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Entries in tax time (1)

Wednesday
Mar302016

Your Art Business: Big Picture | Little Details

Tax Time

Estimated time to read this tip: 2 minutes

Are you all done with your taxes for last year? Not my favorite task but so revealing a reminder about what took place in business last year, don’t you find?

So that makes this the perfect time to reimagine your art business so that you can attend to the right details from here on. This suggestion is especially for artists new to business or planning but everyone can benefit. 

Take a minute to visualize your future. 

Perhaps you are entering your studio early in the morning with a mug of steaming coffee in your hand. As you slip across the hardwood floor to your easel, a flash of movement beyond the windows draws your gaze outside. There, in the morning’s hazy light, a deer and her fawn graze beneath a tree before making their way to the edge of the creek for their morning drink. 

Maybe you prefer to imagine yourself at an opening night reception in the trendy art district, where you receive accolades by the dozens from your delighted collectors and share a wink with the gallery owner who pastes yet another red dot next to one of your gorgeous works of art. 

Whatever your imagined future looks like, keep yours fresh. 

Now delve into the day-to-day-details.

You already know that lifestyle is only a small part of a sustainable art business.

If you can also visualize getting all of your filing done, finishing the updates to your contact list after your recent show or finding a less-expensive resource for canvases that will ship to a residential address, you’ll be a whole lot closer to achieving your dreams. 

No matter how steady your habits about your art business, it's natural that something slips through the net. I’ve found that tax time is a great reason to clean up more details in my record-keeping act so my business foundation is more ready for next year. 

If you comply with common business practices and government regulations, and make a habit of consulting professionals (such as lawyers or tax accountants) when needed, you’ll be well equipped to manage your art business and avoid the pitfalls and problems that can plague the ill-prepared. 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Trite? Yes, but it’s true. And it’s very true when it comes to business and law. Lawyers don’t do “cure” well. The whole legal system is terrible about solving problems. But business lawyers do prevention very well. A little planning can avoid problems very well. Tempting as it may be to ignore things that sound thoroughly unpleasant like business structure and regulations, spending a little time to arm yourself with information can ensure that you protect your legal rights, and that when all is said and done, that you will own what you want to own, get paid for what you want to get paid for, and keep as much money after taxes as possible.

~ Nina Yablok, business attorney

© Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training. Reprinted with permission. My Real Job is Being an Artist, p.180 – 184.

Your Art Business is More Than Numbers

The ease with which you can prepare your taxes, or reply to any request related to your art business, is a great indicator of whether or not you are ready for that bigger future. Are you?

If you want useful links sites to get your taxes done, you’ll find them in the Appendices for Section Three: The Basics of An Art Business. 


“Congratulations Aletta on a job well done! Really impressed with the thoroughness, professionalism and positive tone of your book.” 



Artist Career Training’s mission is to help you make a better living making art, and still be able to have a life.

Could you use some help making informed decisions about your art business? 

The first 15 minutes are on me. Click here to reserve your telephone time with Aletta.