The Top Five Tax Mistakes Actors Make

 Events, Our Personal Touch, Tips N Tricks  Comments Off on The Top Five Tax Mistakes Actors Make
Feb 262013
 

Hi Everyone,

Take a look at the following article, by Mark Bradley,  to see if YOU are making any of these mistakes when filing your tax return.

Mistake #5:  Bogus Tax Deductions

Actors are great talkers, and we love to spread rumors.  Unfortunately, sometimes the rumors that get spread around about tax deductions are just plain wrong.  Three immediately spring to mind.

First, I’ve heard some actors say, “Oh yeah, I deduct all my clothes.”  No can do.  The rule is that clothing is deductible only if it isn’t suitable for street wear.  If you bought a business suit and never wore it for anything but auditions and commercial shoots, it’s still not deductible, because you could wear it on the street.  The only exception to this rule is dance wear. You can wear it on the street, but it’s considered specialized work wear, like a nurse’s scrubs.  (Cleaning and maintenance of your clothes used on the job are always deductible.)

Second, unlike classes, health club dues aren’t deductible professional expenses.  If an agent or director told you to get in better shape, even for a specific role, a gym membership is still considered a personal expense.

Third, I was horrified to learn that a lot of actors were telling each other that they could deduct ALL their restaurant meals, as long as they talked about the business over dinner!  This is total, utter, absolute nonsense.  To be deductible, you must have a clear, current business relationship with the person you’re hosting and you must discuss a specific business opportunity, not just the business in general.  Even if at some time in the future, your dining partner may hire you for a job, going out for dinner with your friends is essentially social in nature and should not be deducted as business entertainment.

Mistake #4:  Missed deductions

The flip side of taking bogus deductions is missing legitimate ones. A couple of deductions that shouldn’t be overlooked are items for research and expenses that are deducted from paychecks.  Many items that would simply be entertainment for the general public are deductible by actors as ordinary and necessary professional expenses.  Books, movies, subscriptions, and so forth keep you up-to-date in the profession.  Theatre and movie tickets are also absolutely legitimate deductions as professional research, along with a reasonable portion of your cable bill.  And don’t overlook expenses that are deducted from paychecks.  Two that come to mind are Equity working dues and commissions withheld by agents.

Mistake #3:  Deducting business expenses on the wrong form

Most actors have two types of income:  employee income, reported to you on a W-2, and independent contractor income (self-employment), which may be reported on a Form 1099.  (If you got paid less than $600 by an employer, they don’t have to send a 1099, but you still have to report the income!)  Your self-employment income and expenses should be reported on Schedule C (or C-EZ), and employee business expenses on Form 2106 (or 2106-EZ).  Some folks have told me that their accountants deduct ALL their business expenses on Schedule C, even those employee expenses that aren’t attributable to 1099 work. I think that’s completely improper, and could be dangerous. Maybe those accountants figure they could bamboozle an IRS auditor, but I’d prefer to report expenses properly.

Mistake #2:  Forgetting about local transportation

A professional tax preparer friend of mine says that the most-overlooked business deduction is local trans- portation.  Be sure to record your car mileage, bus fares, parking, tolls, etc. for your local trips in pursuit of your career.  Transportation to job-seeking and career-building activities is always deductible.  These activities include actual auditions and interviews, but also meetings with your agent, trips for coaching and lessons, union meetings, and errands to photographers, studios and printers to get your head shots, demos, and résumés.  All these activities are ordinary and necessary expenses, and this is probably most of your mileage.  A singer probably wouldn’t forget to deduct the cost of voice lessons, but might overlook the cost of getting there.  This may be because you usually won’t have receipts for these local transportation costs.  And that leads us to:

The Number One mistake actors make about taxes:  Failure to keep good records

The best thing to do to maximize your tax refund is to keep good records of your activities.  This means that you should write everything down, and keep those records as you go along.  From the example above, when you go to an audition or interview, write down your car mileage and what you paid for parking, or make note of the fare for public transportation.  You won’t have receipts for these things, so contemporaneous records are essential.  You can’t just make things up at tax time!  I also heard an accountant point out that if you just guess, you’ll probably underestimate.  So keep accurate records.

The most credible records are written in your own hand, so I keep an old-fashioned paper date book.  If you prefer to keep track of things electronically, make a printout at least once a week and hand-sign and date it.

Remember — as a professional in our industry, YOU are a little business, and keeping accurate records is an important part of your job!

 

Mark Bradley has been acting on Twin Cities stages for more than 35 years, although he is now mostly known as “Katie Bradley’s dad.” For several years, Mark provided individual tax help to performers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, and also presented income tax seminars for actors, partnering with CPA Paul Mount. He is a graduate of the H&R Block tax course, maintains the Actor’s Tax Tips blog and authored The Actor’s Tax Guide.

 

Keep Learning!

 Classes, Events, On Camera, Tips N Tricks, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Keep Learning!
Sep 172012
 

You can always keep learning in this business! Don’t forget to take some time to keep growing and learning as a talent. It will help you more than you know!!

Talent Poole offers classes to our exclusive talent for FREE!! Take a peek at our website to see what is going on this fall. We have improv, voice over, on-camera techniques, prompter techniques and dos and don’ts of the biz.

Here are some other places in town to fill you class schedule:

Michelle Hutchison is now offering all new ON CAMERA CLASSES for FALL, 2012!

These popular five-week courses are perfect for those who wish to learn the techniques necessary to have a dynamic and professional on-camera audition. The workshop will enmesh the actor in the world of auditioning for the camera. You will be given television and film scripts to prepare for the camera, as well as learning how to handle cold-read materials. All aspects of the business are discussed such as headshots, resumes, agents, casting directors, actor’s unions and more. You will be given a tape of your time on-camera to take home and review. This is an excellent tool to see how you operate on-camera. Many students have seen marked improvement in their on-camera skills and bring a fresh confidence to their auditions.

FALL CLASSES INCLUDE WORKSHOPS FOR ADULTS AND KIDS AND TEENS!

ADULT WORKSHOP:
Monday evenings, 6:30pm-9:30pm
September 24, October 1, 8, 15, 22

KIDS AND TEENS WORKSHOP:
Saturday mornings, 9:30am-12:30pm
September 29, October 13, 20, 27, November 3

ALL LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND!

Class will be held at the Lynn Blumenthal Casting office in downtown Minneapolis.

Instructor for the class, Michelle Hutchison, has worked as a professional actress for over 20 years. She has been seen on many local Twin Cities stages, as well as appearing in feature films, commercials, industrials, and voiceovers. Michelle has assisted at LBC in casting films such as, “The Last Avatar”, “Kicking and Screaming”, “Ice Princess”, “Bad News Bears”,” Yours, Mine and Ours”,”Superbad” and many more. Her on-camera workshops continue to train the young and more mature to enjoying a more successful and dynamic on-camera audition. Because of her tutelage, her students have booked television commercials, film, industrials and television series.

There are limited amount of spots available in the workshop so that you will receive maximum time on-camera. To enroll please contact Michelle at Funnyhutch@aol.com, or you may call 612-462-1325.

These classes are kept to an intimate size, but will fill up fast!

 

Bab’s Casting 

Babs offers training and workshops. These are tailored to the needs of individuals and groups, whether they be actors, models, VO talent, directors or “real” people curious about how it all works. These are given at her cozy western studio and on location. Babs loves to de-mystify casting, to teach and empower.

To register, set up a different location or dates and prices, please contact the studio: 612-332-6858 orbabs@babscasting.com

Ongoing On-Camera Class for Adults

I know the basics, I’ve auditioned, even booked work, but I want to do more!

OFFERED 3rd SATURDAY EVERY MONTH. Ages 16 and up. For those ready to work on a variety of commercial audition scenarios. Over time, we’ll work on a range of scripts from one liners to industrial copy, bite and smiles, reaction shots and improv situations. We’ll record the auditions and Babs will critique them. This is a great time to practice being on-camera whether you are a print model, stage actor, “real” person or seasoned broadcast talent. Come once, come every month, you decide what you need.

(2 hrs per class, ongoing, *$50 per person, you must pre-register each time, NOT a drop in class)

SESSION B: 3rd Saturday of the month, 1-3 p.m.

 

Brave New Workshop Improv – Adult Improv

Everyday Improv: This level introduces you to the essentials of improvisation: saying “Yes and”, finding your creative voice, listening and discovering with your scene partner, and more! This is done in the safe and supportive “creative gymnasium” that makes the BNW: Student Union so unique and fun.
The next Everyday Improv Level 1 will be on Saturdays from 10:00am-12:00pm starting September 22nd.
This class runs for 8 week

 

So – what are you waiting for??? Get enrolled in some classes today!!

 

 

MN Fringe Festival

 Brag Reel, Events  Comments Off on MN Fringe Festival
Jul 182012
 

MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL : 11 days, 165 shows, 15 Twin Cities venues.

There will be a TON of fresh new theater to feast your eyes on in the coming month. Get Ready!! August 2 – August 12 will be jam packed with 165 shows and over 1000 artists presenting their theatrical work. All shows run NO MORE than 60 minutes, seating is general admission and you must purchase a $4 FRINGE BUTTON to attend the shows. More details about ticketing can be found at : http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/tickets/

A great deal of the work at the Minnesota Fringe Festival is original work by Minnesota artists. At Talent Poole, we are lucky enough to represent AT LEAST two of the very talented writers and performers in this year’s festival. There are many more participating in the festival… check it out online for the full schedule.

Let me introduce you to Mike Fotis and Max Wojtanowicz

Mike Fotis, Creator of Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Mike Fotis is one of the Twin Cities’ premiere comic performers. In improv circles, he’s known as an educator and member of Ferrari McSpeedy and Fingergun. Fotis also co-created such popular stage comedies as “Punk Rock Omaha” and “Speech!” and has written several storytelling shows for the Minnesota Fringe called “An Intimate Evening With Fotis” and “Billy Beechwood and the Mountain of Terror!”. Mike is also a mainstage cast member at the Brave New Workshop and serves as the co-director of the Student Union, which is the BNW’s School of Improvisation.

 

Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Presented by: Ferrari McSpeedy

Mt. Terror has claimed the lives of everyone that has tried to scale it. Will Billy Beechwood reach the peak or will he be buried forever in an icy tomb? A comedy-adventure for the kid in all of us.

This show is funny. Mike, along with his buddies Joe Bozic and Aric McKweon (another Talent Poole Talent) play tons of characters in this fast paced trip through awesome town.

 Thursday, 8/2 7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/4 10:00 pm
Monday, 8/6  8:30 pm
Tuesday, 8/7 10:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 7:00 pm

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Center Thrust 
330 21st Av S, Main Floor

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2257

 

Max Wojtanowicz creator of Fruit Fly: The Musical

Max Wojtanowicz makes faces for a living, including at the Children’s Theatre Company (Dr Seuss’ The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Romeo & Juliet, Mr McGee and the Biting Flea and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz), The Strange Capers (Feste in Twelfth Night), Workhouse Theatre Company (Arnold inTorch Song Trilogy), Urban Samurai (Musical: The Musical! at the 2008 MN Fringe and Hunter in the regional premiere of [title of show]) and Frank Theatre (Cliff in Cabaret). Next up: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at CTC! He could not be more thrilled to share the stage with Sheena and collaborate with all these wonderful chumps. Thanks to fruits and fruit flies everywhere!

PS: if you need more Max in your life, make sure to head over to Theatre in the Round where he is playing Benvolio in The Peanut Butter Factory’s world premiere of Joe Dowling’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet on the Moon, featuring Kate Mulgrew as Lady Capulet!

 

Fruit Fly: The Musical

 By The Jansonowicz Players

Created by Sheena Janson, Max Wojtanowicz, Michael Gruber and Nikki Swoboda

Can a gay man and a straight woman – a fruit and a fruit fly – “quit each other” to find true love? Find out in this brand new musical, developed and performed by local actors Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz, who met as kids in community theater in the St. Cloud area.

Sheena and Max’s weird, wonderful friendship is told with music by Broadway veteran and recent Minneapolis transfer Michael Gruber. The piece will be directed by long-time collaborator and friend Nikki Swoboda, with musical direction by Jason Hansen, and performed at the Rarig Arena on the U of M campus!

In an election year, when same-sex marriage and GLBT rights are hot button issues, FRUIT FLY: THE MUSICAL reminds us that right now, as always, all any of us really wants is to feel safe, welcomed, loved… and fabulous!

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Arena
330 21st Av S, Second Floor

Sunday, 8/5   7:00 pm
Monday, 8/6   10:00 pm
Thursday, 8/9  5:30 pm
Friday, 8/10      7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 4:00 pm

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2262

And please donate what you can to our Kickstarter campaign — every little bit helps, and check out those great incentives! 🙂
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/458391060/fruit-fly-the-musical-the-2012-mn-fringe-festival
We know there are tons more (163 to be exact) show to get excited about… we wanted to brag a bit about two of our extremely talented artists who are working hard on these great projects!

Please go out and support local artists this August at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

 

New Faces

 Events  Comments Off on New Faces
Apr 112012
 

This spring has been a whirlwind of events, interviews, auditions and new talent. We have been fortunate enough to have attended the Twin Cities Actors Expo and the Twin Cities Unified Theatre Auditions in March. Both events were jammed packed with great new talent, fun conversations and wonderful information!

As a result of both events, the Talent Poole talent roster is now jammed packed with NEW FACES! Take a peek at some of the great new talent that we now represent. We are proud these actors have chosen Talent Poole as their agency.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars next year for both events!

Twin Cities Unified Theatre Auditions:  March 2013 – http://tcuta.climb.org

Twin Cities Actors Expo: March 30, 2013 – http://www.twincitiesactorexpo.com/