Most people know me as a writer / actor / man about town, but every Spring I moonlight as a tax preparer for the self-employed. A lifelong relationship with the tax collector is an occupational hazard for artists and it would be a great benefit if schools were bestowing upon their students a rudimentary understanding of how it all works; since they’re not, allow me to briefly fill in the gaps.
Most artists end up owing money and the reason is simple: those with regular employment are taxed at source, meaning that things like income tax and pension plan contributions are taken off their paycheques. Artists, though, are considered contractual employees and are often paid in lump sums. They must pay their income tax and pension plan contributions at the end of the year.