"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Friday, January 1, 2010

Kiss My Tax!

Copy this, paste it, and print it and KEEP IT FOREVER!


I absolutely hate procrastinating, so I always seem to spend the first of the new year going over receipts. So let's go over what a Struggling Actress should go through and save, shall we?

Cell Phone!  It helps you stay in contact with your agent, scoring and confirming auditions, callbacks, and hooray, the job itself. Keep your monthly bills!

Netflix/movies/cable/internet! This all falls under the "research" category. You watch movies to study acting, to understand different directors' styles, and you watch cable and tv to understand the type of acting required for the show you're auditioning, and the internet is for Hulu and submitting yourself online using all those handy dandy actor websites.

Medical! Saw a chiropractor to improve your posture (like moi)? Got glasses (not contacts, mind you, although I have no idea why.)? Saw the doctor for any ailments? Deduct away!

Networking! You went to a few of those "Industry Events" where they promise agents and casting directors, but all you got were fellow non-union actors, right? Well, the ticket price of $20 that you paid to attend is deductible. If you and an actor friend go out to eat and discuss acting coaches, movies, agents and projects you auditioned for/creating, the money you paid is tax deductible. JenIsIris and I always find some time to do exactly that. Hooray!

Networking Gifts! When you booked your commercial, you sent your agent a bouquet of flowers, and guess what! Up to $25/gift is deductible! Or, did you do a play and gave every cast member a small gift each under $25? Deductible! And wow, you are super nice. And here's where it gets super fun: If you have ever hired your friend, or hired someone who became your friend and you hang out with them and buy them a drink, or a birthday gift, or you go out and got a frozen yogurt together to catch up, it is deductible! Our tax lady told us that because I had hired my beau Antne on my film, the dinners we go out to could be considered deductible! Now, this makes me feel a leeeetle bit uneasy, so we don't abuse it. But fun, right?

Food/Coffee during auditions! Did you get a coffee on the way to your Starbucks print audition? Deductible! Did you eat lunch after your callback on the way home? Deducible! Did you buy a Vitamin Water at the Ralphs at 200 S La Brea because then you get two hours free parking so you can go and audition at the Studio just next door like I always do? Deductible!

Home Office! Did your laptop take a crap on you, requiring a whole spanking new Apple desktop and monitor? Did you buy printer paper for your resumes? Did you buy printer ink? Did you buy antivirus programs? How about a computer desk and chair? Deductible!

Acting Services! Did you get a year's subscription to Showfax? How about uploading pictures to Actors Access and LA Casting? Did Casting Frontier make you pay for a subscription? Do you have your own website? Did you pay for Headshots? Did you get your photos retouched? Did you buy tons and tons of lithographs? Did you go to a copy center and get resumes? Deductible!

Acting Classes! You pay, you learn, you deduct!

Union Dues! Do pay your dues. Do get your deduction!

Car Maintenance! I spent over $300 on new tires for my car, but it didn't bum me out because it's deductible! Actors need a car and need to maintain it in order to audition, so woo hoo! Toss in those oil change receipts too, my friends!

Agency Commissions! You get to deduct this because you were taxed on income you technically didn't get to keep.

Car Mileage! You can deduct the number of miles you traveled to and from all your auditions. You might think to yourself, well, I don't keep track, because it's probably not that much, but I banked over 2,000 on just a few auditions a month. It adds up really fast. And if, like me, you also logged in the miles you went on job interviews, brava! Any mileage on any type of job interview, be it for restaurants and cafes to auditions and callbacks are all deductible! Same goes for -

Parking and Tolls! Keep track of those meters! You could recoup the $20 in change you spent!

Gas! Keep your receipts. I believe a percentage or something is taken out.

Student Loans! Did you get a degree in pretend too? Hooray! The interest on it is tax deductible!!!

Beauty/Fitness! A percentage of your gym membership and makeup is deductible! This business is all about how you look so the IRS does keep that into account.

Work Uniforms! Did you have to buy a wine key? A pair of black pants? A black bra and thong underwear for the hair show you did back in January? If you were required to have them and you didn't so you went out and bought them, tax deductible!

I am pretty confident that that's it, but seriously, that's a lot of money. Always keep track. Make your new year's resolution this year to get back all the money that's rightfully yours!

Happy 2010!


  1. Sounds like you've got a good handle, not sure if you've heard of Performer Track. I love it and it saved me a lot of time and I didn't need to pay for a bookkeeper. Besides spending and recording though you should spend-with-a-purpose meaning all this money needs to get a return. Like I said if you know about Performer Track you've done the webinar about this. It's so eye opening. But if you aren't using it you are missing out and I want to let you know. I've been telling so many actors about it because it works. Great news about your 2009 recap.

  2. Charlie. You sound like one of those sneaky commercials they put in tv shows... "I freaking love McFlurries! Oh hey, Dr. Grey, did the lab results come in yet?"

  3. Love this! I've gotten a little better at putting my receipts in a little file folder to divide them by category as soon as money is spent. Someday I'll write each one down in excel or quickbooks so I don't even have to add them up at the end of the year.

  4. Very thorough. And I felt like you were literally jumping around in front of me with glee at all the money you're saving. :)

  5. I have to advise that some of the advice here about deductions is incorrect.
    Please refer to this link for some clarification:

    For 20 years I've been doing taxes for entertainers in NYC and LA. Altho I have my own business (www.Musictax.com) I have a lot of respect for actorstaxprep, and have found everything he says to be true.

  6. Hey Musictax, thanks for that link. Everything I've written was told to me by my own tax preparer, and I understand the tax laws change and evolve every year.

  7. Lira its Liesel. I totally just googled what is tax deductible for an actress? And I read over your entire blog before looking at your photo. And I was like OMG ITS LIRA! how are you beautiful? Too funny! And I am referencing your blog for taxes. :)

  8. What percent of beauty and fitness is deductible and what tax code covers this? I find conflicting info on Jackson Hewitt and other tax prep sites.

    1. Hi Leila, I'm not quite sure of the percentage or tax code. I would ask a tax professional. :)


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