, e.g., database claims, works published within websites, works fixed in newer formats.
• The speakers will also present a demonstration of the electronic system in which we’re now examining claims to copyright and creating permanent registration records.

Be proactive and learn how to protect yourself and your work by attending the seminar in person or via webinar.

Copyright Alliance Supports Suit Against Google

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Accolades for the Artist Groups that Worked Together

Patrick Ross, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance, applauded artists of every kind in a blog post yesterday for working together to protect their rights by filing a lawsuit to halt the Google Library Project. He cited John Schmelzer, President of the Graphic Artists Guild, for his personal and professional support. Read the blog post and the “Disclosure” remarks about Mr. Schmelzer at the Copyright Alliance’s website.  You may also visit the Guild’s main website here.

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