Marvel Comics and artist Banksy both agree: being invisible is a superpower. You’re there, but you’re not there. The same goes for being a ghostwriter, where staying hidden is a large part of the power. In fact, it’s a core part of the talent, and oftentimes is a contractual obligation.
In most circles, it’s considered unsophisticated, uncouth and uncultured — and all of the other shameful “un” words — to talk about the money you make and the way you make it. I don’t care. Let’s talk about it. As a freelancer, the matter of money involves a labyrinth of considerations, factors and variables, for which there is no universal solution that works for every writer or for every situation.
Assembly Bill 5, or AB5, ripped through the careers of California freelance journalists much like wildfires churn through the Golden State, turning trees and bushes into plumes of ash. I am one of the lucky ones, whose freelance career has been damaged, but not completely destroyed – yet.
Can you show a decrease in your journalism income because of the current pandemic? Freelance journalists nationwide including sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed (for example, S Corporation owners) might now be entitled unemployment benefits in their state. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the provisions of the unemployment program have been expanded to help provide temporary monetary relief for freelance journalists and other workers who illustrate a decrease in income resulting from the effects of the current pandemic virus on business operations.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) included several provisions that affect how independent journalists are taxed on their business income. We asked Matthew Apodaca, a certified public accountant and executive vice president at NCH Tax & Wealth Advisors in Fullerton, California, to help us understand the current tax situation for freelancers.