A bill authored by State Representative Garey Bies, at the request of the Peninsula Music Festival, passed the state assembly on a voice vote Oct. 15.
The assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 107, which relates to income taxes paid by non-resident entertainers who perform in Wisconsin. Entertainers range from musicians and athletes, to speakers at conferences. Under current law, an employer hosting the entertainer must withhold, make a cash deposit for, or provide a surety bond to address the income tax liability for the entertainer if they’ll earn more than $3,200.
“The $3,200 threshold was enacted in 1987 and hasn’t been changed since that time,” explained Bies. “This has become incredibly burdensome on employers hosting entertainers at smaller venues because the tax liability is likely to be quite small.”
This bill takes into account inflation since the law was enacted 26 years ago and raises the amount to $7,000. The bill has the support of the Department of Revenue and makes additional changes with respect to the requirement to include reimbursed travel expenses as a part of the withholding calculation. Currently, employers must estimate unknown amounts of travel expenses for the purposes of tax liability although reimbursed travel expenses are not taxable.
“This legislation makes commonsense reforms that reduce the burdens on small businesses that employ out-of-state entertainers,” said Bies. “I appreciate the folks from the Peninsula Music Festival bringing this issue to my attention and I’ll continue to move the bill through the state senate.”