Let’s talk about taxes. First things first; here are some things that you should know about taxes as a webcam model. 

  • Your taxes are not automatically deducted from your payments like with a typical in-person job
  • You are considered an “independent contractor” if you operate under your social security number, this is most likely how you’ll be filing unless you decide to file for an LLC or S-Corp (United States)
  • You’ll be required to pay taxes based on your location, for example: in the US you’ll pay federal income tax no matter what state you live in, but some states don’t have income tax
  • You can write-off some work related expenses, so saving receipts for work related purchases like subscription services for making marketing materials or beauty products you wouldn’t use if you didn’t webcam are important! 
  • Most locations require you to make a quarterly estimated tax payment as an independent contractor, although typically you won’t be fined if you don’t adhere to this for your first year as an independent contractor, most places allow you to make these payments online! 

To-do list for Adult Creators with an Accountant

While sex workers tend to jokingly call themselves “accountants,” most of the time an actual accountant will help you get a better grip on your taxes, deductions, and write-offs. What should you do if you have an accountant or intend to hire one?

  • Compile an easy list of your write-offs with receipts as proof
  • Create digital scans of your 1099 forms if you will be e-mailing, or gather physical copies into an organized folder if meeting in person
  • Create a document with detailed information and earning amounts for transactions you don’t have 1099 forms for (like payment apps and cryptocurrency)
  • Make sure to communicate to your accountant if you used part of your home for your adult work, because a percentage of your rent or mortgage can be used as a write-off
  • If you did any major cosmetic surgery during the last tax year, discuss the potential of writing off a portion on your taxes
  • Calculate the cost of bills that are heavily used for adult work like phone bills, internet, electricity, etc. discuss what percentage of these should be written off on your taxes with your accountant
  • If you traveled for work, discuss it with your accountant and account things like hotels and food for tax write-offs
  • If you haven’t been making your estimated payments talk to your accountant about estimated payments, dates they should be made, and where/how to pay
  • If you owe taxes, pay them by the tax due date, if you can not make the payment talk to your accountant about an extension or applying for payment plans

To-do list for Adult Creators without an Accountant

The first thing I’d love to put on your list is to hire an accountant, especially if you’re hoping to pay as little as possible in taxes. Unfortunately, accountants do tend to be expensive, especially for a specialized high risk industry like adult. If you’ll be filing yourself whether online or mail-in, here are some to-do’s for you!

  • Add up the total of write-offs that are not percentage based (i.e. sex toys, webcam specifically for work, laptop specifically for work, prop for a custom video, etc.) by using receipts from these items, ONLY write something off if you have a receipt for it. Keep these receipts safe in case of audits!
  • Add up the total of earnings from things you didn’t receive a 1099 for (like cryptocurrency)
  • Decide if you will be writing off a portion of your home as office space for work, calculate the percentage of your mortgage or rent to be written off by the percentage of your home taken up by the office space (for example: a 250 sq ft room in a 1000 sq ft home would be 25%, if you pay $1000 a month for your home then you would write off $250 per month / $3000 for the year on your taxes.) Only do this if you have evidence the room is solely used as a home office and can verify it via walkthrough
  • Calculate the cost of bills that are heavily used for adult work like phone bills, internet, electricity and compare it to work hours to come up with a fair percentage to write off on your taxes that could be verified by work hours / usage
  • Look up standard deduction versus itemized deductions, if your write offs are less than the standard deduction then go with standard deduction for filing
  • If you have children, look into the child tax credit which could give you a deduction of up to $3600
  • If you’re in college, you can claim 20% of the first $10,000 spent on tuition and school fees with the lifetime learning credit
  • Check out this list of other popular deductions
  • Calculate how much you’ve already paid (if you were making estimated payments)
  • Consider getting a web based tool / software that will walk you through the filing process

States without Income Taxes 

If you live in one of the following states, you will only pay federal income taxes and not state income taxes. 

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire 
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Understanding Federal Taxes 

Federal taxes in the United States work in brackets that are sorted by income. When you earn income within a certain bracket you are taxed at that bracket amount and if you exceed that amount, only the money you earn within that specific bracket is taxed at that rate. The tax brackets are updated every year and you can find them online very easily. The brackets are different for single and married individuals. The rate ranges from 10%-37% and the higher you earn, the higher your potential tax bracket, but this is not a bad thing because if you are aware of your earnings and tax brackets then you can begin setting aside proper amounts if you do enter a new bracket due to higher earnings! A majority of webcam performers are in the 22%-32% range, if you live in a state with no income taxes I highly recommend starting at setting aside 25% for your taxes. If you live in a state with income tax I highly recommend setting aside 25% for federal taxes + the amount your state taxes (some states tax a flat rate while others do brackets/tiers.) 

State Tax Amounts 

While some states don’t have state income taxes, all of these do! The following states either work at a flat rate (meaning every individual residing in that state regardless of income amount is taxed at the same rate as an independent contractor) or by earning brackets or tiers, just like how federal income tax is set up. The earning brackets for tax rates vary by state, so if you are in a state with brackets you’ll want to research which bracket you will fall into to get a better idea of how much money you should be setting aside for your taxes. States with higher populations and more metropolitan areas tend to have wider brackets. 

  • Alabama: 2-5% (brackets)
  • Arizona: 2.55-2.98% (brackets) 
  • Arkansas: 2-5.5% (brackets)
  • California: 1-12.3% (brackets)
  • Colorado: 4.4% (flat rate) 
  • Connecticut: 3-6.99% (brackets)
  • DC: 4-9.75% (brackets) 
  • Georgia: 1-5.75% (brackets) 
  • Hawaii: 1.4-11% (brackets) 
  • Idaho: 1.125-6.5% (brackets)
  • Illinois: 4.95% (flat rate)
  • Indiana: 3.23% (flat rate) 
  • Iowa: 0.33-8.53% (brackets) 
  • Kansas: 3.1-5.7% (brackets)
  • Kentucky: 5% (flat rate) 
  • Louisiana: 1.85-4.25% (brackets) 
  • Maine: 5.8-7.15% (brackets)
  • Maryland: 2-5.75% (brackets) 
  • Massachusetts: 5% (flat rate) 
  • Michigan: 4.25% (flat rate) 
  • Minnesota: 5.35-9.85% (brackets) 
  • Mississippi: 0-5% (brackets) 
  • Missouri: 1.5-5.3% (brackets) 
  • Montana: 1-6.75% (brackets) 
  • Nebraska: 2.46-6.84% (brackets) 
  • New Hampshire: 5% on dividends and international income only (otherwise no state income tax) 
  • New Jersey: 1.4-10.75% (brackets)
  • New Mexico: 1.7-5.9% (brackets) 
  • New York: 4-10.9% (brackets)
  • North Carolina: 4.99% (flat rate) 
  • North Dakota: 1.1-2.9% (brackets) 
  • Ohio: 0-3.99% (brackets)
  • Oklahoma: 0.25-4.75% (brackets)
  • Oregon: 4.75-9.9% (brackets)
  • Pennsylvania: 3.07% (flat rate)
  • Rhode Island: 3.75-5.99% (brackets)
  • South Carolina: 0-7% (brackets)
  • Utah: 4.85% (flat rate) 
  • Vermont: 3.35-8.75% (brackets) 
  • Virginia: 2-5.75% (brackets)
  • West Virginina: 3-6.5% (brackets) 
  • Wisconsin: 3.54-7.65% (brackets) 

How to file my taxes as an independent contractor?

There are many ways you can file your taxes as a webcam model; you can hire a tax professional to submit your taxes for you and do all of that yucky paperwork but this can be expensive. Although the fee for hiring tax help is tax deductible so that’s a plus! You can also use self service tax programs to submit your taxes but you actually spend about the same amount you would by hiring a tax profession considering websites like TurboTax are charging sole proprietors around $500 to do their own taxes… although some alternatives like TaxSlayer cost a lot less! You can also file directly with the government yourself which is significantly more difficult because you have to do the “scary paperwork.”

Ready to get started as a webcam model or content creator?

We have a list of websites hiring webcam models with advice on how to get started and a list of websites hiring content creators!

You can also view our advice category to find more information for maintaining a successful career in the adult industry.

Enjoyed this post? Here is a bit about the author.

Aerie Saunders is an adult webcam model, content creator, and web developer with 9+ years of experience as an independent adult performer. Saunders has been nominated for multiple awards including "Best Clip Artist" in the AltPorn Awards, "Most Helpful Model" in the YNOT Cam Awards, and "Best Adult Industry Podcast" in the ASN Lifestyle Awards for her work with Webcam Startup and the Camland Podcast.

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