Tax Considerations for Artists
"Tepid Marsh", 6x6 Pastel on sanded paper
If you are an artist, and you are selling your work...you may have to file for taxes! Now, I'm no professional tax consultant, but I have been filing and writing off my business for some 15 years. And what the IRS would love to prove is that you are some starving amateur artist that is dodging taxes! So, to keep things running smoothly in your artist career, I am offering some tips that I have been using for some time now that I hope will help you decide if you really are in business as an artist: (some of these examples come from "Taking The Leap" by Cay Lang)
1. Keep receipts of all expenses for each calendar year. List in categories that are relevant to your type of art. Ex: art supplies, office supplies, travel, promotion, and shipping are some of mine.
2. Keep a mailing list. This proves that you are connecting to clients and are actually pursuing business.
3. Send out announcements or maintain a blog or website with all your art activities. This proves that you are attempting to attract more clients. Really!
4. Save the announcements from your shows. This proves that it really did happen.
5. Keep copies of all your communications with galleries, shows, and festivals. Keep the return communications in a folder (either on your computer or in a cabinet). This proves that others are responding.
6. Keep and maintain invoices of art sold with date, item, and client info. This one is most important!
The list can go on, but I'm only offering this as a starting point. Using a tax consultant is your best bet, if you have the money to hire one, and especially one who is savvy with artists practices.
So, there is my 2 cents on taxes! Please feel free to comment and add to this list.