Together, We Succeeded: Year-End Policy Package Contains Great News for Orchestras!

December 18, 2019

Two important policy priorities that were advanced by the League of American Orchestras will directly increase orchestras' capacity to serve their communities. Measures that will remove a tax on nonprofit parking and commuting benefits and increase resources in support of the arts are included in a package of year-end spending and tax provisions expected to be signed into law later this week.

Repeal of Tax on Parking and Commuting Benefits 

The 21% Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on parking and commuting benefits that was created by comprehensive tax reform signed into law in December 2017 would be retroactively repealed in the deal negotiated across the House, Senate, and White House. The unprecedented tax on nonprofit expenses has created significant new costs to orchestras and the broader nonprofit sector, diverting essential resources needed for serving communities. The League has been a leading voice in Washington, rallying orchestra advocates from coast to coast, raising awareness on Capitol Hill, and partnering with nonprofits across the sector to make the case for removing this harmful tax. We'll keep orchestras informed of all the details as repeal crosses the finish line and is enacted (including information on seeking refunds for taxes paid).

FY20 Funding Advances for the NEA and Arts Education

The spending agreement reached by Congress would increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by $7.25 million, protect current level-funding for the Arts in Education programs of the U.S. Department of Education, and increase the Title IV-A "Well-Rounded" education funding stream administered by states in support of local schools.

These tax provisions gained bipartisan support through active, year-round advocacy by the League and its members in close partnership with fellow advocates. Orchestra stakeholders carried out meetings with policy leaders in their own communities, joined the League in events on Capitol Hill, and partnered with colleagues in the arts and nonprofit sectors to make all voices heard.

Note that these provisions need to clear the Senate and White House before going into effect and, despite advanced negotiations, nothing is done until it is done, so do stay tuned.

We thank you for all you've done to stay in engaged in 2019, and look forward to further progress in 2020!


Below: Richmond Symphony's Scott Dodson speaks at a Capitol Hill briefing on UBIT, Leni Boorstin from the LA Phil joins fellow LA-area nonprofits urging UBIT repeal in Rep. Linda Sánchez's district office, and the League's Heather Noonan and Najean Lee join nonprofit advocates in meetings with Congress and the U.S. Department of Treasury.

UBIT Advocacy