Organizing Tax Returns? Top Tips for Artists!

Tax time isn’t fun for most people, but it’s especially hard on artists who have a diverse range of income from freelance jobs, gigs, commissions and part time jobs. That’s why every tax season, our Professional Development Program offers a workshop to help artists with their returns. On February 22nd, Creative Capital will host a workshop with Sandra Karas, an attorney specializing in taxes and financial planning (sign up here).

To get an idea of what she would be discussing, Sandra was kind enough to take some time out of her seasonably packed schedule to answer some questions!

Alex Teplitzky: Preparing taxes is especially difficult for artists. Can you give us 3 quick tips artists need to know before preparing their returns?

Sandra Karas: Organize! Organize! Organize! Those are the best 3 tips for any artistic professional, especially those who are self-employed or are independent contractors. If you don’t organize your records, who will? And if you don’t, you’ll lose valuable deductions on your individual and business tax returns.

Keep careful records of your expenditures and the receipts that prove that you spent the money. Conduct yourself as a consummate business professional, so that your website, promotional efforts, business bank account and other indications of your standing in the community are unimpeachable.

Alex: You probably know about the relatively recent tax court ruling regarding artist taxes. Can you tell us some important take aways from the ruling, and how you see this helping artists?

Sandra: The Crile case was noteworthy because it recognized that artistic professionals can toil for years without making a profit, provided they can also prove that they have credibility in their respective fields, maintain regular contacts with those in their industry circles, keep clean business records, and conduct themselves as business professionals who are embedded in their artistic communities. Susan Crile won her case because she was a recognized artist who had garnered excellent reviews from noted publications and reviewers for her work individually and for her body of work as a whole. She also had adequate support for the other tests of business professionals.

Alex: Tell me some important reasons artists should take your course.

Sandra: All business professionals, especially those in the arts, should avail themselves of any opportunity to become better educated about matters relating to their financial affairs, including the most advantageous filing of their tax returns. Smart, savvy artists simply do better than those who leave their fates for others to decide. Taking control of your income and expenditures can be empowering and can make an artist more successful – or at the very least, someone who can retain more of her/his money at tax time.

Find out more about our course Tax Preparation for Artists with Sandra Karas on February 22nd, and register below.

Register Now

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Alex Teplitzky

About Alex Teplitzky

Alex Teplitzky studies and implements tools for arts organizations and artists to express themselves on the web and through social media. He has worked for a wide variety of galleries and museums including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Claire Oliver Gallery, the Jen Bekman Gallery, the Richard Feigen Gallery and Ray Johnson Estate. In 2010, Alex moved to New York to study at the Draper John W. Draper Graduate Program at NYU where he wrote his thesis on artists' visual deconstruction of the media's representation of terrorism and violence. He has written arts articles for Art F City, Hyperallergic, Eros Mortis and he manages an art blog called Tout Petit la Planète. He also DJs at various venues in New York City under the alias Nabocough. He has worked as Communications Associate at Creative Capital since 2014.

4 thoughts on “Organizing Tax Returns? Top Tips for Artists!

  1. Making sure you properly document and file everything away in an organized fashion will have you prepared and not at all stressed when tax time comes around. Great information, thanks for sharing!

  2. Tax season is stressful for everyone. My friend is an artist and she is not entirely sure how to go about the whole tax situation. It is good to know that the best thing she can do is be organized. I am sure that this tip will save her time and money in the long run. I will pass on the information.

  3. I always have a hard time getting my taxes together. It makes sense that organization would help me out a lot. I’ll make sure I do that throughout the year, and not just try to handle it all in one night.

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