One of the considerations of the future of the photo industry is Pension & Welfare for crew members.

Historically, this hasn’t been on the radar within the photo industry. States are now requiring and enforcing Pension & Welfare for photo productions. This tax liability used to just be reserved for productions like TV, Commercials, and feature films.

Pension & Welfare is a private sector employee benefit plan. PWBA directly affects the livelihood of over 150 million people who participate in ERISA-covered plans, and protects the U.S. economy’s single largest source of capital for investment–pension funds.

If you are a photographer who often hires assistants of any kind, this includes makeup artists, hair stylists, and anyone you pay to be on set with you, you will eventually have to set aside funds to pay them Pension & Welfare. Some states like New York are already starting to enforce this policy within the photography community.

Often you can hire an outside billing agency to handle payments to your assistants. Programs like BlinkBid are already including this option within their editing and invoicing software. Please speak with your tax professional about this new additional business aspect so your business is best protected and secured.