Guide to getting and playing better gigs


   

Band Business

     
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Not enough bands realize that their band is a business. Some band members may be familiar with business practices, but most are not.

The very first thing a band should do is get a business licence from the county they live in. A business licence is also called a "fictitious name certificate". What this certificate does is tells the world that X,Y & Z are doing business using the name "The Band" and where their business address is located. The procedure for obtaining a licence is through the County Court. They will require an application and a small fee. Generally, another legal requirement is that you publish your application in a newspaper for 3 weeks. Most newspapers do this in their legal classified sections. The newspaper will publish your licence and it will read something like this: "LEGAL NOTICE: X,Y & Z are doing business as "The Band" with principle place of business at 123 High St. Anytown." The newspaper will take care of the rest and you'll soon receive your business licence. The main reason you need this licence is to open a cheque account in the band's name.

The next thing you should do is get a tax ID number for the band although very few bands pay taxes on what they earn. I am not sanctioning not paying, but this is the procedure for doing it the legal (and correct) way. You can obtain the necessary form from your local tax office. Once you have a tax number, you should keep track of all the income the band earns. More importantly, you should keep track of all the band's expenses. This includes everything from promotion costs (flyers, 8x10's, etc.) to equipment (guitars, amps, PA's, etc.) to tour expenses (petrol, meals, etc.). All of these are tax deductions. Taxes can be complicated so you may want to see an accountant. Don't worry, even the accountant's charge is deductible, as is a lawyer's incidentally. The Inland Revenue also puts out a great, though lengthy, tax guide. When requesting your form, also request "Tax Guide for Small Businesses." Anything you ever wanted to know, or not know, is contained in this guide.

It's also recommended that bands consider taking out insurance. You can buy insurance for anything. For example, sports teams often take insurance out on their star's physical ability. Consider insuring your equipment. If it gets stolen or damaged, the proper insurance policy may go a long way toward getting the band playing again. Also make sure whoever drives the band has car insurance. Once again, insurance is deductible as a business expense.

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