Last week’s Tinc Tuesday event, held March 1st at Chelsea Studios, was a great success. Anne Adamowsky from Trudy C. Durant & Associates joined us to discuss the difficult and confusing topic of finance for the “freelancer” in the theatre and event industries.

The attendees were made up of a broad spectrum of industry professionals and students, who came prepared with all sorts of thoughtful questions from their own experiences.

Here are 4 of our main takeaways…

Our Industry isn’t like other Industries

First and foremost, our industry doesn’t fit into any cookie-cutter template for doing taxes. If you’re going to get advice or use an accountant, be sure to speak with someone who’s familiar with the industry, how it works, and the vocabulary we use.

Don’t Use Generic Online Tax Services

Many of us prefer to use online services to do our taxes, as it’s affordable and can be done at any time from anywhere (bonus for those of us on the road). However, these services do not provide industry-specific examples, and therefore we may leave out information that could really make a difference and help us save.

Deductions Mean Everything – Make a system to track your Expenses

One of the hand-outs Anne distributed was her firm’s Miscellaneous Deductions form. This details out the many industry-specific categories that may be deducted, including Union Dues, Sheet Music, Agent & Manager Fees, Fees to Accompanists & Assistants, and many more. There is a separate area to fill in details on any touring you’ve done in the past year. One of the line items that people were most surprised by– theatre tickets! We go to the theatre with a different perspective than the non-industry person; when we see shows, it’s research for our profession.

As busy as we are, it can be a challenge to track our expenses and receipts. If you are like me, I end up with a shoebox full of scraps of paper that take me hours to go through at the end of the year. The system will be different for everyone, but have a system.

Understand the Difference between 1099 and W2 Employment

It’s important to know your legal rights when it comes to being paid as a 1099 contractor or a W-2 Employee, but understanding how this affects the deductions you can take on your taxes is just as critical. Especially since we often have both 1099’s and W-2’s at the end of each year. What can you deduct and what can’t you? How do you divvy up your deductions across the two? Splitting out your deductions similarly to how the income is split is the right way to go. Don’t put all your deductions on the 1099 income if that only makes up 10% of your income, this could be a red flag to the IRS. Stay out of the radar of the IRS; Get the most out of your deductions.

Here’s a couple other things to keep in mind…

  • Understand the options for claiming allowances when completing your employment paperwork.
  • Save all your pay stubs throughout the year
  • Double check your W-2’s and 1099’s
  • If you are ever reimbursed in your paycheck, be sure that this is not included as Income on your W-2 or 1099
  • Save your receipts and document them well, to make completing your taxes as simple as possible
  • Understand the various work-related items that can be deducted
  • If in doubt, talk to an accountant

    Thank you to all who came out to the event! Stay tuned for future educational events, and as always, let us know if you have any suggestions on seminar topics.

    Our Speaker: Anne Adamowsky from Trudy C. Durant & Associates

    In 1969, Trudy Durant combined her passion for the theatre and her experience with tax accounting to form her own firm. As one of the first woman-owned tax service firms specializing in this industry, her company quickly grew. Trudy established a staff of devoted tax and accounting professionals who recognize and serve the clients’ needs, as she does.

    Today, Trudy C. Durant and Associates LLC has over 20 qualified professionals who provide the highest quality personal service to our clients, year after year. In addition to interviewing clients at our multiple locations, our staff also travels to various tour sites to accommodate our clients’ needs.

    We require continuing education of our staff in order to accommodate the complex changes in federal and state tax laws. This is especially important because the nature of our business involves filing tax returns in all 50 states as well as in multiple cities.

    We are available to our clients all year to answer tax questions and consult on the tax impact of business decisions. While our client base has increased substantially, the pride in individual service remains the same as always.