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Literary Papers Tax Bill Needs Your Support

When collectors donate manuscripts, letters, and diaries of an author to libraries or universities, they are entitled to deduct the fair market value of those literary papers from their income for tax purposes. When authors donate their manuscripts and other papers to libraries or universities, they’re permitted to deduct only the cost of the physical materials used to produce those documents (the cost of paper, ink, toner). The difference, of course, is immense, and immensely inequitable to authors who choose to donate their papers for scholarly research. We now have a good chance to right this wrong, and we’d like your help. BACKGROUND For seven years, the Authors Guild has supported proposed changes to the tax code that would allow authors and artists to deduct for tax purposes the appraised market value of their own work (such as manuscripts, first editions, or research notes) that they donate to museums, universities, and libraries. Current tax laws permit the creators to deduct only the value of the materials used in creating the work, such as the expense of the paper and ink in the case of an original manuscript. Collectors and others, however, are permitted to deduct the fair market value of donated manuscripts. The “Artist-Museum Partnership Act” was recently reintroduced in the House and Senate to correct this inequity. In the Senate, the bill was introduced as S. 548, by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Bennett (R-UT). In the House, H.R. 1524 was introduced by Representatives John Lewis (D-GA), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). ACTION REQUESTED The legislation has solid bipartisan support, but we need many more co-sponsors. If your senators and representative are not yet co-sponsors (see lists below), please contact them and urge that they do so. A suggested letter appears below. If you can, it’s best to send your letter by fax — it will get more notice than an e-mail. To find your legislators’ fax numbers, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. The operator will forward your call to your legislator’s office. You may also find your legislators’ fax numbers at their web pages; please follow the instructions in the next paragraph to find your legislators’ official web sites. If you can’t send a fax, please send your message by e-mail (regular mail isn’t the best, since delivery to Capitol Hill has been subject to lengthy delays since 9/11). To find your legislators’ e-mail information, please go to

(your representative’s name can be found by typing your zip code into a space in the upper left of the web page) and

(choose your state from the “Find Your Senators” list in the upper right). These searches will lead to your legislators official web sites. Click “contact” for e-mail (typically a web form to fill out and submit) and fax information. PLEASE COPY US If you contact your legislators by fax, please copy us at (212) 564-5363. If you e-mail your legislators, please copy [ javascript:parent.ComposeTo(‘’, ”); ] If you call your legislators, please e-mail [ javascript:parent.ComposeTo(‘’, ”); ] to let us know. Many thanks. The Authors Guild The Authors Guild

is the largest society of published book authors in the U.S. This e-mail may be forwarded, posted, and otherwise copied, so long as it is reproduced in its entirety and includes this notice.********************************************************** SUGGESTED LETTER [Address for Representatives] The Honorable _____________ U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 [Address for Senators] The Honorable _____________ U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Representative ____________: or, Dear Senator _____________: I urge you to become a co-sponsor of [insert House or Senate bill number] the “Artist-Museum Partnership Act,” which would allow authors to deduct the fair market value of their manuscripts, notes, and other papers donated to libraries, universities, archives and other non-profit institutions. Passage of this legislation would enable libraries, universities, and archives to solicit the papers of authors whose manuscripts, interview materials and other papers have significant historical and cultural significance to [name your state or community]. Under current law, an author can deduct only the cost of materials used to create the manuscript, which is not a large incentive to donate, particularly since most authors earn very little. Since the law allowing authors to deduct the fair market value of their works to libraries and universities was repealed in 1969, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of such gifts offered to institutions. Many authors choose instead to sell their works to private collectors, which effectively keeps them from ever being enjoyed by the American public or used by future scholars. We are, in essence, deprived of part of our history and cultural heritage. I look forward to hearing that you have become a co-sponsor of this most important cultural legislation. Respectfully, [Your name] ********************************************************** CO-SPONSORS, SENATE Sen Bennett, Robert F. [UT] Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] Sen Bunning, Jim [KY] Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] Sen Coleman, Norm [MN] Sen Conrad, Kent [ND] Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM] Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] Sen Kerry, John F. [MA] Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] Sen Stevens, Ted [AK] Sen Warner, John [VA] ********************************************************** CO-SPONSORS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] Rep English, Phil [PA-3] Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] Rep Levin, Sander M. [MI-12] Rep Lewis, Ron [KY-2] Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] Rep Ramstad, Jim [MN-3] Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] Rep Shays, Christopher [CT-4] Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] Rep Udall, Tom [NM-3] Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] Rep Welch, Peter [VT]