The Creative Independent has recently published a truly readable step-by-step, how-to guide titled “A smart artist’s guide to income taxes.” The Creative Independent is an online publication out of Brooklyn that acts as a resource for creative people by publishing daily how-to guides and interviews that address the needs of visual artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, designers, et al. It bills itself as a “growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people.”
The writer Katherine Pomerantz (a ‘small-business money mentor’) and illustrator Savannah Rusher put together the income tax guide. The how-to guide’s subheading is: “Practical advice on calculating and filing your taxes, taking advantage of deductions, and best bookkeeping practices.” Its language is crystal clear and engaging throughout its 11 sections (such as “The tax advantages of treating your art like a small business,” and “Artist-specific tax deductions”), but Pomerantz eases you into this stressful topic with “Why tax planning matters.” The whole guide is one of the most honest and down-to-earth money management guides we’ve come across. Pomerantz starts it off with:
“… artists feel they are too stressed, confused, or busy for proper tax planning, but paying too much money in taxes can hurt you both personally and professionally.
This is doubly true for freelancers and small business owners who don’t have the advantage of a steady salary or company benefits. Us fringe workers must always consider where our money is headed, because it’s up to us to provide our own healthcare, plan for retirement, and save towards personal goals. The more money we have left after taxes, the more we can grow our lifelong savings, and the sooner we start, the better off we’ll be. Tax planning thus becomes the first part of a holistic and healthy financial plan for our entire lives.”
Generalities lead to useful specifics, such as which tax bracket you (really) fall into, a breakdown of types of income sources, common tax deductions you can claim beyond your art-making ones, and so on.
The entire guide can be found here.