I've picked a few things from the article Tracy Weisert wrote, but you should read the full article here.
On January 28, Casting Networks’ attentive members asked many questions of guest speaker and Certified Public Accountant, Sark Antaramian.
Sark stated that actors have the highest ratio of expenses versus income and that we can deduct more items and services compared to other professional careers. And that our deduction categories are also the most abused.
Use of car- “Pretty much everything with an actor's car is deductible” and advised us to get an automobile log and to document everything, including our mileage. He also pointed out that in audits, the auditor will ask for your auto mechanic records to check your odometer reading against your claimed mileage deduction.
Meals and Entertainment- Example-With any meal over $75, we will need a receipt. When we claim that on our taxes, we have to have the receipt and also have documentation of-
- Relationship to us (Example-agent, manager, etc.)
- What was the business that was discussed?
"Other common expenses of actors are your headshots, your make-up, your hair styling and your gym workout. Besides your skill, you’re basically selling your appearance. Not just actors. I’ve had TV news reporters and anchor people. They can deduct the cost to maintain their appearance."
Other points Sark mentioned is-
The statute to keep receipts is three years for the United States and four years for California. “I tell my clients to keep them for six years in case there is fraud.”
“Unemployment benefits are reported and you have to claim it.”
“You have to have your gas receipts in order to deduct them.”
“If you don’t have enough W-2s [from acting] for three years, it is considered a ‘hobby’ by the IRS.”
Sark Antaramian has been a licensed CPA for the past 27 years. His clients are primarily in the entertainment industry and represents small business and individual clients assisting them with various tax matters. He has worked with actors, writers , talent agents, casting directors, producers, directors, and various other types of skilled individuals such as gaffers, grips, best boys , electrician and lighting technicians. His practice is located in the San Fernando Valley.