Getting It Done...

Getting It Done...

Hello, Bonjour,

A special welcome to new members who've signed up recently - we're glad to have you join and hope find community and inspiration here. Bienvenue!

So... here we are in the last week of April, ready to shake off the last of the winter chill and prepare for spring. It actually hit 20 degrees Celsius today and I felt hopeful as I did some stretching out on my deck. May is just around the corner...

Before we leap into a new month, most of us - those of us in Canada in any case - have a deadline to meet: April 30th, tax filing!

As I've been wrapping up the last of my tax preparation, I've been reflecting on what it is about taxes that creates such anxiety and fear. This is an area where I've been pretty good at helping others while letting my own paperwork fall behind. And this year, I promised myself that I would switch gears, and approach admin and taxes differently.

Here are some thoughts:


  • Admin is part of the job! Some of you may remember the "stickperson" that I've used in training to describe an artist career (See the training on How To Build a Solid Team for full explanation). We spend a lot of time creating our art, delivering our services, and communicating - leaving little time left for the "admin" tasks (bookkeeping, taxes, legal, grant-writing, report-writing, etc.) I've been putting aside a half day a week for admin and that's helped me stay on top of the paperwork...



  • There are cool free tools out there! I cannot recommend WAVE enough! It's online accounting software that will help you issue invoices in less than a minute, track GST if you charge it and generate reports. You can scan receipts when you're on the road. Pull in info from your bank statements.. having all of your accounting information in one place makes tax time much easier!


  • Training is helpful. For Canadians, Manitoba Music offered a tax webinar February Fundamentals | The Big Break: Taxes for Musicians which is still available online. :-)

    And tomorrow (Wednesday at lunch time) there is a FREE session offered on YouTube by Folk Alliance International called "Tax Time Cometh". While FAI tends to be USA-focused, there might be some interesting tips that Canadian artists can take inspiration from and find parallels for their taxes, just as American artists can take from Manitoba Music's session!


  • Attitude has a lot to do with how painful or pain-free the process is. I've always been a little surprised about how much complaining there is here in Manitoba about taxes...

    When I lived in France where global taxation is higher, I almost never heard people moan about it. It was just a given that if we wanted to live in a society with health care, education, safety and social programming, we all had to contribute. And as long as there was a degree of fairness in the system, most people could accept it. I was inspired years ago by a client who told me of the pride he felt when he had first written a $100,000 cheque for taxes because he felt he had succeeded beyond his family's hopes and could contribute to his country!

    Now, obviously, for taxation to work, it has to be fair and there's a lot that isn't fair. I do struggle at how people below poverty level are expected to pay taxes while incomes in Manitoba at $50K and $500K a year are taxed at similar provincial rates, and while billionaires aren't taxed at all! We definitely need some tax reform - fairer systems and more effective government. But until then, acknowledging that paying taxes is a privilege can help take the sting away and stop the procrastination that comes with resistance!


  • Remember that in Canada, we have civil servants. (In France, they are "fonctionnaires" or functionaries!.. different word, different attitude!) CRA is there to work FOR us, not against us! You can call with questions. And if ever you find yourself with a huge tax bill, don't worry! They will work with you to find a payment plan that doesn't cripple you. So many people fear being audited and as someone who has been audited more than once (both personally and with my business),I can assure you that as much as it takes up time, it's not ill-intentioned.


  • Moving forward, here's a tip I came across that has helped me better budget for taxes: when you quote your fee for a gig, first calculate what you would like to choose and then add a 20%-30% on top of that for future taxes to get to a more price. If your gig fees are too tight, then take a bigger chunk out of royalty cheques for example. When I receive payment, I now transfer a percentage of it to a separate bank account for taxes, CPP, and income tax deductions. It helps when there are more regular revenues - and as touring reopens, that'll help. But even socking a little aside every payment can help trying to scramble to pay a tax bill down the line!

Otherwise, when it comes to actual tax advice - income and deductions - I'd just as soon leave that to an expert. If you need more than an online service like Turbo Tax, I can recommend Joe Bartok of the Its the Real Deal Inc. They work for musicians and artists and are fairly priced (all information is on their website. Let them know I've sent you along. :-) I'm hoping that we'll be able to get them to join us for a session on accounting, so that you're in great shape for next year...

For now, I encourage to give it your best shot! In time, you will come to see tax time as a chance to take stock and tell your story - look at where you earned and spent, and how you can improve both revenues and expenses in the years ahead. It may not be as much fun as performing on stage or writing a song, but it can be a liberating, meaningful way of acknowledging our contribution(s).


xo Nat


Nathalie Kleinschmit

Article by Nathalie Kleinschmit

Published 27 Apr 2021