“Keeping me Safe”

Now that I’m finally making some money, I was quickly told by my accountant that I needed to form a company, and that she needed to be my manager for 5% of my income. I know lots of people who do this. They don’t want to bother with all the nonsense in navigating that the byzantine CA tax system. I was also told that regardless of whether I agreed to the 5%, the fees would add up to about that much. The accountant told me that she would “Protect me” and “Keep me Safe,” and that I should stick with the things I’m good at, and she would handle the rest.

So, I found a new accountant. My guess is that her fee will add up to about .5%. What sucked was having to form the company on my own, apply to the WGA on my own, open the bank accounts, contact the tax people, open payroll, navigate payroll, open a retirement account, navigate that, too. It’s going to be a long process with more crap to come. It’s the opposite of what I’m good at.

But what I can say for sure, is that if I turned my agency over to my accountant, I’d have felt much, much worse. From whom, exactly, do I need protection? I’m not cheating anybody. It’s my money. I like to know how it works and where it goes. Did she mean she’d save me 5%, to earn her keep? I don’t think so. I gather I’ll wind-up with about the same tax return, regardless of the person who prepares it.

For a bit, I wondered if this happened because I’m a woman. It’s assumed I can’t take care of myself. But most of the male filmmakers I know have this 5% money manager deal, so it’s not that.

I’ll find out if I made a mistake down the road, but for now it feels like shopping on Madison Avenue verses shopping at the mall. And I’m okay not being seen on Madison Avenue.






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