Actor's Taxes

(click on a question to see the answer)

Was the personal exemption raised in 2015?

Yes. The personal exemption was raised to $4,000.

Where do I deduct my union dues?

Union dues are deducted on Schedule A, ''Itemized Deductions." Don't forget to also include any initiation fees and the 2-1/4% working assessment (if you worked through AEA).

What is the difference between a Child Tax Credit and a Child Care Credit?

These are two great tax reducers. The Child Tax Credit is a reduction of $1000 off of your tax liability for each child under age 17. The Child Care Credit is a reduction of your tax liability based on a percentage of the amount you paid in 2015 for child care (pre-schools, etc.) With both credits, certain limitations may apply.

I just went to a great photographer for new 8xl0s. That's deductible, isn't it?

Of course. Also, don't forget the costs of duplications, postage, mailers and resumes.

What was the standard mileage allowance if I used my own car for business in 2015?

The standard mileage allowance in 2015 was raised to 57.5¢/mile.

What kind of documentation is required for my charitable donations?

A cancelled check or receipt from the charity is proof of donations under $250. Any amount over that requires a written acknowledgement from the organization. If you donate an automobile, valued at over $500, you must obtain the acknowledgment on Form 1098-C and attach it to your tax return.

Now that health insurance is mandatory, how do I reflect that on my tax return?

Since 2014, you are required to have minimum health insurance coverage through an employer plan, a government plan or other plan such as purchased through the Marketplace (aka Obamacare.) If you do not have basic coverage, you could be subject to a penalty. The penalty will be assessed unless you qualify for one of nine exemptions. You can find these exemptions listed on the IRS website ( and search Affordable care Act.

You will receive Form 1095-A to report your health insurance premium payments purchased through the Marketplace. If you received health insurance from your employer or through the government, you will receive Form 1095-B or 1095-C. Also, if you qualify for an exemption from health insurance, you will use Form 8965 to report the exemption.

Finally, if you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace, you may be entitled to the Premium Tax Credit. This credit depends on your household income and other factors. Check out Form 8962 to see if you qualify for this credit.

Are health insurance premiums deductible?

Health insurance premiums are deductible as a medical expense if you itemize deductions (using Schedule A). As with all other medical deductions, for most people they are limited only to the amount that exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income. If, however, you are self-employed, you can deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums.

I have a day job to pay the bills between acting gigs. How much of the expense going to and from work is deductible?

That is called commuting and commuting is NOT deductible. You can, however, deduct the cost of travel in seeking employment (i.e., auditions, go- sees, agent meetings, etc.)

I collected unemployment in 2015. Do I have to pay taxes on that income?

Yes, every dollar of unemployment compensation is taxable on the Federal return and also on some State returns.

I just bought a conservative suit so I can audition for successful business types. It's deductible isn't it?

Unfortunately, no. Clothes that you can wear every day (street wear) are not deductible even if you wouldn't ordinarily wear them.

I just made my $5,500 contribution to my Roth IRA. Where do I deduct it on the tax form?

Careful! Contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible. They are, however, tax free upon distribution (as long as you are at least 59-1/2 years-old and waited to withdraw the funds for at least five years after the contribution.)

Am I allowed to contribute more that $5,500 to my IRA?

You may contribute up to $6,500 if you are age 50 or older.

What is the basic standard deduction for a person under age 65?

$6,300. (Married, filing a joint return; $12,600.)

How much do I have to earn before my employer no longer needs to withhold FICA (Social Security)?

For 2015, all earnings through wages and self-employment above $118,500 are NOT subject to FICA withholdings. If you worked for more than one employer in 2015 and Social Security taxes of more than $7,347.00 were withheld from your wages, the excess may be claimed as a credit in the "Payments" section of form 1040 on line 71.