Friday, March 28, 2014

Tax time

All of you who read this probably know all about taxes therefore this writing is more for the beginning artist that has transitioned from hobbyist to business owner, dabbler to artist.

Hopefully you have licensed your business and display it proudly in your studio or office.  This not only tells people you are serious about your work but speaks volumes about your expectations for the future.

For those of you not familiar with a Sales tax license, if you sell anything you have to collect sales tax whether it be city or state.  Even if you are showing in an event out of state the management will come by after the event and collect the taxes or you will report your sales and mail it to them later.

Most events will even give you the paperwork in your packet prior to beginning of show in order for you to know how to calculate your sales (whether they charge 6% or 7.5% you need to calculate it in ahead of time to achieve the amount that will cover both your expenses, seed money and taxes).

I have always paid Colorado Sales tax quarterly but you don't have to if your disciplined enough to set your funds aside each time earmarked for taxes.

You should have an old fashioned receipt book (even if you use your square for credit cards) all sales should be recorded thereby collecting all patron information for your mailing list. Name, telephone number, address and even email come in handy when keeping records of sale listing, edition number and any special notes you may need in referring later to this sale.  (This is a good place to write your reminder of the 10% discount for this patron when he returns for future purchase.)

As an artist that likes to contact my patrons at later dates to remind them to check their pieces for scratches or damage this list is crucial.

Along with my receipt book data I keep a file labeled whatever year I am saving for with all receipts throughout that year.  Also I log them into a financial record book breaking down into columns (for instance office, toward edition and number, supplies, travel, and marketing.

My accountant keeps all pieces inventoried from year to  year so I am accountable and when I donate work for Cancer Society or Audubon society  allows me only to write off what it cost to create that piece (not what your selling it for.)

If these single records are kept as they occur (rather than a mad rush to write down all your receipts approaching April 15th) then come tax time you have all the information you need to transfer easily to a spreadsheet to give to your tax preparer.  All you have to do is add up your columns and supply your income.

Here is a great place to put something I have learned over the years, you must be careful claiming part of your home as your business, check with the legalities of this.  If you quit or sell the house you must pay extra for the sale of a shed (or whatever you have been using as a business write off.) Just be very informed...also there is the old dilemma of hobby versus business as far as proven income...all I can say is ask, ask, ask a qualified tax man.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Beyond words

There are mistakes that artist make that I would hope that I can pass along so that others will not make them also...I have mentioned the shelf life of molds but I failed to mention probably that along with the shelf life other issues need to be addressed.

A mold is only good for so long and you have quite an investment involved in that mold as it is your only connection with the edition you are continuing to create until it is gone.

Often artist think (or maybe it was just me) that ok, I need x amount of dollars out of this piece so I have to have at least 50 editions so I can bring the price down so my patrons can afford it.  Well, back to the shelf life of molds. If you are like most sculptors you do not have the money to cast all of an edition at once, therefore you cast as you can afford which may take over a period of time.

I have learned through the years that molds are not forever so I have shortened my edition number considerably mainly because I do not want to have my molds deteriorate before I get the entire edition poured. I have also learned as the time passes I need to be receptive to the fact that I at least need to pour waxes in order to preserve the image towards the end of the shelf life if I see deterioration or liquefying of the mold. If you are checking your molds feel the inside areas and you will detect a distinct softness or even at later stages a liquid substance. This by the way is very difficult to clean from your waxes but it is doable.

In the beginning I had no idea what was happening and would find a mold ruining and would rush to pour as many of the waxes as possible to play salvage. Now I have learned just to shorten my editions so that I am not having to pay the piper later. I store my own molds and have never found that a hot or severely cold storage area is good for molds, nothing seems to deter the aging process (slightly cool has been my best temp).

Try to remember to check your molds ever so often (twice a year) as the seasons change so that you are on top of the conditions and as everything you need to date your molds so that you are aware of just how close you are pushing the shelf life of that mold. It also varies so don't just expect a mold to last five years or eight years or two years check, check and re-check.