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Question for those who play professionally...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by rob_d, May 6, 2005.

  1. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    I recently have been fortunate enough to get into a steady enough situation with sane people, making enough bread, that I've been able to join the ranks of those who play as their sole income.

    Here's a weird question. I'm thinking of moving into a new apartment. When they ask for my employment and some sort of income verification what do I do? If I put down "musician" as my profession I will likely be laughed out of any decent complex. How do I "prove" that I make enough money to pay rent and bills? I guess this would apply to anyone that's self employed.

    Also is there a link to a site that explains in plain english what exactly I should do about taxes and filing with the IRS etc...? I've never done it before but it's never been my sole income. If I try to convince the IRS next year that I made 0 dollars in 2005 it's probably not going to fly.
  2. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I really can't offer any input as to how best to deal with the musician prejudice. I have a track record of earning and I still find it easier to just lie about what I do for a living from time to time.

    AS far as the IRS issue goes:


    My whole band used Donnie this year and what a great idea that was.
  3. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I don't make a living out of music (yet) but I know here in Spain, there's an income declaration you have to fill in once a year that works ok in order to justify your yearly income.

  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    List "Self Employed" as you occupation and be prepared to show bank statements with a consistent record of deposits. I had to do much the same thing when I was an IT contractor.
  5. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    +1 on self employed

    I've had landlords ask for tax records to see what my past couple years have looked like.
  6. matrok


    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    I never had to worry about proving employment as everything was always in my wife's name, but remember one thing, save all your receipts. You can write off more than you think.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Look into, I believe, it's the Schedule C form for taxes. It's time to get serious about your record keeping.

    If you're going to be a professional musician, only playing music, and receiving no income, you're going to have to pay taxes. Keep a log in your car for mileage. Keep receipts and organize them. Talk to an accountant. This bears repeating. Talk to an accountant. You'll have to pay to get your taxes done, but it's worth it. Learn what you can declare as deductible and what you cannot.

    How is it working now, is someone in the band simply issuing a 1099?
  8. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    I believe that even if you play part time (weekends, etc...) you are obligated to, er' "contribute?" to IRS requirements. Most establishments that I know pay by check in order to document their own "itemizations." My interpretation is that if you don't claim the income, they'll politely remind you sometime in the future.
  10. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Don't worry about the IRS. They'll always give you a chance to pay them back if your cought.
  11. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Get an accountant and one that knows musicians.

    This can really make a huge difference in your stress level. I have an accountant I've been using regularly for about 5 years and she calls me when I need to do anything. All I need to do is keep records and sign my name. She does the rest.

    My standard rant... A capitalist society depends on each person in the society having a specialized skill. My contribution is music. Hire someone to handle your taxes.
  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Pretty much. Any income you recieve for any reason is taxable by the IRS. It doesn't matter how you earned it, it still must be reported and potentially taxed. Of course people seldom do report all their earnings, but you are definately supposed to.

    On great option open to pro musicians, or anyone self employed is to incorporate. Your options for how to minimize tax liability are much greater if you do this, when I was doing my contracting gig I saved more than $10k in taxes after I incorporated.

    A good accountant will be able to help you figure out the best way to go about it, but it is definately an option anyone who makes money from music regularly should look into.

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