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A wedding video contract without a business license?

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Kago Ai
A wedding video contract without a business license?
on Jun 9, 2016 at 12:28:19 am

A couple who wants me to shoot their wedding video wants to have a wedding video contract. I am a young videographer who is testing the waters, and I have just done just a few cash-deal craigslist jobs that didn't require a contract or a business license. I don't think of getting a business license yet since what I make as videographer is very little. Also, I work perhaps one time a month or two. My question is, is it ok to sign a contract with them even though I don't have a business license? Also, how do I report my earnings to the government when I am operating without a business license? I would greatly appreciate your advice.

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Greg Ball
Re: A wedding video contract without a business license?
on Jun 9, 2016 at 7:36:37 pm

You don't need a license to report your earnings. But you should ALWAYS have a contract that includes everything you're providing. For example, location(s), length of time you'll be there. Meals, parking fees. What you are delivering to them.

Have them initial each page and sign the last page. Also, get a deposit up front and final payment should always be due before you deliver the final video to them. Include that in your agreement.

Even a Craigs list cash deal should have a contract. Even if you hand write it.

You should mention in your agreement that you are not licensed, so the customer can acknowledge that, just in case they want to dispute something. You should check with a lawyer.

You should report your earnings to the government, since that's legally what's required.

Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

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Mark Suszko
Re: A wedding video contract without a business license?
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:51:25 pm

Greg's advice is good: take it.

Regarding how you report the income, IANAA, I seem to recall that below a certain amount, if your income is below the poverty line, or you're a teen just starting out flipping burgers, I think you don't have to, but you should, anyhow, since the burger outfit will file for it and you'll get W-2's. Among your options is to file 1040 long form with Schedule A, ( also known as slow torture method 1) and you could report it as "other income" in addition to whatever work you get W2's for.

If you consider yourself self-employed, then you need to look up how to file the SE version of the IRS1040 for that, and beware, because Uncle expects you to estimate your total projected take for the year, in advance, then make quarterly advance payments based on that estimate. If you made less than the estimate, you'll get a big refund. Make more than the estimate, you need to pay extra at the end of the year. But you don't get to enjoy the money until after tax filing. Miss the quarterly payments, however, and you get big penalties.

Big. Penalties.

I once got bit that way, and mistakenly reported the extra income as "other income" when it should have been quarterly payments. Cleaning up the mess using a pro accountant and making the penalty payments with all the rest of my profits from that venture, got me out of trouble, but not making the quarterlies cost me a lot of money that I'd rather have spent on many other things. Like that Sisyphean attempt to save enough dough to get to Hawaii for a few weeks before I croak.

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