taxes for creatives
Creative Careers Video Podcast

Taxes for Creatives

The Taxes for Creatives webinar by Elaine Luttrull provides an overview of the tax landscape in 2018. The webinar introduces tax deductible topics in the creative industry for businesses and independent contractors. Tax returns are covered from the point of view of contractors who may not see themselves as a business or entity, with Luttrull noting that creatives who take their work seriously will keep financial records attached to their expenses and income. She outlines that there are differences between seeing your artwork as a hobby versus as a business and makes explicit how the IRS views businesses that may not always show a profit. Luttrull also makes it clear that financial records related to your business need to be clearly linked to a non-W-2 financial source in order to be deductible.

Next, she clearly notes how to “bifurcate” assets in terms of expenses, using the example of a computer and time spent on it for business to outline how to properly deduct items as a business expense. Other items applicable for creatives to deduct as a business expense include supplies and materials used in the creative process. She also guides artists through professionally documenting loss and damages related to one’s business. Costs related to research are also covered in this presentation, as are studio space/home office and office expenses. Travel expenses can be tracked as deductible for business purposes, and Luttrull explains best practices in this category. The differences in new tax law related to business meals and entertainment are also clearly stated in this webinar. Professional guilds and other membership costs are also clearly outlined as deductible expenses. Costs related to depreciation are also covered in this presentation. Luttrull also covers questions related to specific webinar attendees’ concerns.


Elaine Lutrell: Through Minerva Financial Arts, a company she founded in 2009, she works to build financial literacy in creative individuals and organizations through education and coaching. Her work focuses on empowerment above all else, connecting financial decisions with creative goals. She serves just over 1,000 people per year through workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions, and her goal is to make all creative individuals both financially empowered and creatively free. Luttrull serves on the board of directors for the Short North Alliance, Social Ventures, and the Financial Therapy Association. She is a member of the AICPA and the Ohio Society of CPAs, where she has volunteered for FETCH, a program that brings practical financial education to children in Central Ohio’s under-served public schools.

Until June 2011, Elaine served as the Director of Financial Analysis for The Juilliard School where her work included accounting for the investment of the endowment, managing the tax-exempt bond issuance, budgeting at both the organizational level and for specific grant proposals and special initiatives, completing entity-level tax returns, and modeling complex financial hypotheses. Previously, she worked for Ernst & Young in its Tax and Transaction Advisory Services practice in New York from 2003 through 2007.)


About the author

Grace Cho

With over 25 years of experience in the financial services, media and entertainment, and private equity industries, Grace has transformed global business units at GE Capital, NBCU, and Nielsen. Skilled at taking conceptual initiatives and turning them into $100 million businesses, Grace founded startup Artrepreneur to assist independent, working artists in building their own creative empires. In between leading a team of creatives and strategic development of art industry partnerships, Grace can be found cooking for friends or dabbing a paintbrush.

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