Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I write “landlord/bandleader” for occupation on my taxes.

“Real estate/musician” would be too boring.  I want the IRS to think of me as more than just another number.

QUALIFIED DIVIDENDS.  Every year I try to remember what qualified dividends are.  They are qualified for lower capital-gains tax rates.

ALIMONY.  My lazy ex-wife thinks I’m her personal ATM.  Alimony shouldn’t be on the tax form.  It’s a big distraction.  (I don’t have an ex-wife — lazy or otherwise — but still, the thought of it is scary.)

SCHEDULE C. Business income. The government looks closely at artists’ expenses on this schedule.  In the band biz, how does one list the candy bars for the band’s sleep-deprived, van-driving keyboard player? Is the MilkyWay a “meal”?  The MilkyWay seems more like “maintenance.” The MilkyWay is not a “meal.”

SCHEDULE D. Capital gains (losses). When I met my wife-to-be, Alice, she owned a mutual fund. Nobody except John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, owned a mutual fund in 1977.  Smart move — my marrying Alice.

SCHEDULE E. Income from royalties.  Yiddishe Cup sells CDs from the trunk of a car, so to speak.  That’s not a big royalty situation.  But now that Yiddishe Cup is on Sony Germany’s Balkan Basics World Tour II CD, maybe we’ll get some royalties.   Royalty checks are often a joke, I’m told.  Like $0.31.  Still, I’d like one.

Tax-form Climbing Wall

IRS Climbing Wall

DEPRECIATION. Form 4562.  Buildings have lives.   For instance, apartment buildings live  27½ years.  Buildings-with-stores last 31 years or 39 years; the laws keep changing. And buildings on the Alternative Minimum Tax form last 40 years.

SELF-EMPLOYMENT TAX.  Schedule SE. The Social Security and Medicare tax is effectively 14.13 percent for a self-employed person.  A salaried person pays only 7.65 percent.  That’s worth knowing if you’re starting a business.  (For 2011 only: reduce the above figures by 2 percent.)

THE FLAT TAX.  There is a 31 percent tax on 31-year-old buildings; a 23 percent tax on 23-year-old sons; and no tax on klezmer bands, which the president has declared national treasures.
Happy Passover!  Here’s a funny Klezmer Guy video, “Irregular Passover Humor” . . .

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1 Mark Schilling { 04.13.11 at 9:53 am }

I could have bought Sony stock with monthly salary deductions back in 1977. I spent the dough on beer, books and records instead. Regrets, I’ve had a few…

2 Kenny G { 04.13.11 at 10:29 am }

Listen – Drop the music and hire yourself out as a stand-up comedian, Bert. Seinfeld and Sheen can use the competition, and you can probably make more then they.

3 Ari Davidow { 04.13.11 at 10:53 am }

Hah! At MY seder, we hold the ritual and go for the jokes. That’s what people say, even, “this seder? it’s a joke!”

4 Ted { 04.13.11 at 12:01 pm }

Am I the only one who read this post all the way through?

Qualified dividends are nasty. Even my Corporations professor didn’t know what they were.

Most states are getting rid of alimony, or modifying it. It is one of the most complicated areas of family law. Not something you want to do if you are easily emotionally affected.

I would deduct the Milky Ways as meals if they are part of the road trip. That’s just a timing issue. Does he eat a regular meal as well?

Note: None of the above is tax or legal advice. (This applies to your post, too).

5 Bert { 04.13.11 at 12:18 pm }

To Ted:

Yes, you are the only person to have read the tax post all the way through!

Graduate already, so I can use you to sue people.

6 Kenny G { 04.14.11 at 8:13 am }

Read it through, but most of it meant nothing to me.

But the stand-up comic routine…. that got my attention (though I did hear a lot of snoring from the audience in the background).

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