As you know tax season is upon us and as a ‘Creative’ you may slightly cringe at the thought of April 15th…or you may sweep it under the rug as if the day doesn’t exist at all! The latter was my story when I started my first business. I quickly learned from my past mistakes. When I started my business in college I didn’t have a clue of what I needed to do concerning paying taxes as a business owner. This however was no excuse not to educate myself. I didn’t even know there was tax help that existed at that time. Many artists go without knowing there are FREE tax resources to assist in the process. Of course, having your own CPA is preferable, but in the meantime, you want to stay IRS compliant and informed.
One of the main reasons I am as passionate as I am about properly handling finances is because I believe if you are faithful over a few you will be made ruler over more. We often say how we want to have more, but if we are not good stewards over what is in our hands now, we clearly are not ready for more- not matter how talented we are.
As responsible ARTpreneurs™ you should think about these things and implement best practices year-round:
- Familiarize yourself with what your business tax structure requires (i.e. DBA vs. LLC) Do your research and see which option best suites where you are but most importantly where you are GOING.
- When subcontracting others, keep a file of your contracts/payments for the year in a separate file/folder.(Google Drive is a great resource to store information that can be accessed remotely.)
- When hiring subcontractors ALWAYS have them complete a W-9 form PRIOR to starting their contract (www.irs.gov has this form available). Scan and file this form for end of the year filings.
- Save and pay your estimated quarterly taxes to Uncle Sam to prevent penalties (contact your local office if you do not have a CPA yet to assist with this).
As previously stated, hiring a CPA/book keeper is definitely the best way to go, but even then there are some items you should be aware of…hey, it’s your money.
Here are a few resources (most are free):
- Irs.gov (you can print right from the site)
- If you have or will sub-contract others to work for you: www.track1099.com is a great and affordable resource for issuing 1099s
FREE Tax Preparation Assistance:
- Check with your local Community College as they frequently offer Free Tax Assistance (for the community, not just students).
- Your local IRS office can assist with forms and preparation of taxes for FREE- http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers
- Score.org: This is a GREAT site with a plethora of resources for small business. You can even find a retired tax professional and request one-on-one assistance. It’s great!
- AARP Foundation Tax Aid 888-687-2277 (no it’s not only for seniors)
- Find a CPA for $40.00 at www.turbotaxcpaselect.intuit.com/
- MyFreeTaxes.com Helpline toll-free 1 (855) 698-9435 or 855-My-Tx-Help (making less than 57K)
Time is of the essence- there’s no excuse. If you haven’t already, go get your taxes in order- before they get YOU in order.
If you are ready to take your creative business to the next level through innovative business strategies please e-mail [email protected] to find out about Thriving Artist coaching programs with Sway.
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Sway Buckley is the CEO of a leading Creative Arts Staffing firm and Founder of smARTist Institute. The institute offers coaching to creatives of all kinds who are ready to catapult their business to the next level. As a professional dancer/choreographer Sway has toured internationally and continued her dance training at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Steps on Broadway after attaining her BFA in dance from Texas Christian University. She has a weekly blog that helps artist create profitable streams with their craft. Sign-up to be the on the list at www.SmartArtistInstitute.com