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Old 05-12-2013, 12:25 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,549
Default Re: Drums and American taxes

If you're declaring (and can prove) income from music, then you are entitled to take deductions. But yes, do consult a qualified tax person. They don't have to be music-oriented, I switched from one of those types (recommended by the union) to an ordinary, sharp CPA used by my family for years, and he opened my eyes to a number of missed deductions. It didn't take long for him to interpret how each expense could be allocated to my business.

Of course, my declared occupation has been musician for quite some time, so there may be certain advantages over just declaring musical income and expenses as an avocation.

But yes, CDs, magazines, clothing, mileage (as it applies to making money with music), storage costs, parking at gigs, gear, union dues & fees, meals & entertainment, software & hardware, gifts, subscriptions, domain name and web hosting if you have a site promoting your music career, others ads and promotion (business cards, etc.) are all deductable, and there's more. Obviously some of these need to be in moderation, or you'll open yourself up to a big fat audit. Just make sure everything is legit, and that you have receipts. Well, even that's not a must... you can declare expenses up to $75 (I believe) without a receipt. Again, not a good idea to have very much of that. The less explaining you have to do in an audit, the better.

And, declare everything you can. No amount is too small. I keep receipts and submit expenses for a couple of screws or washers used on my gear. 50 and 60 adds up over the year, and could easily bump you down into the next lower tax bracket.

But, get a tax guy, don't try this yourself with TurboTax. If you get audited for one year, the IRS can also go back and examine prior returns. If you're walking a fine line with your deductions, you don't want to answer their difficult questions. Play it straight and you'll be fine.

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