Ah tax time! Everyone's favorite time of the year, right? When my wife and I visit our CPA at tax time, I hear Tubular Bells from "The Exorcist" repeatedly playing throughout our meeting. Haha!
Every year at this time, I see tax questions raised in voiceover forums all over social media. VO Forums and Facebook Groups are fun, and they can be accommodating when you're in the right kind of group, but I wouldn't recommend getting tax advice from other voice talents in these groups. It doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about, but I would strongly encourage that you get all of your tax advice from a professional CPA. When it pertains to business expenses, you want to make sure you are doing the right thing and just like any forum; there will be good advice mixed in with terrible advice.
The advice you get in forums may give your CPA insight into the types of expenses you incur, but they will advise what fits your situation. There are many different variables. For example, do you work out of your home? Do you have more than one business operating out of the same space? Are you designated as an employee of your voiceover business, or are you self-employed? Most VO forums are a great place to learn more about the voiceover business, but your CPA should be the one to keep your finances in check.
The last thing anyone on earth wants is a nasty letter from the Internal Revenue Service. So when you start a voiceover business or any business, call a few CPAs in your area and work with the one who knows the entertainment business well. They will know what is considered a business expense and what isn't. In addition, they will provide guidance on creating an S-Corp or LLC for your business.
Forums are helpful but take all advice with a grain of salt. First, make sure the advice-giver has plenty of experience as a voice actor. One quick way to find out is to Google the talent giving the advice. If you can't find anything on this talent, it's a bit of a red flag.
Happy Tax Month and good luck out there!