Music News

Do Your Taxes Like a Rock Star

If national elections are the government's way of dicking you over every four years, Tax Day is its way of making sure you don't forget who has the biggest dick every year.

Of course, if you're a musician — especially if you're a rock star and, therefore, predisposed to civil disobedience and badass behavior — it's your moral and ethical duty to fight back any way you can. Here's a little list of tips for the rock stars out there on how to stick it to the man.

Claim a deduction, do a shot.

Deduct weekly STD tests as a (cost of doing) business expense, rather than a medical expense.

First, beg your government (say, Ireland) to contribute more aid to Africa. Second, relocate your mega-lucrative music-publishing biz (say, from Ireland) to a tax shelter (like, say, the Netherlands) to protect your songwriting royalties from pesky taxation. Third, marvel at the fact that nobody really paid attention to what your allegedly progressive band (say, U2) did.

Are you a member of a garage-rock band (therefore, most likely playing something that sounds vaguely like a bad Stripes cover band)? Calculate the percentage of your rent that your garage's square footage amounts to, add in the utilities percentage that space eats up, and then deduct it using Form 8829 — Expenses for Business Use of Your Home. With the money you get back, buy a fifth for the rest of your bad Stripes cover band and do some shots.

"Professional Society Meetings" are an acceptable expense and, therefore, a deduction. Loosely interpreted, this means a night of hard drinking with musical cohorts or partying with strippers in the very professional atmosphere of Scores while discussing your career with your manager and bandmates qualifies. Mötley Crüe almost bankrupted the IRS in the '80s with these sorts of expenses.

Can't pay? Take a page from Willie Nelson's book and give them a royalty percentage in your next album (remember Who'll Buy My Memories? [The IRS Tapes]?)

Remember that rough night you spent in Poughkeepsie? Your head was killing you and the only way to get to sleep was to pay that hooker with the limp to give you a hand job while you smoked crack from her pipe? That was a medical expense, in a manner of speaking, which kind of makes it a deduction. Do a shot.

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Cole Haddon