How My Life Got Better Once I Hired an Accountant
By Paul Mitch
If you’re like me, part of being a musician means I’m not the best at math (I know that doesn’t hold true for all you math rockers out there!). The first year I quit my job, and when out on my own freelancing was terrifying. Making ends meet, budgeting, paying the bill. It adds up to quite a bit of calculation. Especially come tax time. The IRS isn’t keen on the creative pluses and minuses of a cash business. One of the groups I played with actually sent me a 1099 at the end of the year, so even though I was getting paid in cash a fair amount of the time, someone was keeping track of how much I was making for me. (I know. Thanks, right?!) Come March, and April, I needed to figure out how I was going to reconcile all this without having the benefit of my workplace withholding some of my earnings throughout the year.
Now some people say I’ve got people and I’m sure many of you have seen the commercials with, oh honey we’re getting audited, why don’t you call this Taxes-in-a-box customer service line? My answer? I’ve found a reliable accountant, hungry for business and good with musicians. One of the best things I did for my musical career, actually.
Most folks know that you write off your musical expenses, but there’s much more to it than that. Depending on where you rehearse, what you’re wearing when you perform, your mode of transport to and from your gigs, even the depreciation of your various instruments over time; a lot of it can also be written off. Little by little each of this things can seem like just another expense, but all together they can really add up. And then you can spend your time trying to get booked at an outdoor festival in spring rather than agonizing over your taxes.
Don W. Barnes, Jr.
6350 S. Cass Ave
Westmont, IL 60559-3207