Episode 040: The Taxman Cometh

Tax time is rough for everyone, especially musicians. Here’s how to plan now for less stress over taxes later.

Show notes

  • Disclaimer: We’re not tax professionals, we encourage you to consult one!
    • Dave tells his story about taxes this year
  • People who just don’t figure in their musical work
    • Cash under the table everywhere? Ha! Wait until you get your first 1099 from a venue.
    • Music as an economic enterprise — you’re contributing to the local economy
    • Costs you money too — mileage, supplies, promotional costs, etc.
  • Pro
    • If music is your main gig, you probably are seeing a tax professional already 🙂
  • Amateur/Semi-pro
    • You’ve been gigging a while, it’s more than a hobby but not your main income
    • This is where we’ll concentrate
    • Paul’s story
      • Using QuickBooks Self-Employed
      • Tracks miles
      • Tracks checking and credit card accounts — categorize in/out $$
      • Fits into TurboTax Self-Employed
      • Costs more but has saved me $100s on my taxes
  • What do you need to track?
    • Mileage on your car that’s for gigs, rehearsals, or other directly business-related
    • Expenditures on supplies — strings, polish, cables, tuners, etc.
    • Equipment — yes, this means a bass you buy
      • High-cost instruments in some cases are classified as something you have to depreciate over time, can get complicated if you don’t keep good records
    • Repairs
    • Food you buy at a venue when it’s not reasonable that you could have taken a meal at home
    • Not alcohol!
  • Keep records on computer or paper!
    • Google Sheets is great
    • An app (like QuickBooks Self-Employed) helps
    • Make sure you know where to find them so in January-April when it’s time for taxes you can jump into action

Photo by John Morgan via Flickr, licensed CC-BY 2.0.