Tax deductions for models
Tax deductions for models because IT IS TAX TIME!! Again?! Tax deductions for models are discussed below.
For a model, artist, actor, or entertainer - this is often a very frustrating time of the year and you need to think about Tax deductions for models. Taxes are confusing with very few defined rules or regulations as to what is or is not deducible. January 31st is the deadline for employers of independent contractors to mail out 1099's (a form sent to the IRS and employee which highlights total earnings from that particular company for that particular year, typically only sent if over $600 was earned by a specific person). Therefore, anyone that has filled out a W9 should wait until the start of February to receive 1099's from their employers and start putting together all their tax documents.
As a self-employed individual it is required to file an annual return and pay estimated quarterly taxes per the IRS. Although most do not carry this out because it is not heavily reinforced, it makes tax time a lot less painful and is something to discuss with your accountant. Our list of Tax deductions for models are some common suggestions - please consult your accountant for further information as most deductions are situation dependent!
Along with being self-employed comes the SE tax (a Social Security and Medicare tax for those that work for themselves - that which is typically withheld from W2 earners). The SE tax implementation is subject to net profit/loss amounts, all which are also contingent upon DEDUCTIONS! (Your net profit/loss will be determined on your 1040 tax form).
Which brings me to my next point:
What exactly can an Independent Contractor deduct? What are Tax deductions for models?
As I said before, the verbiage per the IRS website leaves room for argument and embellishment. According to the website, if audited, your deducted expenses must be considered a typical expense or a necessary expense. What exactly does that mean, anyway? To me, it means err on the side of caution, don't deduct red-flag items, and keep receipts for your deductible items for 7 years (yes, it's a pain but it will save you from frustration if you get audited).
Keeping up with the Kardashians and keeping up your looks: not deductible. Not a Tax deductions for models! Things like hair expenses (unless you are a hair model), makeup (unless you are a working makeup artist in which case products should be purchased from a professional supplier), nails (unless you are a hand model), clothing (unless it is branded for a company or a costume - in which case keep pictures for proof), and gym memberships (unless you are a stunt double) are 'red flag' items. Although you can make a good argument for them helping you 'get booked' as a model, actor, or entertainer - the auditor will not accept it. He/she will argue that you use makeup for everyday use, your clothes can be worn outside of work, and the gym is used for personal body image and not 'necessary' to obtain employment. Any wage employee can argue their need for those same items to further their career but they don't get the deduction nor are you entitled to it.
Travel expenses: deductible! Woo-hoo, some tax deductions for models!
Yes, on the bright side, models/artists/entertainers/actors can deduct travel expenses! According to the IRS travel is defined as going somewhere that is far enough away from home to make it inconvenient to return the same night. Very vague, I know. While on these overnight trips, deductions can include meals (50% deductible), hotel & lodging, taxis/car rentals, dry-cleaning (if purchased while on the road), phone calls, hotel internet expenses, etc. Travel could include expenses related to shows, performances, auditions, shoots, look-sees, etc. Who doesn't like to take advantage of a tax-deductible flight and stay a little longer for nice weather or see friends/family? In those instances, anything related to those extra days, extra flight paths, meals, etc. are obviously not deductible. The IRS has made the independent contractors life a little easier by compiling a list of meal allowances and max lodging expenses that can be deducted without a receipt. It is often region and date specific so you should keep good records and make sure your travel is 'business worthy.' This method is nice because it often allows for a little more deduction than was spent if you stay with a friend or each out cheap. Visit http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem for more information and to double-check figures for your specific dates/locations - and deduct away those per-diems!
Some other things to consider as tax deductions for models: office supplies (envelopes/stamps), office equipment (fax machine), internet/cell phone if used strictly for your work (and you can prove it), Union/SAG fees, comp cards, acting/singing/musical lessons... Again, anything that is either standard or necessary.
We are trying to make your life easier, here is a list to cover and compile deductions for before meeting with your accountant. Many are contingent upon the exact positions held over the year, again we advise to err on the side of caution or consult your accountant. Oh, and your CPA fee might be deducible too!
Find a Printable PDF form for Tax deductions for models here on our Motivated Models Facebook page.
Coaching Expenses / Acting Lessons
Music – Arrangements
Music – Tapes, Recordings
Music – Training
Rents – Rehearsal Halls
Audition Tapes & Videos
Film & Processing
Mailing Supplies – Envelopes, stamps, etc.
Supplies & Expenses
Alterations – Repairs (costumes/wardrobe)
Cleaning (costumes / wardrobe)
Dues – Union & Professional
Exercise (contingent upon positions)
Gifts -Business ($25.00 max/person/yr)
Hair Car – Wigs & Supplies (only if stylist)
Insurance on Equipment
Interest on Business loans
Makeup/Cosmetics (only if cosmetologist)
Manicures (only if hand model)
Photocopies – scripts, etc.
Props, stunt supplies
Publications – Trace
Rent – Office, storage, etc.
Repairs for equipment
Commissions – Agent/Manager
Travel – Out of Town
Public Transportation Fees
Travel - Local
Auto Expenses – Gas
Auto Expenses – Repairs
Auto Expenses – Insurance
Auto Expenses – Lease
Auto Expenses – Total Miles
Auto Expenses – Total Work Miles
Subways/Buses/Public Trans. Fees
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