Modeling & Taxes (for parents of models under 18)

This post is not intended to replace or be used as professional tax advice. I am in no way a tax professional, nor do I claim to be an expert. The point of this post is to provide basic information to those that are concerned about how taxes and modeling go hand-in-hand. If you have any questions or concerns about your particular tax situation in relation to modeling, please contact your CPA or other trusted tax professional. If there is anything in this post that is inaccurate or wrong, please let me know and I will correct it asap. Additionally, the subject of modeling and taxes discussed in my posts deal with the United States only so if you live outside of the U.S. this topic may not be of any relevance to you.

So the good news for underage models (that means if you are under 18 years of age), is that the whole tax issue will be your parents’ responsibility. That means that you parents out there have another additional item to remember to include when tax time comes around.

If your child is a model—this includes baby, child and teen models—then chances are your child will be making some income from their modeling gigs. All money they make during their modeling career must be reported to the IRS for each tax season that your child is working in the industry. As an independent contractor, your child will receive his/her own tax forms in the mail. That means when tax season rolls around, you can expect to deal with two forms: the W-9 and the 1099 tax form.

In order for your child’s modeling agency or your child’s clients (if you freelance) to accurately prepare their tax documents and send you a 1099, a W-9 must be completed by you on behalf of your child. When you fill out the W-9 form you will need to provide your name, your child’s name, address and the EIC (Employer Identification Number). In this case, the EIC would typically be your child’s social security number. You’ll usually be asked to fill out the W-9 form when your child first begins modeling. Parents of freelance child models may or may not be asked to fill out a W-9 from each client they work with. That particular situation is a difficult one to explain—as it varies from client to client and the amount of money paid—so your best bet is to address this occurrence with your tax advisor.

Next, you’ll receive a 1099 tax form from your child’s modeling agency in the mail when the tax season starts. If your child is a freelance model, then you will receive 1099 tax forms from clients they have done paid work for, which may result in getting more than one. Of course the process is much easier if your child has an agent because then you only have one tax form to account for. The 1099 form basically states the amount of money your child has been paid for the tax year.

When you get ready to file your taxes do not forget to include the 1099 form for your child. Neglecting to do so may lead to an audit and penalties later on down the line.

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