Wouldn't it be great if the only expectation on us as actors was to simply act?
Unfortunately, that's not the case.
Actors have legitimate responsibilities in addition to working on their craft that need to be addressed, such as taxes.
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
If you want to get ahead in this business, you'll start taking these other job-related responsibilities seriously.
Other actors are taking them seriously and greatly increasing their chances of success.
You can be that actor starting today.
In this blog post, I'll give you a few easy tax tips to follow that helped me receive over $2,000 in acting related tax write-offs.
Please note that I am not a tax professional. I am simply sharing my personal experience. I encourage you to also consult with a certified tax professional.
YOU MUST PAY THE IRS
Remember that Benny Frank quote at the top of this post?
Too many creatives think they can slip through the cracks by ignoring the business side of acting, including taxes.
It's possible that you get away with it for a few years, but it won't last!
Please know that if you aren't giving the IRS their cut of the money every single year, they will find out at some point.
If you don't pay the IRS, you may be facing jail time for tax evasion, and your acting career will consist of you entertaining inmates.
I could say that I'm not trying to scare you, but I am because this is serious.
I have actors tell me ten times a day, "You're good at the business part of acting. I need to start getting better at that." But then they don't take action.
Just do tha thang!!!!!
If you want to get my detailed Actor Boss Trainings sent to you weekly, then click here to get signed up because I'll make the business part of your career easy peasy by giving it to you in bite sized chunks.
1. LOG YOUR NON-UNION TAXES
You'll notice that your SAG-AFTRA checks already have taxes deducted, but you need to double check all of your checks.
If you're working non-union jobs, the checks you get from your agency may not have taxes taken out of them yet.
You 100% need to calculate the federal and state taxes and put that amount of money into a Tax Fund so you have it to pay the government come tax season!
This is serious business.
The IRS is not going to give you a break because you "didn't know."
You may not even need to pay what's in your Tax Fund if you have enough write-offs. It could be a wash, but you need the money there just in case so you're not short come tax season.
If you don't need to use your Tax Fund, sweet! Use that extra moola for extra payments on your debt or put it into your emergency savings.
Just don't be these guys. C'mon everybody, to the tune of Singing in the Rain!
"I'm siiiinging in a cell. Oh siiiinging in a cell."
2. LOG YOUR MILEAGE
Are you logging your mileage when you drive for acting jobs?
Y'all, most of my tax write-offs came from mileage. It adds up fast!
You can log mileage to-and-fro booked gigs, fittings, auditions, acting class, and photo shoots.
These are all required travel for you to work.
Again, check with a tax pro to be safe, but I successfully logged these last year.
Here's the safest way to log mileage in my opinion:
Once you put this information into a spreadsheet, it will take you less than five minutes to do each time you log mileage.
3. LOG YOUR RECEIPTS
Are you logging your receipts?
You need a separate spreadsheet to log any receipts of acting related expenses.
If you want to be really boss, keep hardcopy receipts in a file in case you're ever audited.
Some of my receipts include: acting class, casting site memberships, and headshots.
You can print digital receipts, but at least keep them in an email folder. Log the order number into your spreadsheet so the IRS can easily verify it with the seller if needed.
While this doesn't technically count as a receipt, you should still log the square footage of your home self-taping studio if that's all you're using it for.
I log the square footage of my studio, but I do not include the closet space because I use it for additional storage that isn't acting related.
I hope by now you feel more equipped to handle your taxes.
Be sure to set a reminder in your phone to log mileage and receipts once a month. Simply look back over your calendar and emails to make sure you're not missing anything.
Comment to let me know if you're committing to being an Actor Boss this year by taking control of your taxes.
I'm also giving you my spreadsheet downloads so you can just copy and paste my system into your own file, no sign up necessary.
Don't forget to signup for your weekly Actor Boss Trainings because I want to share more tips like these with you each week.
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If you continue to ignore the business and marketing side of acting, it won't just go away. Your personal brand is the foundation of your acting business. Start building your personal brand package today. Read my post Personal Branding Brainstorm for Actors to learn more.