Music, taxes and the “$400 Myth”

It’s tax time in the US, which means it’s also the season for what I call the “$400 Myth” to start circulating in musician circles.

Here’s the myth as I hear it goes like this: “If I made less than $400 last year, I don’t have to report it on my taxes.”

Wrong. You are required to report ALL music income, regardless of how much or how little.

If you made over $400 from your musical activities, you may be subject to self-employment tax as well.

And if you made $600 or more from any one source (say, Google Adsense money or a really well-paying corporate gig), that source is legally required to send you a 1099-MISC tax form. And you can bet that they’ll be sending a copy to the IRS, too.