Taxes For Musicians: Your Guide to Tax Season

Taxes For Musicians

Taxes for musicians can be really confusing so we created this guide to help you this tax season!

Do I  Need To File Taxes?

Unless you only earned less than $600 as a musician and nothing else, you probably do. You can double check if you need to pay taxes here.

What’s A Deductible?

Deductibles are the things you’ve purchased in the past year for work and can subtract from your income so that less of your income is taxed.

What Can I Count As a Deductible?

Thanks to Section 179, if you’re a self-employed musician, you can deduct “musical instruments, sound and recording equipment, computers, office furniture, or certain business vehicles like an SUV or van.”

Unfortunately for W-2 musicians, the TCJA has repealed all “Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions,” this means they can no longer deduct “buying an instrument, sheet music, supplies or equipment, required concert clothing, mileage, job search/audition expenses, research expenses for professors, or your home office expenses. Additionally, you can no longer deduct tax preparation fees, investment management fees, memberships to professional organizations, or union membership and work dues.”

Learn how to get the most out of your deduction here. 

Make sure you have your receipts for these deductibles gathered as well. You’ll need these to do your taxes.

What Forms Do I Need?

If you earned more than $600 from a company, you should receive an IRS Form 1099-MISC from them. To get this form, make sure you fill out a Form W-9 for them.

When you earn less than $600 from a company, you don’t have to receive an IRS Form 1099-MISC, although they can send one. If they don’t send one, you still have to claim their earnings when you file your taxes.

If you were an employee, you will receive a Form W-2 from your employer as well.

There are a few other forms you need if you have an LLC.

Do I Need To Form An LLC?

This is up to you.  You don’t have to for tax purposes, but you may want to protect yourself legally. You can learn more about reasons to file an LLC here.

What Forms Do I Need If I’m A Solo Singer With An LLC?

If you’re a solo singer, you would form an LLC as the sole proprietor. You’ll need to fill out Form 1040, Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ, and Schedule SE.

What Forms Do I Need If I’m In a Band With An LLC?

If you’re in a band, you would form an LLC as a partnership. You will need to file taxes as a group and individually. You will also need to request an EIN, learn how to here. You’ll need to fill out Form 1060 (as a group,) Schedule K-1, Form 1040, Schedule E, and Schedule SE.

Where Do I File My Taxes?  Can Someone Help Me?

You can file your taxes yourself on sites like TurboTax and H&R Block.

You can also hire someone to do your taxes for you.

When DO I have TO File By?

You have until April 15, 2019, to file!

How Can I Make Filing Taxes Easier Next Year?

You can make your life easier come next tax season by keeping good records of your income and expenses for your music career. One simple way to do this is to keep a separate bank account for all your music expenses. Use this same bank account for any money you earn as a musician. This way your income and expenses can easily be tracked just for your music career. Also, keep all receipts to prove your purchases. We found these tips and you can find more here.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice provided by an attorney of your choosing. TuneGO, Inc. does not warrant or represent that the information in this post is accurate for all people or in all circumstances and encourages you to seek qualified legal counsel in all instances. TuneGO, Inc. will not be responsible for your reliance on any information contained in this article.


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