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Model Behavior With Sharon Quinn: Handling Your Business, 3/01/2009
sharon quinn
Meet Sharon Quinn

As the month of March begins, so does the countdown to tax time.  That means it's time to begin organizing your paperwork from the previous fiscal year and getting them ready for your accountant and/or tax preparer.

If you are making a nice amount of "change" from modeling and find that you are filling out 1099 forms frequently, you might want to consider claiming modeling as a second income on your annual tax return.  Some of the benefits you get from doing this is being able to get a great deal of the money that you spent on your career returned to you.

Get A Good Accountant.  This is an absolute must!  If you don't know a reputable accountant ask other models and or industry folk for a reference.  If you are doing an itemized return (and you are if you are claiming modeling as a second income), you need someone who is clear and fluent in tax laws to handle your business.  Unless you are professionally trained, I do not recommend that you attempt to do this on your own. 

Put your receipts in order by category.  If you are an organized person (lol...and I am not) you probably are already categorizing your receipts.  If you are a model and/or entertainer of any sort, you should get into the habit of getting receipts FOR EVERYTHING.  Clothing, shoes, accessories, photography expenses, travel expenses, dry cleaning, cell phones, wigs & weaves, dining and entertainment, metro cards, laptops & computers, gifts that you purchase for folks in the industry, cab fare, music, stamps and mass mailings; the list of what you can claim is endless.  If you are in doubt about whether or not you should keep or toss a receipt – (I even save my grocery receipts) keep it and let your accountant tell you whether or not you can use it.

Keep track of your vouchers and check receipts.  Put your vouchers in order by voucher number and then go back and match them with your check stubs to see which invoices are still outstanding and which ones have been paid.  I had to learn this lesson the hard way when I switched from my mother agency Wilhelmina to join the board over at Karin Models.  Things were going swimmingly at my new agency for a long while, (You turned in your vouchers on a Monday and you could pick up your check on Friday!!) It was a beautiful thing.  All of that changed, however, when Karin Models decided that they no longer wanted the "image" of the plus sized model associated with their agency and promptly dropped our division, which was making them a whole lot of money. Wonder where THEY are now?  Google them and see what comes up.  The plus board was then moved to another agency, located on 8th Avenue in Manhattan and this is when things began to go awry.  While the actual move of the agency was a smooth one and the work never stopped coming in for me (I was their top plus sized moneymaker for a while) after about 6 months I realized I had been working steadily and hadn't received a single check.

I finally made an inquiry to my booker asking about the situation and I got instantly nervous when SHE looked at me incredulously when I told her I hadn't been paid.  She sat down and had a talk with the owner and he began writing me checks immediately.  The second flag went up when I realized that he was paying me in installments.  I didn't see the need for that (if the client is paying my invoice in FULL, why are you paying me in pieces?) and I realized quickly that he was "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul"; i.e. a check would come in for a model and he would use a portion of that particular model's pay to pay ANOTHER model, whose money he had already spent and then give the rest to the actual model who earned it.  Still following me?
 
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