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Musicians, Taxes, and Oregon Law


The Oregonian ran an interesting story by Helen Yung on October 10, 2007, “Who pays the piper when musicians visit?” From the story:

“The way the state sees it, musicians like Kristin Hersh of Rhode Island and John Wesley Harding of New York were employed in Oregon.

Both internationally known artists performed for an evening at Mississippi Studios in North Portland. And those few hours, the state contends, made them — as well as the hundreds of other musicians who performed there in the past three years — employees of the club and subject to normal unemployment taxes.

The reason? Oregon statute 657.506, which states that musicians are employees of venues unless the contract expressly states that the musicians are responsible for filing reports and paying their own taxes. Language declaring the musician an independent contractor is not sufficient, said department spokesman Tom Fuller.”

The Willamette Week’s Beth Slovik also wrote about this.

You can research the Oregon Revised Statutes online and the Oregon Employment Department, whose lead story is (as of this moment): “Building a Strong Relationship with Business.”

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