March 1, 2018 • Newsletter
The difference between February 28 and March 1 is palpable. March 1 brings hope, sprouts of green, and sunshine. February 28 is despondent, defensive against the cold, and gray. What a difference a day can make. As you embrace the hopeful nature of the spring season, it’s worth thinking through a few things you can do to support your creative business this month.
File Your Taxes
Yes. It’s time. If you haven’t yet finished your federal and state income tax filings, do them this month. Seriously. You don’t want to wait any longer. Those who know me well know I take advantage of nonstop college basketball games during March Madness this month to spread out all my family’s documents in our living room and take a day to do our taxes. May I suggest you think about doing the same? It is one of my favorite days of the year.
While you’re completing your 2017 taxes, take a few minutes to review the changes that are coming in 2018 to figure out which ones will affect you. CERF+ offered some things to watch from yours truly, and NYFA’s #ArtistHotline Twitter Chat from February covered many of the same questions.
Plan Your 2018 Estimated Taxes
Use Form 1040-ES from the IRS or a conversation with your employer’s payroll person to estimate what you might owe in self-employment taxes from your creative practice, and plan for those payments now. While you’re at it, set a calendar reminder for the due dates (April, June, September, and next January) to stay on track.
Need a quick back-of-the-envelope way to estimate what you’ll owe? Use your business budget for the year (hint, hint) to see what you’ll earn, after paying for your business expenses, and multiply that number by 15%. This is just an “ish” calculation, but it can give you a good starting point (and sanity check) as you work through the full form.
Review Your Budget
By now you have a pretty good plan. You started with goals in January and you added numbers to those goals in February. Now, check in with your plan and see how it’s going. And don’t worry if it isn’t going well. It’s only March! There is plenty of time to remain mindful of your financial choices. Starting now. After all, putting together a plan is the hardest part. Now it’s up to you to execute it. Stay mindful, stay intentional, and stay informed about your spending.
Enjoy the optimism and the sunshine this month. Smile at others you see out and about and enjoy this season. But make sure to enjoy it while you are also enjoying the business and financial tasks that will make your creative business thrive for all the seasons to come.