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talljasperman's avatar

Should writers claim income for work done while on welfare?

Asked by talljasperman (21916points) February 9th, 2013

Like J.K. Rowling. She wrote The Harry Potter books while on Welfare. Should she have to declare that as income while she was brainstorming the first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/sorcerer’s stone”, while she was on welfare in England.

Or is work only considered taxable in the year one getts paid for it… in this case all writers can wait on welfare until they get paid for “looking for work”?

Debate and humor welcome.

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20 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It’s payment not getting ready to make money, no revenue while writing it. Therefore, no foul, or nor income.

talljasperman's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Then is working and delaying payment one’s welfare expires ‘free game’ then?

Jaxk's avatar

I’m not conversant with the taxes in the UK but here in the States it would be to her benefit if she could. Averaging that income over several years as opposed to a single year would have the effect of lowering her taxes. The larger the income the more it would help.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I don’t know if she “delayed” payment, i would think that the publisher would pay upon receipts from book sales. I don’t think she was gamimg the welfare system. ( Why stay on the dole ? )

cazzie's avatar

You do NOT claim income that has not been realised. it is impossible.

You don’t start writing something and think… ‘Shit… this is going to be worth millions!’ and then tell the tax department you just wrote something that will, possibly, earn millions of dollars or pounds…. That is simply unrealistic.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Income is not retroactive ! Nor is it income from the lottery ticket I have for next Wednesday’s drawing.

cazzie's avatar

The money is NOT earned, until you get the money. End of story.

cazzie's avatar

It is the equivalent of saying.. Hey.. I had Apple stock back in the early 80’s…. why didn’t I get charged taxes on its current value and not what it was valued at on that date?

talljasperman's avatar

@cazzie I thought that one must look for work full time when on welfare… how did J.K. Rowling manage to write the first Harry Potter book while looking for work? I bet she was exhusted, or she didn’t look too hard?

cazzie's avatar

@talljasperman yes… let us hate that tall poppy and cut it right off.

talljasperman's avatar

@cazzie ~or you could look the other way while I write my book on disability?

wundayatta's avatar

@talljasperman I don’t know what you are on about, but it sounds like you are bashing poor people. I suppose you would prefer a world where the Harry Potter series never got written because the author was busy looking for work the whole time? If so, you have a very short-sighted sense of fairness. You are what we call a stickler for the rules, and you don’t care about justice or productivity.

This is a mean-spirited idea, and it is so short-sighted as to be ignominiously stupid.

cazzie's avatar

@talljasperman you will need to fullfil your duties as a job seeker, but other than that…. go for it. I would rather read a book about a wizard than a book about someone feeling sorry for themselves.

jerv's avatar

@talljasperman Are you saying that people on welfare are allowed to do NOTHING except look for work every waking hour, even those hours after most businesses are closed? Or are you sawing that you just hate poor people?

I’m not sure how things work in the UK, but I know that here in the US, when I was on unemployment, that was just as taxable as any other income.

marinelife's avatar

It is not fraud. because she was entitled to welfare. That she did something that eventually got her off welfare is good for her.

ETpro's avatar

Why wouldn’t we want people on welfare finding ways of making something of themselves so they no longer need public assistance? And clearly with her success, Ms Rowling has paid more than enough in taxes to cover her time on welfare and that of many other souls as well.

SamandMax's avatar

Well…at least she has more than enough money to smoke more pot so she can come up with other really dire soon-to-be-movie stories. anyone guess I’m not a fan of Harry Pothead and the Stoned Philosophers?

Nick1901's avatar

There are a few different ways to look at this question. On one hand, writers who are on welfare should absolutely claim their income for work done. After all, they are working and generating an income, just like anyone else. On the other hand, there may be some writers who are on welfare who feel uncomfortable claiming their income, as it may be seen as taking advantage of the system. Ultimately, it is up to the individual writer to decide whether or not to claim their income for work done while on welfare.

Jaxk's avatar

^^^^ No it’s not. If they generated income it should be reported whether or not they are on Welfare. The income should be reported when the income is realized, period.

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