Sunday, October 25, 2015

Keeping Records

Last night at the St Thomas Elgin Artists' Guild Meeting the talk came around to record keeping, with several artists giving suggestions, there were lots of creative ideas-not surprising considering the group.
Out of the discussion there were a few gems some of which I'll use IE: lining up all of your show submissions and taking a picture, because sometimes after the passage of time a name might not bring the painting to mind. Some were too involved for my taste or too simplistic for my needs, but the point was, keep good records, and back them up.
I pride myself on being organized, but I rely too much on technology, a point that I've learned the hard way when a computer crashed and took all of my files with it. Luckily I printed a hard copy of my business books and forms, but I didn't create a back up file, which I've been kicking myself for.
I also lost all of my pictures. Some are on a stick but others were on a disc and my current computer won't read them. Technology changes mean I may not be able to retrieve them even though they were 'saved'.
The learning; update storage types as things change, and print the pictures and files you most cherish.
So much for my cautionary tale.
There of course is much more to this. 
Artists need to recognize that they are in fact a business. 
Most of us will never get past the hobbiest stage in the eyes of the taxman, but you need to act as if, and be prepared. 
If you do start to make a profit no matter how small, the taxman will want his share, and they can ask for all of your records dating back 7 years. If you don't have the records they can and will assume you lied and penilize you at an amount based on your current year. 
I'm not making this up or trying to scare you this is a fact and I personally know artists this has happened to. 
Even if you think you'll never make a profit, you MUST keep all business related receipts. 
Keep track of household and vehicle expenses, and how much you use them for business. 
The taxman assumes you are guilty and it is up to you to prove youself innocent. 
Talk to an accountant, or the small business centre in your area for more complete information. 
Your record keeping doesn't have to be complicated, just complete. 

Elgin county, landscape, pastoral painting, Robin Baratta
Just Down the Road, 6x6, $65.00, will be at the ST Thomas Elgin Artists' Guild Show Nov 13-14

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