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Freelancers Union Archive
The Freelancers Union has been working on getting relief for freelance workers in New York City who pay an “Unincorporated Business Tax”. The tax basically doubled the tax burden for freelance workers who work for themselves rather than for a company or agency. I say doubled because the news today is that Govenor Patterson has signed Unincorporated Business Tax bill (S5519) which repeals the tax.
This means that any worker earning less than $100,000 will no longer have to pay the UBT and a tax credit will be offered for freelancers earning up to $150,000. The FU team notes the changes will immediately impact over 17,000 workers in NYC.
The team at the Freelancers Union has details on the process to get the bill passed.
Checkout my review of the Freelancers Union. I am a member and get my health insurance along with Staples and Zipcar discounts through them. They offer a bunch of seminars each month on building a business and properly managing a business. It’s free to join and I think there are benefits no matter where you live in the U.S.
If you live in NYC and ride the subway, you’ve seen the advertisements for the Freelancers Union. Their tagline is, "A federation of the unaffiliated." and they define the service as, "a nonprofit organization that represents the needs of America’s independent workforce though advocacy, information, and service." The Freelancers Union claims that over 30% of the entire U.S. workforce are indie workers. Most of the services the Freelancers Union provides are available nationwide.
There are no fees to be a Freelancers Union member and frankly anyone who works for themselves (blogger, web developer, designer, writer, etc.) should be a member. The benefits the group offers are just awesome. Health insurance is the number one benefit in my opinion.
When I lived in Atlanta my health insurance for a good plan ran about $140/month. The same plan in NYC was 10x more or $1,400/month (no I am not kidding). An even better plan (also with Blue Cross) with the Freelancers Union runs around $210/month. Please note that these are single rates. There’s also a dental savings plan that normally is $7.50/month but with FU it’s $3/month.
Another awesome benefit is for Zipcar rentals. In NYC the normal Zipcar rates for an average car are $10.50-12.50/hour Mon-Thurs and $12.50-$14.50 Friday. When you join the Freelancers Union, that rate drops to $8.00 on all weekdays. This has already saved me a good bit of money and you get a wider selection of cars. From my testing this morning, discounts in other cities that Zipcar serves are similar.
To become a member you need to demonstrate income over $10,000 within the past six months. Seriously, even if you just use it for the Zipcar discounts, the Freelancers Union membership is very much worth the cost (which is free).