Forums > Model Colloquy > Modeling and taxes - some guidance

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Whenever discussions arise about what models can deduct on their federal income tax returns in the United States, a few things always pop up that are not true, in general. I would like to address those things here because it irritates me to see harmful information passed on to people with little knowledge of taxes, etc.

Do not add your own “advice, information, or guidance” unless you have the literature and cases to back it up. Just because you do it on your taxes, doesn’t mean it’s right, or that it applies to anyone but yourself.

Please Note: Consult your local CPA for guidance on your situation. All cases are different. You and your CPA is ultimately responsible for what ends up on your tax return (you cannot claim ignorance). The below information is a general statement. This is not tax advice on your specific case. You could have facts or circumstances that warrant different treatment. I am merely presenting some literature as it stands and a few supporting cases to hinder the flow of harmful information.

****************************************************

Assuming you are operating with profit motives rather than as a hobby (which limits deductions to income received, see bottom of this post for more discussion on this)….

In General.
You cannot deduct the cost of clothing purchased for modeling. You can deduct the cost of theatrical costumes such as those worn by Vegas Show Girls. Creating a separate wardrobe room in your house and keeping your clothing separate just moves it from one location to another: by NOT adding it to your regular wardrobe you are not eliminating the fact that you COULD add it to your regular wardrobe. – Note: a male photographer could make an argument for deducting wardrobe purchased for his studio to be worn by female models (and vice versa for female photographers/male models), but this thread is for models buying clothing for themselves. Photographer expenses are for a different discussion.

You cannot deduct the cost of health spa visits, gym fees, haircuts, or your makeup. These are inherently personal expenses and are not deductible even if required for your job. There are rare occasions where gym fees are deductible for such professions as world wrestling or for medicinal purposes. Paying a makeup artist to do your makeup is different because you could argue that you are paying for his/her service to DO your makeup, rather than buying makeup and keeping it in your bathroom for personal use at another time.

You cannot deduct the cost of cosmetic surgery (see code section below).


http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529/

Health Spa Expenses
You cannot deduct health spa expenses, even if there is a job requirement to stay in excellent physical condition, such as might be required of a law enforcement officer

Work Clothes and Uniforms
You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met.
- You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
- The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.

It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing.

Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.).

Musicians and entertainers can deduct the cost of theatrical clothing and accessories that are not suitable for everyday wear.

Case: Rick Richards, et ux., TC Memo 1999-163

As before, we initially must decide whether Mrs. Richards' actress-model activity was engaged in for profit. Upon reviewing the entire record, we conclude that during 1994, Mrs. Richards was engaged in the actress-model activity with the requisite profit objective.

4. Actress-Model Expenses
Expenses for the Academy Players Directory, agent fees, photo session, and duplicate photos are all ordinary and necessary expenses of an actress-model activity. Petitioners submitted documentation to show that they incurred these expenses in 1994, and, therefore, we find that petitioners are entitled to deductions of $60, $262, $267, and $231, respectively for these expenses.

Petitioners claimed a deduction of $960 for miscellaneous expenses for hair and wig preparation, cosmetics, clothing, alterations, cleaning, supplies, fur coat storage, gifts, supplies, and meals. Petitioners did not offer any documentation or testimony on the breakdown of how much was spent on each item. Furthermore, some of these expenses are not deductible business expenses. 6 Therefore, without any help from the record, we cannot determine the [pg. 99-1006] amounts of any of these expenses, and petitioners are not entitled to a deduction of $960 for miscellaneous expenses.

For the remainder of the expenses, must- see movies of $480 and telephone expenses of $326, 7 we hold that they are not deductible expenses for the same reasons explained under Mr. Richards' writing activity.

It is well settled that clothing that is suitable for general or personal wear does not qualify as a business expense under sec. 162. See, e.g., Green v. Commissioner,  T.C. Memo. 1989-599 [¶89,599 PH Memo TC]. Such costs are not deductible even when it has been shown that the particular clothes would not have been purchased but for the employment. See Stiner v. United States,  524 F.2d 640 [36 AFTR 2d 75-6217] (10th Cir. 1975); Donnelly v. Commissioner,  262 F.2d 411 [3 AFTR 2d 481] (2d Cir. 1959), affg.  28 T.C. 1278 (1957). Furthermore, expenses related to hair salon visits and cosmetics are inherently personal expenses under sec. 262.

Case: STINER v. U.S., 36 AFTR 2d 75-6217, (CA10), 10/15/1975

Stewardess denied deduction for cost of accessories to uniform. Her shoes, boots, gloves, handbag and cosmetics weren't unusual and she could put them to ordinary use.

The general rule for cosmetic surgery, as stated in the Internal Revenue Code

IRC Sec. 213(d)(9)(A) for medical and dental expenses states that "Medical expenses" does not include cosmetic surgery, which is defined in 213(d)(9)(B) as any procedure which is directed at improving the patient's appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease.

****************************************************
Q. Ok so how do I determine if my modeling is a hobby or a for-profit endeavor?
A. See this page on the IRS website for some questions to ask yourself http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=186056,00.html

Q. So explain to me again, why does it matter if it's a hobby or for-profit endeavor?

A. See the page above, IRC Sec 183 limits the deductions you can take to income received. So you cannot take hobby losses. Example: You make $2,000 and have $3,000 of deductions which is a loss of $1,000. If you are modeling as a hobby then you cannot take that $1,000 loss, you will only break even at $0.

Q. Do you have some helpful tips to make sure I can prove to the IRS that I am carrying my modeling on with a for-profit motive?

A. A few things are good for documenting for-profit motive but consult with your local CPA for a more detailed discussion:
- Get comp cards and/or business cards
- Create a home office
- Make a modeling website
- Get signed to an agency
Note, these won't guarantee proof they are just good ideas to help you out.

Mar 31 08 02:54 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 37306

San Francisco, California, US

Great post, let's bump it so that it gets the attention it deserves.

Mar 31 08 07:09 pm Link

Model

Viktoria

Posts: 9795

Bethpage, New York, US

great post Jessalyn!

Mar 31 08 07:28 pm Link

Photographer

Eduardo Frances

Posts: 3227

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

ba-da-bump

Mar 31 08 07:30 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Alan from Aavian Prod wrote:
Great post, let's bump it so that it gets the attention it deserves.

Thank you to Alan for the great message on California cases. I wont post it here because it would only confuse people but it was an interesting read to see the variety in districts smile

Mar 31 08 08:33 pm Link

Model

JESSICA CLAIRE

Posts: 866

Ventura, California, US

THANKS JESSALYN!

Mar 31 08 08:39 pm Link

Model

Cynthia Leigh

Posts: 799

New Orleans, Louisiana, US

I'd suggest keeping any paystubs from work as well.  I've filled as "performing artist" for the past few years because I've had to report income with some companies.  ($600+ from one source=1099)

Mar 31 08 10:30 pm Link

Model

Emily Alsdorf

Posts: 430

Augusta, Georgia, US

WOW.

Mar 31 08 10:32 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Emily Hammond wrote:
WOW.

Confused? Not sure what "wow" means.

Mar 31 08 10:36 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Bump to first page. Since taxes are due April 15.

Apr 01 08 04:07 pm Link

Model

Anna Catherine

Posts: 573

Brugge, West Flanders, Belgium

This is wonderful. Thank you!

Apr 01 08 06:03 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Anna Catherine wrote:
This is wonderful. Thank you!

Thank YOU for reading smile

Apr 01 08 09:01 pm Link

Model

D M M

Posts: 7905

New York, New York, US

Beautiful AND smart. smile

Great post.

Apr 01 08 09:04 pm Link

Model

Seth Mitchell

Posts: 1457

Long Beach, California, US

Thanks Jessalyn smile

Apr 02 08 12:22 am Link

Model

Rachel D

Posts: 240

Los Angeles, California, US

thank you so much I am always telling models that I am friends that they can not deduct clothing unless it is a costume and some think that I do not know what I am talking about so now they know:) thank you:) thank you:) thank you:)

And this is why I have a tax guy to do all this stuff for me:) it is a lot to remember and organize smile

Rachel

Apr 02 08 01:53 pm Link

Model

Andrea Leigh

Posts: 181

Washington, District of Columbia, US

My tax guy lets me claim travel - if it was not reimbursed by a client. (i.e. travel to a paying photoshoot or promo job.)

I know there were a few other things related that he allowed me to claim.

I don't even bother to ask about clothing, that's silly. There is no 'model uniform' in a legal sense.


Great post, thanks for the insight!

Apr 02 08 04:06 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Lippitt

Posts: 3266

Pontiac, Michigan, US

Jessalyn wrote:
Whenever discussions arise about what models can deduct on their federal income tax returns in the United States, a few things always pop up that are not true, in general. I would like to address those things here because it irritates me to see harmful information passed on to people with little knowledge of taxes, etc.

Do not add your own “advice, information, or guidance” unless you have the literature and cases to back it up. Just because you do it on your taxes, doesn’t mean it’s right, or that it applies to anyone but yourself.

Please Note: Consult your local CPA for guidance on your situation. All cases are different. The below information is a general statement. This is not tax advice on your specific case. You could have facts or circumstances that warrant different treatment. I am merely presenting some literature as it stands and a few supporting cases to hinder the flow of harmful information.

****************************************************

Assuming you are operating with profit motives rather than as a hobby (which limits deductions to income received)….

In General.
You cannot deduct the cost of clothing purchased for modeling. You can deduct the cost of theatrical costumes such as those worn by Vegas Show Girls. Creating a separate wardrobe room in your house and keeping your clothing separate just moves it from one location to another: by NOT adding it to your regular wardrobe you are not eliminating the fact that you COULD add it to your regular wardrobe. – Note: a male photographer could make an argument for deducting wardrobe purchased for his studio to be worn by female models (and vice versa for female photographers/male models), but this thread is for models buying clothing for themselves. Photographer expenses are for a different discussion.

You cannot deduct the cost of health spa visits, gym fees, haircuts, or your makeup. These are inherently personal expenses and are not deductible even if required for your job. There are rare occasions where gym fees are deductible for such professions as world wrestling or for medicinal purposes. Paying a makeup artist to do your makeup is different because you could argue that you are paying for his/her service to DO your makeup, rather than buying makeup and keeping it in your bathroom for personal use at another time.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529/

Health Spa Expenses
You cannot deduct health spa expenses, even if there is a job requirement to stay in excellent physical condition, such as might be required of a law enforcement officer

Work Clothes and Uniforms
You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met.
- You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
- The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.

It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing.

Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.).

Musicians and entertainers can deduct the cost of theatrical clothing and accessories that are not suitable for everyday wear.

Case: Rick Richards, et ux., TC Memo 1999-163

As before, we initially must decide whether Mrs. Richards' actress-model activity was engaged in for profit. Upon reviewing the entire record, we conclude that during 1994, Mrs. Richards was engaged in the actress-model activity with the requisite profit objective.

4. Actress-Model Expenses
Expenses for the Academy Players Directory, agent fees, photo session, and duplicate photos are all ordinary and necessary expenses of an actress-model activity. Petitioners submitted documentation to show that they incurred these expenses in 1994, and, therefore, we find that petitioners are entitled to deductions of $60, $262, $267, and $231, respectively for these expenses.

Petitioners claimed a deduction of $960 for miscellaneous expenses for hair and wig preparation, cosmetics, clothing, alterations, cleaning, supplies, fur coat storage, gifts, supplies, and meals. Petitioners did not offer any documentation or testimony on the breakdown of how much was spent on each item. Furthermore, some of these expenses are not deductible business expenses. 6 Therefore, without any help from the record, we cannot determine the [pg. 99-1006] amounts of any of these expenses, and petitioners are not entitled to a deduction of $960 for miscellaneous expenses.

For the remainder of the expenses, must- see movies of $480 and telephone expenses of $326, 7 we hold that they are not deductible expenses for the same reasons explained under Mr. Richards' writing activity.

It is well settled that clothing that is suitable for general or personal wear does not qualify as a business expense under sec. 162. See, e.g., Green v. Commissioner,  T.C. Memo. 1989-599 [¶89,599 PH Memo TC]. Such costs are not deductible even when it has been shown that the particular clothes would not have been purchased but for the employment. See Stiner v. United States,  524 F.2d 640 [36 AFTR 2d 75-6217] (10th Cir. 1975); Donnelly v. Commissioner,  262 F.2d 411 [3 AFTR 2d 481] (2d Cir. 1959), affg.  28 T.C. 1278 (1957). Furthermore, expenses related to hair salon visits and cosmetics are inherently personal expenses under sec. 262.

Case: STINER v. U.S., 36 AFTR 2d 75-6217, (CA10), 10/15/1975

pffft.  you're blonde and a model.  how could you possibly know any of this...

wink

Apr 02 08 04:18 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Lippitt

Posts: 3266

Pontiac, Michigan, US

Rachel D wrote:
thank you so much I am always telling models that I am friends that they can not deduct clothing unless it is a costume and some think that I do not know what I am talking about so now they know:) thank you:) thank you:) thank you:)

And this is why I have a tax guy to do all this stuff for me:) it is a lot to remember and organize smile

Rachel
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/joekoz451/SAIF/SAIFBANNER.jpg

ugh. Rachel, please stop spamming.

Apr 02 08 04:19 pm Link

Photographer

MS Graphix

Posts: 25

Denver, Colorado, US

This is the most intelligent and informative post I have seen on this website.  Well done.

Apr 02 08 04:28 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

I'm going to assume this model has been deducting clothes and is probably pissed off to find out she may have been wrong. But I went ahead and posted my "credentials" anyway. In case anyone cared other than her.

Apr 02 08 04:38 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Dan Lippitt wrote:
pffft.  you're blonde and a model.  how could you possibly know any of this...

wink

big_smile

Apr 02 08 04:40 pm Link

Model

Lory

Posts: 3751

SYLMAR, California, US

bumpity... more people should read this stuff!

Apr 02 08 05:39 pm Link

Model

Susie B

Posts: 4260

Santa Fe, New Mexico, US

Jessalyn wrote:
I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

I'm going to assume this model has been deducting clothes and is probably pissed off to find out she may have been wrong. But I went ahead and posted my "credentials" anyway. In case anyone cared other than her.

You ROCK!!!!! Early Congrats!!!!!!!

Apr 02 08 05:45 pm Link

Photographer

Kansas Photo

Posts: 122

Jessalyn wrote:
I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

I'm going to assume this model has been deducting clothes and is probably pissed off to find out she may have been wrong. But I went ahead and posted my "credentials" anyway. In case anyone cared other than her.

Yeah but you attend Kstate, that has to work against you does'nt it?

Sorry, I don't have a yellow smiley face. smile

edit, I guess I do.

Apr 02 08 05:46 pm Link

Model

Sahar Khadjenoury

Posts: 509

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

Thank you for posting this. I have been wondering about what i could deduct. This was great!

Apr 02 08 05:47 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Lippitt

Posts: 3266

Pontiac, Michigan, US

Jessalyn wrote:
I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

I'm going to assume this model has been deducting clothes and is probably pissed off to find out she may have been wrong. But I went ahead and posted my "credentials" anyway. In case anyone cared other than her.

Jessalyn, you know i don't speak spanish...

Apr 02 08 05:47 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Kansas Photo wrote:

Yeah but you attend Kstate, that has to work against you does'nt it?

Sorry, I don't have a yellow smiley face. smile

edit, I guess I do.

Why would attending Kstate work against me? There's a joke somewhere in here I'm not getting....I suspect.

(If this is sports related: you're joking with the wrong person. I hate sports.)

Apr 02 08 05:55 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Dan Lippitt wrote:

Jessalyn, you know i don't speak spanish...

With all the reading you do from all those leather bound books I was sure one of them was "How to Speak Spanish".

tongue

Apr 02 08 05:56 pm Link

Photographer

Kansas Photo

Posts: 122

Jessalyn wrote:

Why would attending Kstate work against me? There's a joke somewhere in here I'm not getting....I suspect.

(If this is sports related: you're joking with the wrong person. I hate sports.)

Actually, I was being facetious, Kstate is my favorite state school even though I went to school at McPherson. And yes, I'm a lifelong Kansan.

Apr 02 08 05:59 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Kansas Photo wrote:

Actually, I was being facetious, Kstate is my favorite state school even though I went to school at McPherson. And yes, I'm a lifelong Kansan.

K, well I already got 1 sports related KSU/KU joke today so I was expecting this was another smile

Apr 02 08 06:00 pm Link

Photographer

Kansas Photo

Posts: 122

Jessalyn wrote:

K, well I already got 1 sports related KSU/KU joke today so I was expecting this was another smile

Nope, not big on the sports either. I'll end the hijack here by saying I do appreciate you giving out this advice even though it is your busy season.

Apr 02 08 06:03 pm Link

Artist/Painter

ernst tischler

Posts: 15598

Houston, Texas, US

Jessalyn wrote:
I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

I'm going to assume this model has been deducting clothes and is probably pissed off to find out she may have been wrong. But I went ahead and posted my "credentials" anyway. In case anyone cared other than her.

Amen

Apr 02 08 08:47 pm Link

Model

Seth Mitchell

Posts: 1457

Long Beach, California, US

Jessalyn wrote:
I got a nasty message from a model who thinks I'm wrong, asking what my credentials are. So I will answer here:

I have 123 out of 126 credit hours completed for my B.S. in Accounting. I'm in the last 3 credit hours currently. My B.S. will be complete in May, with a 3.9 GPA assuming I get an A in my last class. I am currently studying to take the C.P.A. exam. I worked as an assistant tax accountant for 3 years for a small local C.P.A., I interned full time last summer for one of the 10 largest C.P.A. firms in the country, I will work there again full time this summer, and I begin full time (permanently) as a Tax Associate in January 2009 at that same company.

Do you bake in the nude?

Oh, please, please, please...say YES  smile

Apr 02 08 09:07 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Seth wrote:

Do you bake in the nude?

Oh, please, please, please...say YES  smile

Just in my underwear. I also clean in my underwear.

Apr 02 08 09:13 pm Link

Model

Seth Mitchell

Posts: 1457

Long Beach, California, US

Jessalyn wrote:

Just in my underwear. I also clean in my underwear.

I am going to buy some flowers and box of chocolates.  I'll be right over smile

Apr 02 08 09:17 pm Link

Model

Jessalyn

Posts: 21433

Denver, Colorado, US

Seth wrote:

I am going to buy some flowers and box of chocolates.  I'll be right over smile

lol. Make sure to bring some for my mom too, I'm staying with her right now since I hate my roommate and can't live with him anymore.

Apr 02 08 09:19 pm Link

Model

Seth Mitchell

Posts: 1457

Long Beach, California, US

Bumper Cars smile

Apr 02 08 11:46 pm Link

Model

AuRevoirMM

Posts: 4

This post is perfect timing, as I am about to file taxes for the first time as a model. One quick question...Can you file the expenses of hair and upkeep if you wear extensions because that is your "look" that you need to have, as told by your agency?

Apr 03 08 08:11 am Link

Model

pretty pleads

Posts: 4868

Colorado Springs, Colorado, US

awesome
thanks jessalynn smile

Apr 03 08 10:49 am Link

Model

Ashley Graham

Posts: 26800

Los Angeles, California, US

Jessalynn you never cease to amaze. Not only are you an amazing model but also quite smart I could never do accounting Props to you and thanks for this

Apr 03 08 10:50 am Link