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Thursday, March 5, 2015

11 SIMPLE STEPS FOR WHEN IT COMES TO TAX TIME FOR BRITS IN LA


BRITS IN LA AND TAX TIME

So if your new to LA, you have probably heard how we all have to file our own taxes here. It's true I'm afraid, even if you are employed full time. I just wanted to share a few things with you that might help you get prepared. 



When you start any job unless it's freelance, you will fill out a form called a W-4 form. On this sheet it will ask you about how many dependents you are claiming etc... there is usually a chart on the back that will guide you through this, but basically the less dependents you claim, the more taxes will be taking out of your pay check and the less you will owe come tax time. And vice-versa, the most dependents you can claim, I believe is 9. which means they won't take a lot of taxes out at the time, however you will owe a lot more when it comes to filing.



1) Copy your receipts with your phone on this free app,  Receipt catcher I like this because you can categorize them on the go. Keeping a clear receipt will prove valuable if ever you are ever audited, which I have been and trust me it's no fun. Also write on the back of your receipt what the purchase was for i.e. Parking  for audition, Lunch with agent, Postage for headshot mail out, etc... (This will help you remember when it comes time to log your reports. (see video below for explanation)



2) Every month gather your receipts and spend half a day balancing your books. I find trying to use my credit card/ debit card for most purchases helps me be more organized.

3) There is also a great website and called mint.com that links up to your bank accounts and credit cards, that helps you budget money, but also categorizes your spending monthly.

4) Keep a mileage log book - You can't claim mileage from your home to your first work destination - But from their to your next destination you can.

5) In January you will be receiving reports called W-2 forms from your employers, pretty easy if you have only one employer, but if you have multiple payroll companies, it can be hard to keep track, make sure you keep them all in one place and safe as you will need them all when it comes to filing your taxes. It is your responsibility to gather them all, so if you have moved or haven't received one from an employer... It's up to you to chase them.



6) If you have done any freelance work through out the year , you will  receive a form called a 1099. This will be a report of earnings where taxes have not been taken out. This is where it's important to hold on to your receipts related to those freelance jobs.  It should be noted that if you work freelance in the City of Los Angeles, you need to register for a business license. It's a pain but will save you large fines in the long run. go to http://finance.lacity.org/ to register.



7) Filing. There are a number of ways to do this. You can do it by downloading all the forms at irs.gov or by using software like Turbotax which easily guides you through through the process. Or if you are like me, because it's a little more complicated and time consuming you can hire a tax accountant, to prepare and file for you. This costs anywhere from $150 to $250 to depending on how many states you are filing in. Bear in mind that the cost of your Tax accountant is considered a a legitimate business expense, so there for you can write it off. (Make sure whomever you go with is licensed.) You will have to file both California State taxes and Federal Taxes. 2 different sets, or maybe more if you earned money in a different state. You will Have to file in that state too. 



8) Your tax filing is usually due on April 15th of every year. If you feel you don't have everything ready in time, you can always file for an extension. This will give you up till Oct to file, bare in mind that you will encounter penalties if you end up owing the government money, so try to get it done by April if you can.

9) Once you have filled out the forms, you will know whether you owe the IRS money or whether you are entitled to a refund. Personally it always makes me happy come May time to get a little money back to help pay for my summer holidays. ;-)

10) If you have also earned money out of the country this also has to be declared around filing time with a form called the F-BAR. (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) You can land in a lot of hot water if you don't file this. Don't forget to file your taxes in that country also. I find it best to consult a UK tax accountant too.


11) If you find you are not in the states around tax time, don't forget to pay or file as it may prove problematic when you attempt to enter the US in the future. You can do this remotely using one of US tax websites like Turbotax.

---- I hope this information was helpful, My advice is not gospel and it's always best to consult a specialist and rules are always changing. So please don't take my word for it. Please feel free to contact me with any mistakes or any additions. Thanks.

-- Craig Young


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MEET A MEMBER - PIPPA HINCHLEY




Meet Pippa Hinchley From London who moved to LA 6 years ago to pursue acting and screenwriting


Tell us a little history about you?
I have been an actor since my teens with lots of TV, theatre and a few film credits, but most people remember me as superbitch Elaine Fenwick in Corrie  - if they remember me at all, that is.
I became a screenwriter more recently, did an MA at LCC in London, then writing for the hit teen C5 drama Sophia's Diary and had my short Breaking Out  selected for competition in Cannes - which was nice. 

LA inspired my very silly live and web sketch show Live!Sex!Girls!  which has featured several BLA funny women.
It has also led to a first foray into feature producing with my film LONDON 7/7 - a multi stranded ensemble piece set on the day of the London bombings and which will commemorate the 10 year anniversary. 
I have a great team on board this very Brit project - CD Jane Deitch, up and coming Brit director Rebekah Fortune, and I am co-producing with fellow BLA Elizabeth Arends and Nevision in the UK who produced all the Ruth Rendell mysteries - so all pretty exciting. 
We are raising funds right now  - Any of you BLA's still paying UK taxes do visit the website if you have a mind to, there is a fabulous tax break for investors.  (And of course we would love to hear from ANY interested peeps - ) 
I'm also collecting personal stories for the end of the film - if you were there, have a memory or story from that day - or just simply where you were when you heard the news, we would love you to share it on the LONDON 7/7 Facebook page.

Despite this being a UK based film I have found that the contacts made here in the last few years and the 'can do' attitude of LALA has helped tremendously. That conversation you had semi-sloshed in a bar 3 years ago is NEVER wasted!

 


Was there a particular reason you chose LA ?
I don't speak Hindi so Bollywood was a no-go. 

What do you hope to achieve by living in Los Angeles?
More writing, more produced credits and a decent tan. 


What one thing do you miss from home?
My mates. 

What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus the UK?
That the 'business we call show' is EVERYWHERE. The plumber just pitched his screenplay to me. 
Oh and the weather. Don't we all love the weather?

Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
I just moved to Topanga Canyon. It's beautiful, serene and full of fascinating, crusty old hippies. Lovely. 

Things British Ex-Pats Miss Most From Home


A clue; it's not the cold.

On a recent trip home to the UK I started becoming nostalgic and satisfying my craving for all things British. so I started a picture journal of my top ten things. I'm sure I've missed a lot off, feel free add more of what you miss in the comments section below.


1. Family. Even better when it's in a pub over a few lovely cold frothy pints. 



 2. Fish and Chips from a proper chippy. This greasy stable comfort food smothered in salt and vinegar is a craving LA just can't seem to get right.



Yes those are mushy peas too. yum!

3. Trashy Tabloid Newspapers
where else in the world can you get catchy headlines like these?


Yes that is another perfect pint on the table, in another pub.

4. Public Transportation 
Buses, taxi and and trains. Reliable fast and for the most part comfortable.

Yes still Chavtastic, no conductors anymore to tell the kids to take their feet off the chairs.


Two strategic placed telephone boxes to keep the homeless warm. Come on who steps foot in them anymore, really?


Mind the gap and on time.

5. Sweets & Chocolate


Minstrels are just delicious hard shell candy with soft milk chocolate inside and the latter are called rhubarb and custard hard boiled sweets. Hard to find but delicious.

6. Tasteful Graffiti Art.

These are street installations by an up and coming artist called Mehdi. Repped by Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch


7. Good style. 
I don't know if it's because of the cold we are able to wear more layers in the UK. But There are more reasons for us to pull of a really good tailored suit and a fantastic pair of shoes, that can stand getting wet.


8. A good haircut.

I stumbled upon a great barbers in London called man made, in St.George's street. Where I had a great haircut and shave, and most importantly great advice on how to manage my new Barnet, by a barber that was very well groomed himself.

9. Theatre: whether it's the west end or the young Vic. London really does have the best choice. I was lucky to see three very different but all brilliant plays. "Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-time." "Assassins" and Mike Bartlett's "Bull."



10. Walking

Whether it's markets, cobbled streets, running for the last bus. In the UK we tend to walk a lot. Sometimes out of necessity or sometimes for enjoyment. In LA we have to "hike" stroll up to the hollywood sign, also because we are in our cars so much. 

You can see more images from my most recent trip by visiting my Instagram @craigyoung26 and the hashtag #thingsbritsmissabouthome

Cheers

Craig













Monday, March 2, 2015

Brits On Stage

(and a few Irish ones!) 



SWERVEDRIVER
The Roxy
March 5th
Enter to win a pair of tickets here

CELTIC FAIRE
Fairplex, Pomona
March 7th
Goldstar have tix available for $10

EC TWINS
Create 
March 13th
Tickets here

URIAH HEEP/BLUE OYSTER CULT
Saban Theatre
March 14th
Tickets on Goldstar Here


Glamour Kills 

Spring Break '15
featuring Set It Off 

Sunday, March 15th
Constellation Room, Santa Ana, CA

SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO
(DJ Set)

Sound Night club
March 19th
Tickets Here 

THE STRANDS
Witzend
March 21st
Tickets Here

GANG OF FOUR
El Rey Theatre
March 24th
Tickets Here
Goldenvoice Ticket Giveaway
Click here to enter

BEANS ON TOAST
The Mint

March 25th
Tickets Here

THE MUSIC OF DAVID LYNCH
Ace Hotel

April 1st

JESSIE WARE
The Wiltern

April 8th
Tickets Here

HOZIER
The Chelsea (Las Vegas)

April 9th
Tickets Here

FLEETWOOD MAC
The Forum 

April 10th - Tickets Here 
April 14th - Tickets Here

COACHELLA
April 10-12
April 17 -19
Tickets Here 

ROYAL BLOOD
The Fonda

April 13th
Tickets Here

FKA TWIGS
The Belasco

April 14th
Tickets Here

SIMON AMSTELL
Largo 

April 20th
Tickets Here

DAMIEN RICE
The Greek

April 24th
Get tickets here

KAISER CHIEFS
The Wiltern 
April 25th
Get Tickets Here



EAST INDIA YOUTH
The Roxy 

May 1st
Tickets Here 
Win a pair of tickets: Enter here

DR JOHN COOPER CLARKE
El Rey Theatre

May 2nd
Tickets Here

MANIC STREET PREACHERS
Fonda Theatre

May 2nd
Tickets Here


THE MOODY BLUES
Greek Theatre

May 5th
Tickets Here

FAT WHITE FAMILY
The Troubadour

May 15th
Tickets Here

JESSE J
Club Nokia

May 18th
Tickets Here

NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
Orpheum Theatre
May 20th
Tickets Here

THE SCRIPT
The Wiltern

June 2nd, 2015
Tickets Here

EDDIE IZZARD
Hollywood Bowl

June 6th
GOLDSTAR have tix starting at $19!
Tickets Here

WHITESNAKE
The Saban Theatre
June 9th
Tickets available on GOLDSTAR here

ED SHEERAN
Hollywood Bowl

June 24th
Tickets Here

THE KILLS
The El Rey Theatre

July 27th
Tickets Here

U2
Four Nights at The Forum!
PRESALE: December 4th
GENERAL : December 8th
SHOWS: May 26th-31st
Tickets Here

THE WHO
Honda Center - Sept 16th 2015
Staples Center - Sept 21st 2015
Tickets for Honda Center here
Tickets for Staples Center here