Tax Prep for Photographers & Filmmakers

Kate stepping in here to give you a bit of info from the business side of photography & filmmaking, this time about taxes.

Yes, it is that time of year again. If you’re in the ol’ USA and didn’t already know it, the due date for 2010 US Federal taxes has been extended to April 18, 2011.  That may be really great news to anyone scurrying around to finish up taxes at the last minute.  Now, you’ll have all weekend to wrap them up.

As you finalize your return, make sure that you’ve taken advantage of all possible tax deductible expenses, especially those that are a bit esoteric.  Since I am no tax professional, please do not consider this tax advice and check with a tax professional to learn about specific rules and exceptions that will affect your eligibility. However, this list may be a good way to start that conversation:

Tax deductible expenses specific to photographers and filmmakers:

Some deductions are very standard for all small businesses, including business insurance, office supplies, software costs, and even tax preparation fees.  In the world of photography and filmmaking, there are some expenses that are more specific to the industry.  To name a few…. 

Gear Related

  • Camera and lighting equipment
  • Memory cards, hard drives and digital storage
  • Film (if you are old school) and processing fees
  • Repairs and rentals

Business Related

  • Website costs
  • Professional memberships, such as ASMP or ASPP
  • Reference materials – books, magazines
  • Contest entry fees
  • Continuing education courses
  • Copyright registration fees

Production Costs

  • Contractors, including stylists, assistants, models, location scouts, editors
  • Wardrobe and props
  • Permits, location fees or studio rental fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Music licensing fees

Additionally, here are some helpful ideas regarding taxes and tax prep:

  • Think you are due a refund?  File as soon as possible.  The IRS does not pay interest on the money it owes you.
  • Some libraries offer FREE tax form preparation!  Make sure you have all of your paperwork together before you head in for assistance.  This help is usually offered on a first come, first served basis and is only good through the official tax due date.
  • Make use of the FREE resources available to you through the government:  IRS website,  call the IRS toll-free number for assistance or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
  • Just need more time to finish?  You can file for an extension but that does NOT give you any extension on paying your tax liability.  That means, you still need to estimate how much you owe and you MUST pay Uncle Sam by Monday.  Then, you can use your six-month extension to prepare your 2010 federal tax return.
  • Any 2010 contributions to retirement funds must be postmarked April 18… no extensions, so make your contributions if you are able.
  • Start organizing your 2011 tax paperwork NOW, and save yourself from any big headaches next year.

Good luck getting those tax returns out!  Here’s hoping that you have a big fat refund check heading your way this year!

Kelvin says:

This internet site is certainly instead helpful considering that I am with the second developing an online floral web-site irrespective of the fact that I am only commencing out as being a result it is truly relatively little, nothing whatsoever similar to this net website. Can internet site url to some from the posts correct here because they are fairly. Many many thanks considerably. Zoey Olsen

Halberg says:

There is certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all the points you have made.

hotmail says:

Excellent blog!. I like a your information it’s very helpful for me. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.

Studied this incredible website and decided to buy a steam shower and never ever gazed back again, really good information on this website cannot thank you enough

A good amount of helpful information on this site, really
want a steam shower unit in my own bathroom

line says:

Excellent blog!. I really like your article, it’s very useful for me. I have tried to find information about the articles you write. But it’s not as detailed as this. I really like your writing style is very easy to understand. I’ll bookmark your blog and visit here frequently. I will certainly share it and recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefit from this site. Thank you.

Janet Mcivor says:

Nice blog!. I like the your article it’s very helpful for me. I’ll bookmark for your blog and visit here frequently. I’ll certainly share it and recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefit from this web site.

Album says:

If some one wishes to be updated with most up-to-date technologies
afterward he must be pay a quick visit this web site and be up to date
daily.

I¡¦ve recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time

I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have offered for your post. They are very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too brief for novices. Could you please prolong them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

csa contact says:

Hi there, I found your site via Google at the same time as looking for a similar subject, your site came up, it appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

Click Here says:

Someone necessarily assist to make critically articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular put up incredible. Great process!

Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

e.on contact says:

Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is just great and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

I want to express my appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this type of setting. After looking through the world wide web and getting views that were not beneficial, I assumed my entire life was well over. Existing without the presence of solutions to the difficulties you have solved all through your entire write-up is a crucial case, and ones that might have negatively damaged my entire career if I hadn’t come across your blog. Your own personal mastery and kindness in dealing with all areas was tremendous. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a step like this. I can now look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for this reliable and results-oriented help. I will not hesitate to refer your web site to anyone who requires assistance about this issue.

Read This says:

Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a tremendous site.

read more says:

Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

Website says:

Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What a great site.

Read This says:

I intended to send you a very small observation to say thanks the moment again on the awesome thoughts you’ve featured in this article. It has been so shockingly generous with you to provide publicly what many individuals would’ve sold for an electronic book to end up making some bucks for themselves, particularly considering the fact that you could have tried it if you ever desired. The thoughts likewise served to become a fantastic way to know that other people have the identical zeal the same as mine to see a good deal more when considering this condition. I’m certain there are millions of more pleasant times in the future for individuals that read through your website.

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =). We may have a link change arrangement between us!

Click Here says:

You completed a few nice points there. I did a search on the theme and found nearly all persons will consent with your blog.

visit says:

I just could not go away your site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard info a person supply in your guests? Is going to be back continuously to investigate cross-check new posts

click here says:

whoah this weblog is excellent i like reading your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You know, a lot of people are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

Tax Prep for Photographers and Filmmakers | Chase Jarvis Blog it is awesome. Best regards Rebbeca Knabb

Very interesting page. Best Regards Mackenzie Tankersly

Very interesting page. Best Regards Lavon Glinski

Noe Peri says:

Very interesting page. Best Regards Noe Peri

FilmMaking Insider Tips
This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay. Do you watch the Actor’s Studio and hang on every word they say? Go To: http://is.gd/4OTQzL

Hank Potra says:

I read this post fully regarding the comparison of hottest and previous technologies, it’s awesome article.

gjaiwoejawio says:

Tax Prep for Photographers and Filmmakers | Chase Jarvis Blog I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about Tax Prep for Photographers and Filmmakers | Chase Jarvis BlogBest Regards Lisa

woooooowowo says:

Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about Tax Prep for Photographers and Filmmakers | Chase Jarvis Blog .

sisisi says:

Tax Prep for Photographers and Filmmakers | Chase Jarvis Blog Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

seo says:

The heart of your writing while appearing agreeable at first, did not work very well with me personally after some time. Somewhere within the sentences you actually were able to make me a believer unfortunately only for a while. I however have a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to help fill in all those breaks. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I would definitely end up being amazed.

Very great info can be found on weblog . “I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.” by Tom Robbins.

A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he in truth bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If possible, as you turn into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with more details? It is extremely helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this weblog post!

Really nice design and style and wonderful written content , practically nothing else we need : D.

Real nice style and great articles , absolutely nothing else we require : D.

wpsbox pro says:

omg! cantesting It envision how rapidly time pass, right after August, ber months time already and Setempber will be the initial Christmas season in my place, I genuinely enjoy it!

Hi, I was researching the internet and I saw your web site. Keep up the good work.

I’ve done about $10k in free work this month for various non-profits. Can I get a deduction from that?

@ A Photog. That is very generous of you! While you cannot deduct your time, you can deduct any out of pocket expenses and mileage (at the lower charity rate of 14 cents/mile for 2011). Not much help on the tax front, but you do get to feel really good about helping out so much! :)

Nick Girard says:

What happens if you ended up working on an event for a corporation (aka not a non-profit situation) but it’s not for pay. It’s a weird situation and I was doing someone a favor. But basically I drove to Tennessee (very far from Massachusetts). Can I only write the mileage off at the lower 14 cents/mile rate?

Nick Girard says:

this was very helpful! thanks a lot!

fas says:

This is awesome to promote photography. Hope other governments adopt it too.

Thanks for the post. If you’re interested, here’s the link to a blog I just did on business structure as it relates to photographers: http://chriscouncilphotography.com/fotocouncilor/2011/04/15/procrastinators-unite/

bimal nair says:

thanks for such an informative post. Such posts from you on the business sides of photography are always so much useful. Thankyou!

Just did my taxes and posted my breakdown of photography expenses and revenue and would be curious how they compare to others. Kind of wish I bought more equipment actually :)

Laurie says:

Thanks Kate, you saved me some $$$.

Adam Coss says:

Awesome post!

Also the Home Office Credit gave me an extra $600 … if you have a home studio or office where you do your editing that counts as part of your business.. a lot of people miss that. Just because its in your home doesn’t mean you cant claim it as a business expense.

-Adam Coss

@Adam. Good one! Just make sure you know the rules around this deduction. From the irs, “In order to claim a deduction for that part of a home used for business, taxpayers must use that part of the home:

* Exclusively and regularly as their principal place of business, as a place to meet or deal with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of their business, or in connection with their trade or business where there is a separate structure not attached to the home; or

* On a regular basis for certain storage use such as inventory or product samples, as rental property, or as a home daycare facility.

Generally, the amount of the deduction depends on the percentage of the home that is used for business.

These requirements are discussed in greater detail in Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.” http://1.usa.gov/9PMAAS

Thank you, Kate! The fields you have in bold… ‘Gear, Business Related, Production’… are those the three main categories that you use in your accounting or do you break it down into further specifics?

@Nancy. You are very welcome.

The bold categories in my post are not the ones I use in our accounting. They are there to help organize the post visually. The items below each bold heading are some examples of expense categories specific to photographers/filmmakers. This list is not comprehensive and we do have more categories.

Mike Folden says:

Also, keep in mind the DOR is saying we need to charge sales tax. That was a surprise to me. They have been really helpful whenever I’ve phoned in.

Great post Kate! I forgot about web memberships and what not.

Chase says:

This is what im talking about when I ask the photog world at large for business posts/videos when you ask what topics we want covered. Yes, how to interact with a subject or lighting this and that are great, but these business posts are wonderful. Thank you.

Comforted to know that I haven’t missed anything. Just wished I could have spent my refund on camera gear. :(

Dan Bailey says:

Great advice Kate.

I’d like to reiterate that photographers with questions should definitely consider calling the IRS help line. Although the IRS always gets a bad rap, I’ve used the toll free number a few times during my career, and every time I call, the people on the other line are always incredibly helpful, courteous and friendly. You’re already paying for that resource, so you might as well take advantage of it if you need help filling out some of the forms.

mel haynes says:

Thanks for that insight, Dan. I would always assume the people on the other end were…well not easy to work with. Your response gives me hope. I may try it this year.

Joel says:

I’ll second this… my wife is American and is in process of moving to Canada. Definitely an atypical tax situation. The IRS were stymied by some questions but STILL very helpful. Wait times vary, but they are INCREDIBLY helpful.

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin