Thursday, March 31, 2011

He Wants to Avoid Paying Taxes for Band

Dear Rich: I just purchased your book online called "Music Law: How to Run Your Band's Business." I Paid For Rush Order As I Need Advice Before Friday And Not Sure My Book Will Arrive On Time So I Took The Chance Of Writing To You With Fingers Crossed You Read This And May Have An Answer For Me. My Husband Is A Professional Musician And Tours A Few Times A Year. When He Is Home He Just Plays Gigs Around Town In Different Bands And Plays At Church Every Week. He Does Not Have A Trademarked Or Serious Band Or Anything Like That Himself. He Usually Just Plays With Other Bands When He Gets Off Tour And They Pay Him By Check. They Give Him A 1099 At The End Of The Year If He Makes Over $600 With Them. My Husband Is Set Up As A "Section C" For His Taxes. My Husband Has Never Booked A Band And Does Not Really Know Anything About Signing Band Contracts For Club/Venues. A Club Just Approached Him To Play And Put A New Band Together For His Club. My Husband Is Supposed To Go To The Club On Friday And Sign A Contract. They Want Him To Play At The Club About 2 Times A Month. The Pay Is $800 Per Band And They Only Pay By Check To The Person Who Signs The Contract. I Am Very Nervous About My Husband Signing And What He Is Opening Himself Up To In Relation To Taxes At The End Of The Year. If He Signs The Contract He Will Be Responsible For The Entire Band Taxes For That Year-Correct? (If They Play 2 X Month For 1 Year That Will Be $19,200 Total Band Taxable Income.......$3,840 Per Individual Band Member). How Can He Book Gigs And Protect Himself And Not Get Stuck With Paying All The Taxes For The Entire Band And What Are His Options? Since you're in a hurry and we're in a hurry, we didn't bother to uncapitalize your question but we are curious about this grammatical aberration. Not to be rude, but what's up? If using all caps in email is like shouting, is this less than shouting but still intended to convey a sense of urgency? Curious as many are, but FYI, it makes it a bit tiring to read.
Right, you had a question (and you're in a hurry). Your husband should take the gig and take the payment. You won't have any problem with your taxes because your husband can deduct all of the payments he makes to the other band members (on his Schedule C). After that, he would only have to pay taxes on the remainder (which should be his payment). If he pays the other individual musicians more than $600 in a year, he must issue 1099s. That's not hard to do (we've done it ourselves and you can even automate the process online).  The Music Law book explains all this and you'll have plenty of time to read it before tax time.