Cam Model Tax Guide
This guide is designed for cam models residing in the United States.
Tax season can be a very stressful time for cam models. One thing that some new models don’t consider is that they need to pay taxes on everything they earn while on cam. Since you’re working as an independent contractor for these sites, they don’t take out any taxes from your paychecks like a normal job would. Because of this, you’re responsible for putting aside money every month so that you have it come tax season.
I definitely recommend using tax software. There are plenty of options out there that are affordable. Using software and doing your own taxes will prevent the embarrassment of having to talk to someone in person about what it is you do for a living and the strange things you’re writing off. So unless you’re fine with explaining what exactly it is that you do, it’s best to file yourself. 😛
If you made over $600, the main form that you’re gonna be filling out is the 1040. You can easily find a copy of this form in the software you’re using or online with a quick Google search. Unless you’ve branded yourself and actually filed for a business license, there’s no reason to put your stage name or anything like that on your tax forms. Instead you file as an individual and use your social security number and real name. The form is fairly simple to figure out until you get to about the middle of the first page. At this point, you’ll need to list your “business income” and attach Schedule C. Schedule C is where stuff really starts to get complicated. This is the form that you can put your write offs on.
There are many guides on the internet that say you can write off all kinds of crazy things as a cam model. The truth of the matter is that you can only write off things that you bought to use specifically for your job. And even then, there are many restrictions. Having too many write offs is a huge red flag and will get your audited. Even if you get away with it for a couple years, it will eventually come back to bite you in the ass and you may have to pay back taxes for the stuff you originally got away with. Dildos and lingerie are not legitimate write offs according to US law. Don’t even bother trying. Many cam models will also try to write off their “home office”. This includes their rent/mortgage, computer, and even their internet. But remember what I said earlier? You can only write off things that you bought to use specifically for your job. So unless you only live in your house or apartment while you’re working, if you only use your computer for work and not for browsing the internet, and if you only use your internet connection while you’re working and not for personal use at all, these are not business expenses. That means they cannot be written off. Don’t risk getting audited over stuff like this. Like I said, you will get caught.
Besides items that you use for work, you can also write off travel expenses. But again, keep in mind that you can only write off expenses if they were used for work. So if you go on a trip to visit another model to shoot content with, that can be a write off. Or if you go somewhere to shoot your own content, you can write that off as well. If you do get audited, you need to keep every single receipt from your trip. This includes air fare, car rental, gas, hotel, photographer expenses, etc.
For the average cam model, the last form that you should have to fill out is the Schedule SE, or the Self-Employment Tax form. This will let you know how much self-employment tax you owe. Once put into your original 1040, you’ll be able to finish filling that form out and determine your total tax amount. Oh, and don’t forget about your state tax form. You still need to fill that out as well. As long as you only lived in one state over the past year, the form is pretty self explanatory and easy to fill out.