Narrative Regarding Performers Tax Effective Jan 2006

*NOTE: New rate 2015

Effective January 1, 2006

Massachusetts tax withholding on payments to performers

The College must withhold Massachusetts income tax at a current rate of 5.15% if gross payments to all performers and performing entities exceed $10,000 for a particular performance, event program or series and the payment to a single performer or performing entity exceeds $5,000 for the calendar year.  Both of these thresholds include expense reimbursements.

Performance is defined as an “event in which a performer or performing entity receives compensation for personal services performed in, derived from, or connected with sources within Massachusetts by competing, demonstrating, exhibiting, entertaining or educating an audience, making a public appearance, or endorsing merchandise. 

An engagement of a performer or performing entity to appear several times in the same venue over a limited and defined period of time will be treated as one event even if the performer or performing entity is paid in more than one payment.

If more than one performer or performing entity will be participating in a program that is presented or advertised as a single activity, it is one event and the payments to all the performers and performing entities participating in the event should be added for purposes of determining whether the $10,000 threshold has been reached.

If the payment to any performer or performing entity is below the $5,000 threshold, withholding is not required but the payment is still included in determining the $10,000 threshold.


Reduced withholding - Performers file form PWH-RW with the MA DOR to claim their expenses for reduced withholding.

Waived withholding-Performers file form PWH-WW with the MA DOR to request a waiver.  Waivers may be granted if the performer is a Mass resident and has paid his taxes to date; the performing entity maintains an office in Mass and is current with its tax obligations; the performing entity is registered with the DOR for withholding taxes as an employer; or a performing entity anticipates that each performer’s total income will not exceed $8,000 for the entire year.

Dan Elliot @ MA DOR is the person to contact with questions or to submit a form.  His email is