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Taxing Times

Recently, a seemingly casual posting in the AAUK Facebook group triggered an impassioned and emotional discussion. The topic? Not casting procedures or the value of union membership or even the polarizing state of politics in the U.S. or UK; no, the subject was one that strikes terror in the heart of every American working abroad  - U.S. tax policy. An American member asked whether it mattered that he hadn’t filed tax in ten years. Then the deluge of replies came in.

Foreign Bodies

I was privy to an interesting discussion recently among a group of professional actors, all fiercely committed to their craft and to fighting for an even playing field in casting. Some were from an ethnic minority background, and there was talk about how unfair the casting process can be, with several bemoaning the fact that despite being British, their ethnic background was often held against them and seemed more important than their talent or suitability.

Equity Annual Representative Conference 2017

 

Equity’s Annual Representative Conference was held in London 21 and 22 May, a yearly opportunity for the disparate sectors of the entertainment industry to meet together and discuss issues affecting our working lives. The conference has resulted in a number of important and influential motions being passed that will now be binding on Equity’s Council to act on. Here is a summary of the more important subjects that were discussed.

 

The Power of the Union

The topic of union membership is one that often comes up among actors. Given that belonging to a union has long ceased to be a required step on the way to a professional career, what, frankly, is the point? Paying a percentage of your wages to a body which can seem at times like a theoretical entity, a vague kite mark that faintly whiffs of a different era, may seem fruitless, particularly when said wages are less than ample.

However, something happened recently which demonstrates why this perception couldn’t be further from the truth, and why our individual voices do matter.

The Art of Being Self-Employed

January is a time for many less than pleasant things – cold weather, holiday credit card bills, detoxing, resolutions made and broken, and of course, the self-employed tax return. As the ads urge us to find peace of mind and file before the deadline, and we scramble to find those all-important scraps that hold the key to the past tax year, it can sometimes feel that being a self-employed performer is more effort than it’s worth.

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