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While filing taxes may not be on the top of your list, taxes for actors are unique. Here are all the tips actors need this filing season.

Tax help: Here are the top tips for actors this filing season

While filing taxes may not be on the top of your list, taxes for actors are unique and there are expenses that you can claim that most people can not. This is not something you want to let go to the wayside. Follow this guide and your actor tax return will be easy this year.

Actor income

You will report all your worldwide income on the actor tax return. That includes W-2s for any employed work, 1099s for self-employed work, and any other income you received during the tax year. You will need to file a federal tax return and potentially a state tax return – depending on the state you are living and working in.

Actor expenses

The main expenses you will have as an actor are agent and manager fees – these are all allowable. You will also be able to claim for maintaining your image – including hair, makeup, and beauty products if directly related to your work. If you need clothes for a role or auction, then these will also be allowable expenses.

Travel, accommodation, subsistence will all be fine when you are touring. You can claim travel and subsistence if you are traveling to a temporary workplace of up to 24 months. Research will include Apple TV, Netflix, Disney, and other streaming services – books and subscriptions to online sites.

Memberships to Equity, SAG AFTRA, and other professional organizations will all be allowable. If you work from home learning your lines or looking for roles, you will also be able to claim a proportion of your home costs.

Get an actor accountant to help you

If this is your first year as an actor or you need help claiming expenses and with the actor tax return forms, then you may want to hire an actor accountant to guide you through the process of what is tax deductible and to file the tax return online for you. 

A group like Bambridge Accountants is designed specifically to help actors with their financial needs, including taxes. Offering a variety of online guides and resources, these groups will help you make sure you’re filling out your paperwork properly. 

Tax filing dates 2020

The last tax year covered January 1 to December 31, 2019, due to be filed by April 15, 2020 – now extended to July 15, 2020 – any tax is due at the same time. Even with the deadline extended, you still need to make sure you’re ready to pay. 

Estimated payments with the IRS

If your tax from self-employment is $1,000 or more, you may need to make estimated tax payments with the IRS. These payments will be made quarterly in advance for the 2020 tax year and can be set against your final tax due.

If your taxable income was less than $75,000 for 2018 and 2019, you can claim for the economic impact payment, the stimulus check for $1,200. This will be paid directly into your account from the IRS.

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