Gather Year-End Tax Info NOW
To Save Time & Maybe Some Money
December 11, 2014
By Bobbin Beam
Oh my! Time for year-end tax planning, again. Tax planning in early December has become as much a tradition in my life as celebrating the holidays.
Yes, April 15 next year seems so far away ... BUT you can do things right now to possibly ease your tax burden and definitely save yourself time in the process.
START WITH GOOD RECORDS
First, if you’re a full-time voice actor, I trust that you:
And you have a good CPA on your business management team, right? If not, get one, especially if you own real estate and stocks, vehicles or have anything complicated to report. They are worth it!
If you're not yet using accounting software, consider starting fresh with 2015.
WHAT TO FIGURE NOW
My goal at this time of year is to obtain a pretty clear picture of what the final tax situation will be when we file later, by April 15. I’ll send this year’s data to my CPA to crunch the numbers and let him advise what I can do before December 31 to avoid paying more income tax than I legally am obligated to pay.
Here's the info to compile now:
1. Estimate gross household income by year’s end (pretty easy to figure at this point by looking at any receivables and adding them to gross earnings). List gross income by individual household member.
2. List interest income from banks, CD’s, etc.
3. Attach a Profit & Loss Statement (Schedule C) for your voice over business, separate from your family household expenses. Schedule C is the heart of your business return, on which you itemize business expenses. Click for what is deductible, right here from the horse’s lips, the IRS.
Be sure to include the pro rata percentage amount of "rent” or mortgage payment for your studio space. For example, for me, the studio and office comprise 18% of our total living space. In addition I’ll consider 18% of all shared household expenses with respect to gas and electric, trash, phone, internet, TV, and cleaning.
If you own your home, take a percentage of property taxes, as well. And if you drive to your studio or someone else’s, be sure to list total mileage!
4. Form 4562 is where you list your capital assets, such as computers, microphones, preamps, sound booth, etc.,which cost $500 or more.
These go on to a depreciation schedule. List date purchased and cost. If you happen to sell some of that equipment, you’ll need to list date sold or disposed of to establish the cash basis.
WAIT ... THERE'S MORE
Additionally, if you pay estimated taxes, list how much you've already paid in estimated state and federal taxes, for a conservative estimate. Your CPA may tell you to send another payment to the state before year’s end.
If you own stocks, is it time to sell some and take a loss for under-performers?
If you have an IRA, you may be able to offset some tax liability by making a contribution.
Please note! This information is by no means meant to be comprehensive or professional tax guidance. Your individual situation may vary. Please talk to a professional.
Plan now to save yourself time and maybe some money!
Bobbin Beam has worked professionally behind the microphone since she was 18. She has been a full time voice actress for 20+ years, following a number of years in FM rock radio from Milwaukee to San Diego. Her career dreams hatched upon the living room stage at the age of four, performing "Snow White” for her family. Before age 12, Bobbin formed an acting troupe with neighborhood kids, and wrote, directed and produced plays in the family barn. Bobbin has now returned to Wisconsin, where her career began, yet her voice is heard all over the world. When not recording, she’s a blogger, learner, cook and volunteer. She also loves singing, swimming, kayaking, reading, writing, cycling, hiking, yoga and life.
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