1) Tax returns are the only proof of income you have if you’re self-employed and paid mostly, if not entirely, in cash.
2) It’s far better for the IRS to have your numbers to start with than to let them come up with their own.
3) If you get caught after not paying taxes for a number of years and get hit with a five-figure bill, it really sucks.
4) You become another person contradicting the stereotype of sex workers as tax cheats who don’t contribute to society.
5) It makes you (even more) morally superior to GE.
Things you need to file if you are an independent contractor stripper/model/performer/camgirl, an escort, sensual touch provider, etc:
Schedule C for income from a business (you are a business)
Form 8829 for home office deduction (you have a computer in your home where you’re doing business, yes?)
Your receipts for work-related supplies, travel, and other expenses
Records of your income
Even if you lack accurate records, give it your best shot and file. Even if you can’t pay right now, file. Even if what you do is illegal, file (you don’t have to write down what you do. We are all “entertainers”). Read this piece over at the Awl for some good reasons why you should file no matter what. It’s so, so much better to have YOUR realistic numbers than to have the IRS say, “Hey, we have this 1099 from your club, where you sold $1500 in VIP rooms, so we’re assuming that was a normal night for you, so we’re calculating your tax debt based on that,” or “Well, we saw on this 20/20 special about escorts that $2000/hour is a rate people pay in New York, so let’s start there.”
I don’t care if you’re gonna fudge it! Don’t tell me about it. Don’t tell anyone about it, for that matter. I’m not telling you to file because I think we owe it to the country or because I’m a bleeding-heart liberal or because I think the Tea Party is supremely misguided because they aren’t storming the gates of GE and Bank of America to demand they bear their burden of the tax load. I’m telling you to do this because it COVERS YOUR PRETTY PROFESSIONALLY SEXY ASS. Having personally fucked up with taxes before and knowing several dancers and escorts who’ve been in deep shit with the revenuers, I speak from experience when I say it’s to your advantage to stay on top of your taxes.