"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
Thursday, March 12, 2009
How to Love the IRS
A Struggling Actress needs to keep all her receipts. That's right, all of them!
I bought a package of Almond Cookies from the 99cent store back when I first moved to LA and have been keeping my receipts in the pretty pink box ever since.
Tax time is coming up, and here are a few deductibles that are completely legal:
1) Gym/makeup/tanning/etc. It's called maintenance, people! I need to work out so that I can keep my "LA Chubby" size 6 body in check. (oh, okay! I wear a size 9 jean! Sue me! I still fit into size 6 dresses!) And I need to wear makeup to my auditions. And I need to - okay, I don't tan, but a lot of other people do. A percentage of all your receipts will be deducted.
2) Acting classes/books. This is a duh.
3) Acting services, such as Actors Access, LA Casting etc, they all charge you membership and photo upload fees, which is such a crock, but whatevs, you get to deduct all of it! Even your own website!
4) If you got a degree in pretend like I did, you get to deduct the interest you paid on your loans. Your lender should provide you with the correct form (You're LATE this year, Sallie Mae)
5) Commissions! Did you pay 10% to your agent and 15% to your manager for all your booked work? Well, deduct it!
6) All those headshots, all the reproductions, all your resume costs. Deduct, Deduct, Deduct.
7) Did you buy a folder to put your headshots in? How about a new computer? All that paper you bought? These are office supplies. So are the stapler, the staples, the highlighters and pens, practically everything you bought at an Office Depot. Deductible.
8) When you went on that audition, did you buy a coffee at Starbucks? Did you buy lunch on your way to a callback? Those are deductible.
9) Networking/gifts. Let's say you just happen to be friends with someone who works at E! and someone else who also works on the Oscars. Let's say they invited you over for dinner. Let's say you bought wine and beer. Up to $25 per occasion is considered a gift. And let's say you've worked with both of them before. They might just hire you again. You never know. It's networking. Let's also say it's Hanukkah, and you want to get your agent some candles for her menorah. That's a networking gift! Up to $25 is deductible!
10) You love netflix, you saw your friend's terrible Shakespeare play, you paid a cover to see your friend strip for her burlesque number. This is all considered to be research! Deduct them all!
11) Medical. Need glasses? Great! Deductible! Now wear them in your headshots for one of your characters!
12) Union dues. Sometimes they don't really seem to be working that hard for you. Who cares! Your dues are deductible!
13) Car mileage and maintenence. So let's say you use your car to go to all your auditions and callbacks. Then you take it for an oil change. Keep track of all your miles. And don't forget! If you had to pay for parking while you auditioned, write it down! That $1.25 you keep spending in spare change adds up quickly!
14) Cell phone. You bought it in the first place so that your agent can always get ahold of you when you have an audition. The whole thing is deductible. And I'm still coveting all your iPhones, ya'll.
There are a ton of things that count. For intance, when I bought a digital camera a few years ago, I bought it mainly to take pictures of myself. Some simple headshots here, some on-set photos of me there, you get the idea. I deducted a percentage of it.
You can even deduct your GPS because it helps you get to where you need to go.
I completely reccommend getting a tax person to do your own taxes. I used to do my own (rrraw! I am Woman!) and I'd be so happy with my $75 refund. Then I had a tax professional do it and almost got back $2,000. Plus, getting your taxes prepared by a professional is....TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Seriously, save all your receipts. You'll thank me next year.
at 1:44 PM