What percentage of your gig payments are Cash/"Off the Grid" OR Check/1099/Fully Taxable

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Tony In Philly, May 1, 2019.

  1. 75% - 100% Cash Payements

    49 vote(s)
  2. 50% - 75% Cash Payments

    7 vote(s)
  3. 25% - 50% Cash Payments

    2 vote(s)
  4. 0% - 25% Cash Payments

    15 vote(s)
  5. None of Your Damned Business, you Nosey Bass Player!

    20 vote(s)
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  1. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Last year I had kind of a tax headache from one venue that insisted on 1099'ing the band. Naturally, the Bass Player got stuck signing for it and collecting taxes - Federal, State, and Local from the rest of the band. :laugh:

    This got me thinking - what percentage of your gig payments are Cash/"Off the Grid" OR Check/1099/Fully Taxable? For example, I would estimate ours to be about 75% in the former category and 25% in the latter category.
  2. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    All of mine are by check or electronic payment. I insist on this so I have good records, and can compare from year to year my overall growth.

    I have to confess, I had a pivotal moment a couple months ago. I have a repeat corporate client, and she paid a balloon artist to put up 6 Mardis Gras style columns to decorate an event area. I asked the client if she would mind sharing what it cost to have them made. She replied, with wide eyes "ONLY $1200!". I asked how long it took the client -- she repolied "only an hour". I asked about equipment -- only the PVC towers, a box of ballons and a blow-up machine.

    The band got way less than that. WAY LESS, and I couldn't stop thinking about it as it took me 1 hour to tear down or more, as well as all the stress of making sure everyone got there on time, wouldn't forget, equipment wouldn't fail -- the usual.

    I started wondering if I should get into the business of balloon decorations, charge $1200 and throw in a free jazz band just to boost my earnings per gig.

    I also realized I have other sources of income to which I could turn that pay at least as much. I could have less time away from family, less haulage, less fear of my car being towed away by unsympathetic parking enforcement people during load-in, and I wouldn't have to start thinking about the gig and preparing at 2 pm and then get home at 11 pm. And I'd have no pesky record keeping either, no 1099's, no income statements to assemble, no concerns about a possible audit.

    Anyway, I digress. The point is, yes I go straight check and electronic payment to ease record keeping.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah every single venue around here has gone checks and 1099 forms. We rotate getting paid so none of us rise to the level of needing to claim any venue as a source of income. We only do a couple/few shows a month and we rotate venues.
    Tony In Philly likes this.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    All gig money is income and may therefore be taxable, regardless of which form the remittance takes.
    bfields, Altitude, Febs and 3 others like this.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    The times I have gotten a cheque, you always cashed it at the bar. I was under the impression it was for the bar's book keeping. I have been paid exclusively in cash.
  6. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    It seems that I'm always stuck with the 1099 as well. Despite my tax bracket being way above many of the other guys - they're just not willing to deal with it.

    IME in my neck of the wood (which is likely the same as your neck of the woods), all of the better paying venues are going to want to run above the table.
    Tony In Philly likes this.
  7. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    BL collects check from venue, BL creates checks for band members the following week. We all signed 1099s with the band and deal with our own taxes
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Then you need to "withhold" the amount you would pay in taxes from each member's pay.

    Let's say your personal income tax rate winds up 30% between state, federal, deductions, etc.. Each guy's pay is $100. Then you need to pay them $70. No need for you to pay everyone's taxes.
    BobKos, Nevada Pete and Kro like this.
  9. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Trust me, I'm well aware. :laugh::thumbsup:

    I'll be honest though, I think our drummer is the only other member of the band that actually understands how this stuff works. I just had to explain to the band why they wouldn't be seeing the full amount directly. This is what they heard:

    Bla bla bla bracket, bla bla bla withheld, bla bla bla %. Then they nodded in agreement.
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Caca de Kick, BOOG and Tony In Philly like this.
  11. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Whaddya talking about? Cash? What cash? I don't know nothin' about no cash. I work for free, 'cuz you know, I'm like a nice guy.
  12. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    The IRS says that all income, regardless of the source, needs to be reported. However, if it's not traceable, I know that some people simply don't report it. I am not condoning it, nor do I practice non-reporting of income. But you have to be blind to see that it's the way some people do it. Also, there are people who don't report it if it's not 1099'ed even if there is a traceable record like a cheque.

    In fact, you can say that if a BL is derelict in issuing 1099's the people who earned the income should still be keeping track and report the income with or without a 1099.

    In the bands I play in, to simplify recording keeping, each person who books gigs is considered their own entity. I partner with a drummer who now has me in first call position for his gigs. I have him in first call position for my gigs. We use whoever we like the best for other positions in the band. That is up to each respective person.

    His band has a different name than mine. For his gigs, the client makes the check out to him. For my gigs, the client makes the check out to me.

    So, we are two separate sole proprietorships. This keeps the 1099ing/record-keeping simpler because it means a lot of musicians never hit the $600 threshold for 1099ing due to the income coming from different entities. But they are still obligated to report that income, whether there is a 1099 or not.
    makaspar and Tony In Philly like this.
  13. whitelines

    whitelines Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2014
    Salt Lake City
    You should report your income, make applicable and legal deductions for expenses, and then pay appropriate taxes. Full stop.
  14. We work through an Agency so, direct deposit and checks is the norm now. Only private party gigs we book on our own have we seen cash and we rarely have time for them anyway.
  15. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    Some of you are lucky enough to make that much?! :greedy:
    SoCal80s likes this.
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Very true. However, of you are deemed to be an employer in fact and the checks get issued to you, you can say whatever you like. If taxes aren’t withheld, the BL or whoever else got the check or cash can still wind up on the hook for it. Because your bandmates might be classified as statutory employees for tax purposes, in which case you might still be required to withhold.

    The curveball is trying to determine if they are statutory employees. Because its not a cut and dried determination. Time was when you could mutually agree with whoever you worked with that they were independent contractors. Today it’s not that simple because the whole ‘independent contractor for tax purposes’ thing was getting heavily abused starting in the 80s with the explosion of small business startups. Uncle Sam got fed up with the number of people not reporting and lowered the boom.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  17. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I did the same with a busy band years ago. But, we all showed it as income because it is income. Instead of one member on the hook for 10k, we each claimed $2500 ( 4 piece band).
    You should consult a different tax accountant. iRS audits are not fun.
    two fingers likes this.
  18. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    If the annual pay to each member hits the $600 mark, the band leader is an employer. Social security comes into play.
    Rabidhamster and two fingers like this.
  19. aprod


    Mar 11, 2008
    Who would be stupid enough to answer this question?
    twinjet, Kmonk, Seanto and 4 others like this.
  20. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Exactly - I had to pay the 12.4% Self-employment Tax after taking the proper deduction from Schedule C. Fortunately my State and Local accepted the same deductions that were filed there. Without the deductions I would have had a personal tax increase total of over $500.
    john m likes this.
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