Musical Space: Musical Write-Offs

Apr 10, 2018

Professional musicians can write off business expenses from their taxable income, just as with any other profession; for them the cost of clarinet reeds and guitar strings is carefully tallied annually. The rest of us can also get a tax benefit from music, but only in the form of charitable donations. New tax laws have somewhat disincentivized charitable giving going forward, but you still have a week to donate to a music charity for the 2017 tax year.

Great and lasting art rarely nets a lot of money; even geniuses like Mozart and Beethoven relied on charity to make their music. One way to guarantee you’ll see the benefits of your support is to think local. You could become a member of WichitaArts or Arts Partners. Both of their sites have lists of local not-for-profits.

Good music journalism has been struggling to meet the challenges of digital media. But there are some online providers that are fighting the good fight. My favorite is a small British site,, that doesn’t let commercial interests get in the way of quality. Then, of course, there’s the news outlet you’re listening to right now. Yes, I’m biased, but it’s OK, because I know I’m preaching to the choir.

In my opinion, though, the most worthy charity is music education. Full disclosure: I’m a music educator, but it’s self-evident that encouraging art in a young person will pay society back over a lifetime.

So think charitably. The fifteenth falls on a weekend this year, so you’ll have two extra days to give to a music charity.