The Freelancers Union is hosting a seminar, Preparing Your Federal Tax Return: Form 1040 and Schedule C. I’ve been before and it was really good. It’s only $30 (or, if you’re too lazy to spend two minutes becoming a Freelancers Union member, $40).
The presenter, Howard Samuels, is fantastic. Why? Because as he goes over each topic he explains how people used to cheat the system and why the rules are the way they are now. For example, you’re allowed to take a deduction for a home office, but only if it doesn’t cause your business income to go negative. Why? Because years ago everybody had an independent business that earned $5 but lost $5,000 in home office expenses.
Not only is this interesting, it helps you understand the reasoning behind the rules, which means you are more likely to remember them, which means the whole tax figuring process is a little less confusing.
The other great thing about Howard Samuels is his attitude toward the IRS and audits: if you can defend your deductions, bring it on! Based on questions asked at this and another seminar I attended, most people seem to be timid about what they can count as an expense. Howard will tell them, as long as you are reasonable, you’ve got nothing to be afraid of.
Also, Howard has the manner and build of a football coach, and it always feels good when somebody like that is trying to help you.
So, if you run your own business (if you’re an actor, technically you might) you owe it to yourself to attend this seminar.