While you may have already picked a name for your new offspring, you also get to make a choice that you can't do with human babies: you get to choose its sex. In irs lingo, that's called the "tax status." And, thanks to creative legislators, you don't have only two to choose from, you now have three! The traditional C-corp, which is what most people are familiar with; the s-corp, which is used for "Small" businesses owned by one person (or a small set of people and the llclimited liability company, which is kind of a hybrid between an "S" corporation and. Let's get into each of these as briefly as possible. (I know, you're getting woozy.) The "C" Corporation we'll start with the c-corp, because non-business people are most familiar with this one making it easier to establish the concepts. Most companies you know are c-corps: coke, gillette, mcDonalds, att, microsoft, and even Enron. even Enron?" you ask! I point this out because, although it is bankrupt, it hasn't changed its corporate status.) Briefly, in the c-corp, the company makes money and pays tax on it, less expenses it pays.
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Anyone, doing any kind of business, can be a sole Proprietor, including bookkeepers, construction contractors, writing videographers, journalists, independent cooks, contractors, or web designers. One can even form a partnership with one or more people and still maintain Sole Proprietorship status on his personal tax returns. However, such relationships are better managed through another vehicle, the limited liability corporation, which is discussed later. The sole Proprietor method is preferred mostly because it has the lowest administrative overhead, and the tax filings are not much different procedurally from how individuals normally do them. If your photography business is profitable, or if you don't plan on selling the business in the future, this may be the simplest form of business. There are caveats (listed later but if you are willing to live with them, and don't need the added protection of a corporation, then this may be your best option. Corporations: Three choices When you form a corporation, you assume a new paradigm for how you run your business. In essence, you have given birth to a new entity, at least in the irs's eyes. While they won't send you any congratulatory cards, your new child will be given a new social security number, otherwise known as the corporate tax. This is your hint that this new business is going to have a virtual life of its own.
Important note here: The first mistake people make is thinking that there is a single "correct" way to establish your business type or file tax returns, and there isn't. There are many ways to do this correctlywhich method you choose should be the proposal one that is most advantageous to you based on your particular circumstances. Some people are better off incorporating because of personal details, not because one way is "better" or even "correct." Those details may involve how you financed your company, whether you have an angry ex-spouse, or if you want to prevent your evil step-children from inheriting. Unmarried hobbyists who spend most of their time in caves may do just fine filing as an individual using a schedule. There are pros and cons to each choice. Lastly, the type of business entity you choose has legal and tax consequences, as will be discussed. Let me re-emphasize that there is no "correct" way, so you should not follow the advice of single-solution individuals who may say "all photographers should be sole-proprietors." Regardless of whatever decision you make, you will get in trouble if you don't know exactly why you've. Accordingly, when you're done with this, if you still have questions for your tax preparer, you should not be asking "what" you should do, but instead, ask, "what are the advantages of choosing method x over method Y?" Sole Proprietor Most freelance photographers typically consider.
I will cover many of them here, but you are encouraged to do additional research, since there are state-by-state laws that you may need to know. A great resource for more information (which include necessary forms for filing a corporate papers and tax election status see books on Incorporating, published by nolo Press ( m ). All that said, you are certainly allowed to treat your photo hobby like a business and still not actually form a business entity. For example, if you're selling prints on ebay, then you can do this in your spare time and just file a schedule c with your normal tax returns. (This is the form that declares "other" income.) If you sell something fuller that requires "sales tax you may need to do a few things with your state's local franchise tax board. But these don't necessarily require you to "start a business." Deciding your Business Type Assuming you are not going to be a fulltime employee of another company, and you are going to start your own business, pay taxes, pay yourself, and be responsible for the. Here, you have several choices: a sole Proprietor or one of the various types of a corporation.
Are you a "Pro or just a hobbyist? Regardless of what you claim to be, the irs and other legal entities use different metrics to determine whether you're a bona fide business, or just an enthusiastic hobbyist, or possibly even a criminal trying to evade taxes by masquerading as a professional for the. So, the first decision you need to make is, which one of these are you? The main risk with having a photography business is having the irs determine that it is really just a hobby. That is, many people spend a lot of money on photography, call it a business, and offset expenses against their otherwise taxable income. So, if you're losing money in your photo business, you have a lot more to worry about than just the fact that you have less. The irs might want to come and take more in the form of penalties, back taxes and interest on the taxes you should have been paying against your other income. Yes, you may be stunned to learn that there are actually people out there, living it up on vacations and fancy dinners, not really taking pictures, but writing off all those costs as "business expenses" (wink, wink!). This all serves as another reminder that forming a business requires a concerted and intentional effort to take it seriously, and while that may be vague and/or ambiguous at times, especially in the beginning, the business is perceived to be more legitimate when you follow.
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If you're going to deduct your car and its expenses, you need to log mileage when you drive on business-related activities to demonstrate a correlation between expense activity and income activity. Filing the right tax returns, and doing them properly. When you collect your receipts for the year, and total up your income, pdf you need to summarize all this to the irs. Depending on the type of business you have, you attach an appropriate schedule to your personal tax returns. Many photographers consider themselves "sole proprietors which requires filing a "Schedule C" along with tax returns. This does not change your tax obligations in any broker wayyou still pay taxes on income (and deduct expenses).
It's just that this formality separates your business dealings from your personal ones. Consider Incorporating you might consider incorporating your business to further establish it as a separate entity. This is the most secure way of protecting yourself from the irs ruling your activities as a hobby, though it's not foolproof (since cheaters are known to use this method as well). Incorporation involves more paperwork and other administration overhead, but there are many other benefits to incorporation, which may include tax savings and legal protections. So, there's a tradeoff, and although incorporating is not for everyone, it's worth looking into if you feel strongly about aggressively pursuing your business. So, myths aside, let's start the discussion with some preliminary framework.
Assuming you're not a criminal, the greatest concern you should have about the irs is that it determines that you only have a hobby, not a business. Difficult as it may be to believe, there are those who spend a lot of money on photography, call it a business, and use their expenses as deductions against other income. There's nothing wrong with having a photography business while you have other income, the irs just wants to make sure you're not lying about your motives and inappropriately deducting expenses that are not business-related. After all, people gain extra income selling stuff on ebay all the time, even photos, and many of them do not have businesses. Whether or not the irs thinks you really just have a hobby (where you aren't allowed to deduct expenses is by both specific and ambiguous means. In general, the irs looks for the following: Receipts.
This almost goes without saying, but it's important to know that it's not just having receipts that matter. They look for patterns of behavior. Are you consistent in what you deduct? Are you thorough in your accounting? Is there a consistent correlation between the kind of things you deduct and the kind of income you declare? For example, if you're deducting expenses associated with trips to hawaii, but your "photo-related income" is only from wedding assignments in your home town of Tulsa, oklahoma, the irs might send some people over to ask you a few questions. Separate personal and business expenses and activities. Again, it's all about patterns of behavior. Car receipts are always what people hate (and the irs loves).
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Volumes have been written on the subject, and it's beyond the scope of presentation this book. However, where i can be of service is to help you understand the principles behind these aspects of the business in order to clear up common misunderstandings and put you on the right track for talking to your accountant. On the bright side, this isn't all london that hard. Running a business is sort of like riding a bike: once you learn, you wonder what the fuss was about. De-, myth -ifying the Photo business, first things first: despite many internet rumors, you do not need a permit or license of any kind to qualify as a "professional photographer." Selling photographs or photography services requires nothing more than your desire to. The only thing that really matters is how you intend to have your income and expenses affect your tax returns. And that's where the irs comes. The agency has only one interest: whether you are properly paying (or not paying) your taxes. Irs and other legal entities use certain metrics to determine whether you're a bona fide business, or just an enthusiastic hobbyist, or possibly even a criminal trying to evade taxes.
Your business is unique, and your business plan should be too. That's why business Plan Pro asks you a few simple questions wallpaper and then creates an outline for your particular business for you. If you're not 100 satisfied, you have 60 days to let us know and we'll refund your money, no questions asked. All you have to do is send us an email. Learn more about Business Plan Pro ». Click to recommend this page: Introduction, however you envision your future in photography, if you're going to make money at it, you're likely to start your own business. That's right, you're going to be an independent entrepreneur, where you set your own hours, are your own boss, and watch tv late into the night as you clip your toenails. And if you thought that was fun, just wait, because now comes the fun part: doing your taxes, writing contracts, collecting money from clients, paying your bills, and dealing with attorneys (yours and others). The good news is that I'm not going to get into any of that here.
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