Tax Court Rules in Favor of Artists

The United States Tax Court has ruled that individuals who identify as artists but make little money from selling their art can still classify themselves as such. Randy Kennedy of the New York Times reports that this is seen as a major victory for artists, especially those who earn livings as teachers or studio assistants while pursuing creative careers they hope will someday afford them a living.

Setting the precedent for this ruling was the case of New York painter and printmaker Susan Crile, who was accused of underpaying her taxes in 2010. This decision was based on the contention that her work as an artist was, for several decades, not a profession but part of her job as a professor of studio art at Hunter College. Judge Albert G. Lauber ruled that Crile had “met her burden of proving that in carrying on her activity as an artist, she had an actual and honest objective of making a profit” and therefore under tax law should be considered a professional artist.