Preparing for Tax Day
An interview with Davalois Fearon
In preparation for Tax Day, we talked with Davalois Fearon about her experience working with Pentacle, and how it has helped her with her taxes and gain overall financial health, especially through Fiscal Sponsorship.
Tell us how your Pentacle journey has helped you, including the services you’ve been a part of, such as fiscal sponsorship.
Pentacle has been very helpful for me, especially through fiscal sponsorship and the ART program. My journey with Pentacle started back in 2013 when I joined the Cultivating Leadership in Dance internship because I was interested in learning more about education programming – I wanted to develop a curriculum and teacher training for the Stephen Petronio Company technique. I really believed in the work and when I was a young dancer, I could have used that knowledge to apply the best practices for how to teach this technique. Learning how to teach these fundamentals would have been super helpful for me when I first joined the company, so I wanted to create that for new company members. I was also interested in choreography, and I didn’t want to be a choreographer who built a career on the backs of dancers by not paying them. It was important to pay the dancers and I knew that I had to figure out where and how to get the money.
I went on to work with Pentacle as a Unique fiscal sponsorship artist beginning my journey of fundraising to develop my own work. I have graduated little by little up the ranks from the Unique fiscal sponsorship program to FIA projects, project-based comprehensive fiscal sponsorship, to where I am now which is the Foundation for Independent Artists(FIA). FIA is a year-round comprehensive fiscal sponsorship program. I also participated in other Pentacle educational programs such as teaching at Groove With Me, which was so much fun working with young dancers. I was also a teaching artist working with 5th-grade students at South Bronx Charter School for International Culture and the Arts, which I really enjoyed.
The most impactful relationship that I have had with Pentacle has been being a recipient of their ARTprogram which provided two years of administrative support and mentorship plus a grant award to a select group of artists over 2 years. It has really helped to create a solid foundation and infrastructure for me and my company and I’m ever grateful for that.
Do you file your taxes on your own or work with a CPA, and why? What best practices have you established through Pentacle’s services that support your preparation for tax season?
When preparing for taxes, one of the best practices I have established is a proper bookkeeping system, which is definitely a learning curve. I began learning how to use QuickBooks alongside Tess Montoya who is currently my company’s General Manager. We had really sloppy books and Clarissa, Pentacle’s Executive Director, helped us figure out how to organize my company finances. Also with the help of Sarah, the ART administrator we were paired with, and my sister who has a background in accounting. We worked over the years to develop a strategy of keeping scrupulous notes, creating budgets, classes and categories that make it easy for us to crunch numbers come tax time. We’ve worked with a CPA for 5 years because the company’s fiscal sponsorship plus my being an independent artist altogether feels a little bit daunting for us to do on my own. It also helps us keep up with all the tax laws and codes as they have been changing year to year.
What advice would you give other individual artists in regards to running a small business, especially as it relates to tax prep?
The best advice I would have for someone running a small business especially as it relates to tax prep is to really become financially literate; understand where your money goes, how to create a budget and stick to it, and understand that your mission should be reflected in your budget. Know that the healthier you are in terms of caring for yourself, your overall health and well-being, and educating yourself about finances, the healthier you business will be overall – because it infiltrates all aspects of one’s life. This kind of financial health makes it easier to make strategic choices and garner support from others because you’re very clear about what your plans are and what you need to accomplish them by being able to put that on paper in words and numbers which helps other people see your vision. .
Pentacle remains dedicated to continuing to provide a high level of support to artists during these extraordinary circumstances. Alongside many other key and respected organizations in the field, we have begun accumulating and curating resources for artists and organizations experiencing income loss and other troubles as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Find our list of resources here.
NEXTSTEPS | 4.18.22
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