Thursday, January 29, 2015

Make artWORK: OMG!! Tax Time

If you are feeling anxious about taxes, The Field understands.  Below are some tips on taxes from February 2014’s Field Tip.  These monthly writings are chalk full of advice on various topics related to artist’s lives.  Generally, you do have to be a Member of The Field to have access, but we thought this one should be for everybody.  Happy 2015 Tax Season!

The Field Tip

February 2014
By Shawn René Graham

While it is nice to enjoy the freedom of being a self-employed artist, we must also be diligent about keeping our paperwork in order and paying our taxes on time.  By April 15th of every year, taxes must be prepared and paid and, like you, I feel a slight amount of unease at this time of year.  Like most artists, I receive a lot of income as an independent contractor and that means taxes have not been deducted from the money I received.  I find myself sitting amongst a pile of 1099-Misc forms by mid-February. On top of that, I have other expenses related to the services I provided and must make sure I have valid paperwork to verify that these expenses are related to my business.  So what are our tax obligations when it comes to being self-employed?  Here’s what you need to know:
Generally, you are self-employed if any of the following apply to you. 
·         You carry on a business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor.
·         You are a member of a partnership or collective that carries on a business.
·         You are otherwise in business for yourself, including a part-time business.
As a self-employed individual, pay your estimated self -employment tax quarterly.
·         Self-employed individuals generally must pay self-employment tax (SE tax) as well as income tax. SE tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld if you are an employee of a company or organizations. If you hear the words "self-employment tax" is used, it only refers to Social Security and Medicare taxes and not income tax.  You can find information on how to pay these taxes here.

You must also file an annual tax return with the IRS.

·         Because we must also pay income taxes, you will need to file an annual return.  Your annual return is where you deduct your expenses.  In addition to a 1040 Form, you will also need to use Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ to report your income or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor. Click here to find out more.

So who can do all of this paperwork?  You guessed it!  You can prepare all of these forms yourself.  All of the forms can be found at  If you feel that you really need a tax professional, get one.  In some cases the expense of hiring a tax accountant is well worth it.  Just know that this will still require some work on your end.  You need to make sure that general accounting books, expense receipts and 1099-Misc forms are all in good order before handing them over to someone.  And well, it’s February, so if you have not put all of this paperwork in one safe place, now is the time to get organized.  April 15th is just around the corner!

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