Legalities (taxes, permits, licenses) of freelance photography in Texas?

Legalities (taxes, permits, licenses) of freelance photography in Texas?

Postby seton6 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:43 am

I'm a sophomore in college and have been told I have an exceptional talent for photography - many people want to hire me. I'm wanting to charge for my services (weddings, sweet 16s, quinceaneras, personal photo shoots, corporate, events, etc). I need to know all of the legalities.

In all reality, this is nothing more than a "hobby" but I don;t want to break the law by not paying taxes. I'm still dependent of my parents (in regards to college federal financial aid). I'll be a student for three more years.

I purchased my Canon camera last year and seek to purchase a new expensive lens soon.

Do I need any licenses, permits to operate? I only work for myself. Also, do I need separate local permits for every part of Texas I do business? I work on-site meaning I do not own a studio, nor do I plan on acquiring one. I want to keep this business as simple as possible.

This is the most confusing part. Please help me.
What forms do I need to fill out?
What is the whole "tax withholding" deal about, how would that apply to me?
I am entirely new to the whole tax world so please bare with me.

As I mentioned earlier, this is really nothing more than a hobby for me and do not plan to make a living or career out of this - I plan on going into management consulting. I need the money since I want to help pay off college and buy other essential stuff. I want to be as legit as possible and don't want to run into any IRS issues. Also, there is a big revenue potential in this business (well, at least when you're a good photographer) so I want to be as transparent and law-abiding as possible.

Please guide me through this process. I sincerely need assistance. I greatly appreciate anyone who really understand this process.Thank you so much.
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:16 am

Legalities (taxes, permits, licenses) of freelance photography in Texas?

Postby charleton » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:44 am

The best thing you can do is work with a local SCORE office. Laws and requirements vary from state to state. Go to this site and on the left side of the page where it says Find SCORE now, you can put in your zip code to find an office and contact near you. The organization exists for the very purpose of helping persons such as yourself. In most cases you will need a business license which will provide you a tax ID number. Even as a freelance, if you begin taking paying jobs, you are considered working professionally and you really need to employ the services of an accountant. Also, do not forget liability insurance. Many venues will not even let you in the door as a photographer if you cannot show proof of liability insurance. Sometimes the client hiring you will have this area covered, other times not, but you cannot risk everything to a lawsuit.

Frankly, there is no such thing as being a "little" in business or keeping it "simple". That is why so many people who seem to pop up like weeds daily thinking they can "be in the photography business" fail miserably, go broke, or get sued eventually.

So start here, and the best of luck to you!

Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:45 pm

Legalities (taxes, permits, licenses) of freelance photography in Texas?

Postby welby » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:46 am

If you make $1 per year from photography, you are a self employed business owner. You may or may not need a license in your town, but you most certainly need to register to collect sales tax. Failure to collect sales tax is a serious crime that can result in fines and even jail time.

You should look for info on how to start a business on the Texas Secretary of State's website:

This will get you started with the state. You will need to research on what you need to start locally. Usually the town clerk can provide information to you free of charge.

When you are ready, speak with an accountant about the legalities of working in multiple parts of the state. Generally speaking you only need to pay tax in the location of your office. This could be a dorm room.
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:50 pm

Return to Taxes


  • Related topics
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests