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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Do You Need a License to Perform on the Street? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

john scot
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brighton, uk
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Hi all,

I saw a street performer in Covent Garden London several years ago. I spoke to him briefly after the show and he told me you need a license to perform on the street.

Is this true? Do all performers or buskers (not only Magicians) need licenses or some kind of permission to perform a show on the street?

Are there places that are illegal to perform?

Sorry if these questions are silly I'm just interested to know. It's something I want to look into in the future.

Many Thanks,

John
ed rhodes
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It's not silly. It's been mentioned here before and you might want to do a search on "licenses" or "permission."

Basically, most places ask for some sort of control over the buskers in the form of licenses. Some charge, Providence doesn't, but the license is pretty toothless.

At Newport, the clerk told me flat out they didn't allow performing for tips on the streets of Newport. Period. Some day I'm gonna march back up there and ask to see the statute that outlines that restriction, but since I'm not likely to perform in Newport, it's academic to me.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
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Professor Piper
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It depends completely on the City, State, Municipality, or Venue....

And it can be different WITHIN those zones as well.

It's something that you have to investigate thoroughly before finding out the 'hard way'....

Good luck when you find a venue to perform, the streets can be a great place to perform and they will teach you SO much about your Art and performance skills....

Break a leg and make some serious Hats!

Prof. Piper
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
john scot
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If busking is NOT your sole source of income would you be requied to infrom the tax office of any monies earned?

Thanks for the advice so far, is appreciated.

John
gaddy
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Quote:
On 2008-06-05 01:58, johnscot777 wrote:
If busking is NOT your sole source of income would you be requied to infrom the tax office of any monies earned?

Thanks for the advice so far, is appreciated.

John


the taxman would like you to believe so... don't mess with the taxman, he can put the hurt on you!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
ed rhodes
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I asked once about that when I was doing children's shows. The HR Block guy told me that unless you're making 30% of your income from something, it's considered a "hobby" and is under the radar. Mind you, that was more than a few years ago and it may have changed. Ask either a local tax guy or the IRS, don't trust what well-meaning outsiders have to say.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Genghis
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Quote:
Do all performers or buskers (not only Magicians) need licenses or some kind of permission to perform a show on the street?


It depends where. You need to enquire about the rules of each local authority - of which there are probably thousands in the UK. Each one has its own rules. Try a few of the most likely ones and you'll get some idea.

Quote:
Are there places that are illegal to perform?


Yes, London for one. Covent Garden is an exception.

However, I find it difficult to believe that all the Buskers I've seen are doing the correct thing!

I speak for the UK only (which is not part of the USA and is not bound by its laws and customs.)

Genghis
Genghis
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Quote:
If busking is NOT your sole source of income would you be requied to infrom the tax office of any monies earned?


The short answer is Yes.

A slightly longer answer is 'Yes, before you earn it!'

The fuller answer is to ask the taxman. Visit the Inland Revenue and you will get a nice surprise. You'll find they will bend over backwards to help you understand their rules and how they may apply to you. They will chat to you informally and informedly for as long as it takes to get the position clear to you. You can tell them as much or as little as you wish; they won't record details and won't even ask for your name.

This information is for UK only. Also, bear in mind that US law does not apply to the rest of the world so all the other replies, however well-intended do not apply to you in Brighton. UK.
Hope that helps a little,

Genghis
ed rhodes
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My bad. I never look at the little type under the icon, so I didn't realize this was someone from the UK.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Paddy
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Quote:
On 2008-06-05 05:41, ed rhodes wrote:
I asked once about that when I was doing children's shows. The HR Block guy told me that unless you're making 30% of your income from something, it's considered a "hobby" and is under the radar. Mind you, that was more than a few years ago and it may have changed. Ask either a local tax guy or the IRS, don't trust what well-meaning outsiders have to say.


Ed, I hate to say this but anyone who takes tax advice from H & R Block might as well ask someone on the street about taxes. I have seen some of their advice about deductions, and then read the instructions for Form 1040 that stated the opposite was true.

For tax questions ask a competent enrolled agent or CPA, or their equivilent in other countries. Thes "mall" type tax people have very little training and get paid by how many completed forms they fill out wether the info on the forms are correct or not.
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marty.sasaki
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Just noticed a Boston subway platform a little sign "Performance area, permit required". Apparently, now you need a permit, in the past all you needed was subway fare to get on the platform.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Tony Iacoviello
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Marty

You have always needed a permit, at least for the past 20 years. There was a big to-do a few years ago when the MBTA was going to ban all performances, but do to the action of some very dedicated people, that did not happen.

However, you do not need a permit to stand there with a Dunkin Donut's cup and ask for change.

Tony
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2008-06-05 05:41, ed rhodes wrote:
I asked once about that when I was doing children's shows. The HR Block guy told me that unless you're making 30% of your income from something, it's considered a "hobby" and is under the radar. Mind you, that was more than a few years ago and it may have changed. Ask either a local tax guy or the IRS, don't trust what well-meaning outsiders have to say.


That was really bad advice on his part. If you have a business bank account (which will not be the case with most buskers), or if you have a yellow pages listing, it doesn't matter what the percentage you earn from your side business. If you make a profit, it's a business. If you lose money, it's still a business, but you can take the loss against your other income. However, you DO have to show a profit from time to time in order to claim this as a business.

I would not use Block or any of the other storefront tax people, because most of them lack genuine qualifications. Anyone can become an H&R Block tax "advisor."

My CPA is a genuine CPA who is also a licensed attorney. In addition to that, he worked his way through college as a musician, magician and juggler. So he has concrete, practical experience in field. He has successfully handled tax lawsuits. Ask the guy from H&R Block if he will represent you personally if you have to go to court.
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marty.sasaki
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Tony,

Thanks for making me feel really old. I helped someone set up in the subway years ago to do some singing/busking and asked her about what you needed to perform. She said that all you needed was subway fare. Now that you bring it up, that was over 25 years ago.

Sign...
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Paul D
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That's a good point Tony, a person can beg for change without a permit but to perform music or magic or whatever a permit is required. Maybe I should write a letter to the great Mayor Menino! Im already having visions of Marty performing his Ninja Rings in the musky air of the MBTA subway stations! Sorry to say Im leaving Boston, it's been great but it's time to move on. How do they say it, Taxachusettes! Sorry I never got a chance to see you Tony at the Mystery Lounge.

-Paul
Astonishment as Therapy...?
marty.sasaki
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Nah, full size rings for the Subway. Something quick and flashy. I figure you have 10 minutes tops in the subway so you have to grab attention immediately, Ninja rings are too small.

Better luck in one of the parks in Cambridge. Maybe after the construction is done in the Square things will get better.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
ed rhodes
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So, what does the "subway permit" cost?
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
marty.sasaki
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It's $25 and it's a pain to get one. You fill in the application, get a passpport sized photo, two forms of ID, a piece of recent mail that shows your address, a money order for the $25 (must be a money order) and then phone for an appointment to submit the application. At the appropriate time you go down and submit your application with all of the above.

The application is geared towards musical performances, so I don't know if magic is allowed.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
tomterm8
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Quote:
On 2008-06-04 23:03, johnscot777 wrote:
Hi all,

I saw a street performer in Covent Garden London several years ago. I spoke to him briefly after the show and he told me you need a license to perform on the street.

...

Are there places that are illegal to perform?

Many Thanks,

John


in the UK it is generally the case that you need a license. contact your local council to find out the procedures in your area. In most of london you can't get a license... If it's private property, you might still need a license. Again, contacting your local council is a good idea.
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