Tax Deductions for Actors and Models

Tax Deductions for Models

The very first thing I want to say is, take a look at my wardrobe or at least my top, it just kind of looks like a regular kind of fleece, I’m going to save this for another blog later, I’m going to be driving in about .. or as soon as I get done with this.

I’m going to be driving about two and a half hours to audition for a TV commercial and I very specifically thought about wearing this fleece and I’ll tell you about it later, hopefully it will have made a difference and it might help me book the job but, I’ll tell you about that later, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about today.

It has to do with things that you can deduct for your taxes if you are an actor or a model. So, the very first thing I want to let you know, as you know I’m not an attorney, I can’t give you legal advice, I can’t give you tax advice, I’m not an accountant, I’m not a CPA so I’m just sharing information with you, things that I’ve heard and hopefully this will still be really helpful to you.

One of the questions that I’m asked quite often is, “what kind of things can I deduct for my taxes? What are business expenses?” and so here’s what my philosophy has always been and this is what I’ve done.

The very first thing is, I mean look, you want to sit down and talk with a tax expert, somebody who knows the entertainment industry and they can really give you all the details but, sometimes people think that if they go out and buy a pair of pants for a film that they’re going to be doing or a TV commercial or a certain shirt or a sweater or new shoes or something like that, that they can deduct it because they used it in their project and my understanding is, that cannot be a tax deduction, you cannot deduct that from your taxes.

If it is wardrobe that you can actually wear for every day usage, you cannot deduct that as a business expense. If it’s something that is really unusual, let’s say you are a performer in Las Vegas and you have this wild and crazy, glittery kind of wardrobe that you use in your performance, yeah, that can be a deduction because it is something that you would not wear when you’re doing grocery shopping or bowling or going to your kids PTA meetings. So, it has to be something that’s very unique and can only be used during a performance or for business purposes.

There are some people that I know who will deduct movie if they subscribe to companies like Netflix, they will deduct that or things like Showtime because they say, “Well look, this is my way of doing research, I need to learn and watch other actors, I want to watch how directors direct their kinds of projects in case they audition for them.”

Personally I don’t do that, only because I also just watch it for enjoyment sometimes and there will be other things that I’m watching on Netflix that really is not necessarily industry related for me while I’m watching it so, I don’t and so once again, that is a good thing to ask a somebody who prepares taxes for people.

But, the important thing to keep in mind is, you really need to find out very specifically what is a tax right off, like for instance any acting class that I take, those are tax right offs any acting or modeling book that I purchase, for me those are tax deductions. I do have some deductions for travel, if I’m travelling to New York and I’m taking a train or however I’m doing it, that’s a deduction for me.

If I have to stay overnight during a shoot and I’m not being paid, it’s not being supplied to me, that would be a tax deduction for me.

So, the important this is, there are definitely some deductions that you can take, there are some deductions I would not recommend taking and the most important thing is, find out from an expert so you don’t run into any kind of tax issues when it comes time to paying your taxes.