A forum for those burning business and legal questions that voice-over artists face everyday, like, LLC or S-Corp? What is a non-disclosure agreement and do I need to sign one?, Etc, Etc.
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  • You're welcome Ann. To answer your questions, no, you cannot deduct the value of your time, but yes, you can deduct either your actual gas and oil expenses, or .14 cents a mile, whichever you prefer. Here is an excerpt from IRS Publication 526 which spells this out in more detail.

    Table 2. Volunteers' Questions and Answers

    If you do volunteer work for a qualified organization, the following questions and answers may apply to you. All of the rules explained in this publication also apply. See, in particular, Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services.

    I do volunteer work 6 hours a week in the office of a qualified organization. The receptionist is paid $10 an hour to do the same work I do. Can I deduct $60 a week for my time?

    Answer: No, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services.

    Question: The office is 30 miles from my home. Can I deduct any of my car expenses for these trips?

    Answer: Yes, you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to
    getting to and from the place where you are a volunteer. If you do not
    want to figure your actual costs, you can deduct 14 cents for each

    Question: I volunteer as a Red Cross nurse's aide at a hospital. Can I deduct the cost of uniforms that I must wear?

    Answer: Yes, you can deduct the cost of buying and cleaning your uniforms if
    the hospital is a qualified organization, the uniforms are not suitable for
    everyday use, and you must wear them when volunteering.

    Question: I pay a babysitter to watch my children while I do volunteer work for a qualified organization. Can I deduct these costs?

    Answer: No, you cannot deduct payments for child care expenses as a
    charitable contribution, even if they are necessary so you can do
    volunteer work for a qualified organization. (If you have child care
    expenses so you can work for pay, get Publication 503, Child and
    Dependent Care Expenses.)
  • HI Rob,
    Thanks for emailing me that article. Very valuable and pertinent.
    I have another question to which you may or may not know the answer: I have been volunteering at RFB&D for over a year. Is my time and milage tax deductible? (I live in CA, if that matters.)
  • Well...that's just not right.
    Oh well.....
    Thanks Robert!
  • Hi Liz. Unfortunately it is legal. It's akin to American Idol not allowing people over 30 from auditioning for their show. I suppose if a female over 40 insisted on auditioning, they would be compelled to let them, but that certainly does not obligate them to hire them. To me, this lacks a fundamental knowledge of our industry because as we all know, it's not how old you are, but how old you SOUND that matters!
  • Hey Robert,
    Bettye Zoller just posted the folloing on FaceBook:

    "A local firm, Funamation, recently forbid females over forty to audition for cartoon voice work. Ageism lives."

    Question: Is that even LEGAL?

    Just wondering!


  • You're welcome, and good to hear, Tammy! Sometimes you have to go directly to the client to stir the pot.
  • Thanks Robert! Although I don't like the answer (harummph), I'm extremely grateful for the insight! :) As it turns out, I instituted the ol' "okay thanks, I'll contact the client directly" tactic and lo and behold a check arrived in my mailbox just a few days later. Thanks so much for providing such valuable insight from your perfectly unique perspective. Tammy
  • Hi Tammy. You may be out of luck in that you may have to file your small claim in Seattle and go there to prosecute the case. Unless the production company has some contacts with California, you won't be able to pull them in to the State to sue them. The Labor Dept will not be able to help you unless you were to be paid as an employee.
  • Rob,

    Just read your thread on LLC or Scorp...Thank you, thank you, thank you for the information. As a newbie (i.e. not making any $$$ yet) I was struggling with paying a lawyer to set up a corp for me. I will stay a sole prop for a little while longer and then convert. I now understand the importance of converting...thank you!
  • Hi there! Apologies if a question like this has been asked and answered. I was informed by a client today, a Seattle production company, that they will not be paying me for the voice work I did for a regional TV spot after all (I've been chasing them for over 120 days), since the client has not paid them. I am located in Los Angeles. Where should I file collections or small claims or the complaint with the labor department? WA or CA? I haven't decided what action to take yet. Thanks! Tammy
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