When it comes to tax time, Uncle Sam is rarely ever patient. He wants his share of your earnings and he wants it on time so it’s important to make sure you get your taxes done right and on deadline. No matter how long you’ve been dancing for, you likely have a few unanswered questions about your taxes, so here’s some tips to help you out. Keep in mind, this isn’t a substitute for seeing an account or other professional but it will help you understand your responsibilities more.
#1 Are you an employee or an independent contractor?
Were you hired by the Woonsocket strip club, or are you an independent contractor? Self-employment and traditional employment might seem similar, but they are two very different things when it comes to filing a tax return. If you are an employee, the club deducts taxes from your check. If you are self-employed, you are responsible for your own employment tax and may also need to make quarterly payments to the government.
#2 Keep Receipts
Grab a folder, cabinet, old shoebox, or whatever you happen to find around your house and dedicate it to the storage of your old receipts. You don’t have to save your receipt every time that you go grocery shopping or grab drinks with friends, but some of your other receipts might come in handy when you’re filling out your taxes. More on that later.
#3 Make Regular Deposits
Rumor has it that the IRS loves auditing self-employed folks, so if you’re paid in cash and don’t like to leave behind much of a paper trail, it’s time to get over that. Make it your goal to deposit a similar amount of money once every week or two, even if you make a bit more some weeks. This will help you figure out your average earnings at the gentleman’s club, and it also comes in handy if you want to get a loan for a car or a house.
#4 Be Honest
All of the RI Dolls are gorgeous and talented, so it’s no secret that many of them make a decent amount of cash each year. You might think that the IRS has no way of finding out exactly how much you’re making as one of the Rhode Island Dolls, but that’s not true. If a jealous ex or drama-starting family member decides to contact the IRS and accuse you of tax fraud, you could be in for a major nightmare. Be as honest as you can, and keep a daily journal so you can keep track of your actual earnings.
Did you know that you can claim the cost of stripper gear on your tax return? The IRS lets you itemize a wide array of expenses at the end of each year, but you have to be able to prove that you only use the items at work. One former stripper made national news awhile back when she won a court case stating that she had the right to claim her breast implants at tax time, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’ve had some enhancements done. It is best to discuss unique deductions with an accountant, though, as tax laws change each year. If you plan to itemize at tax time, make sure that you have receipts that verify you really purchased the items.
#6 Invest in Your Future
Do you have a 401K plan or make contributions to something similar? This will give you a nice tax break when you claim your income as an exotic dancer for the Rhode Island Dolls. You can also lower your taxable income by purchasing health insurance for yourself and your dependents. Speaking of dependents, don’t forget to claim any expenses that you paid for childcare. That’s another deduction that might decrease the amount that you owe the government.
Do your clients ever surprise you with nice gifts? Some of these presents may impact your taxes. Check the current tax laws to learn whether you need to claim your gifts at tax time. Examples of gifts that you may need to claim include homes, vehicles, and stocks.
#8 Don’t Forget to File
Working as a dancer for the RI Dolls is a blast, but it doesn’t excuse you from your annual tax obligations. Make sure that you file a tax return every year with honest answers about your earnings, because it’s hard to strip when you’re stuck in a jail cell. Your clients and the fellow dancers would miss you, so file your taxes before the deadline and don’t be afraid to ask an accountant for help if you need it.