by Furry Girl

05.12.10

Welcome to the second installment of my series of advice that's for would-be sex workers.  (The first one is here.)

I am happy to help rational, professionally-minded potential sex workers fill in some of the blanks they've missed in their own research.  (I've stopped bothering to try and hand-hold anyone through the basics they could read online if only they'd ever heard of Google.)  Most people, once they do real research, figure out that sex work is not actually a real-life version of this carnival game, where you jump in the windy box, grab fistfuls of cash, and then exit without having done any real work.

Of all the emails I receive with questions from new and would-be sex workers, I think that every single one of them has failed to ask an extremely important question: where they can find a good lawyer or a good accountant.

This week, I was asked by another sex worker for advice on what amounted to be, I take it, how to commit tax evasion.  She explained that her finances were a mess, she had no idea where to start, had never filed a tax return, and didn't want to pay taxes on what she was earning, and figured there must be some way out of this problem.  (Honey, none of us want to pay taxes.)  I replied with one simple line, "Sorry, you need to hire an accountant and an attorney."  She replied in an angry huff because I wouldn't give her "any quick advice" on what to do.  My second, and final reply on the matter was, "You need serious legal and financial advice FROM PROFESSIONALS, and I will not risk being held legally liable for conspiracy charges for giving you any suggestions on how to avoid paying taxes."  The part that pissed me off the most was her assumption in the first email, "It seems you are in a similar position to me so I was wondering how you do it."  No, I am not in a similar position.  Plenty of sex workers file and pay taxes.  We're not all taking cash under the table and burying it in coffee cans in our yards or whatever.  Asking me for my advice on doing something dodgy because you're assuming I do it myself is extremely rude.

So, here's golden rule number two for new/prospective sex workers:

You absolutely need to hire an attorney who specializes in adult businesses in your area.  Also, hire an accountant who specializes in adult entertainers.

Let me say that again, since it obviously needs to be said, and no one listens to me when I implore them of it:

You absolutely need to hire an attorney who specializes in adult businesses in your area.  Also, hire an accountant who specializes in adult entertainers.

I value a lot about the sex worker community and people coming together to help one another out, but I am sick of seeing non-lawyers and non-accountants exchange incorrect advice about their legal and tax issues.  How many times have you read one escort advise another that if you ask the client if he's a cop, he has to tell you?  Or if he gets naked (or has sex with you), then it means he's not law enforcement?  If plenty of sex workers still believe in some 1970s-era crime movie idea about the legality of entrapment, who knows what other inadvertent, dangerous untruths they are sharing amongst each other.  Leave the lawyering to the lawyers, folks- and focus on what you do best.

The very first thing I did when I decided to get into porn was to hire one of the best adult industry attorneys to advise me on how to incorporate, and the laws that impacted me.  In the first couple of years, I hired him for an hour here and there to give me advice on my business and how to keep things above-board.  I will never see that as money poorly spent, even though I was eating ramen noodles and buying my work clothes from Ross Dress For Less.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk to a lawyer, and it probably costs less than you'd think.  (I spent $1000 initially, and that was before I ever had a single paying subscriber.)  The law is complicated and changes all the time, on local, state, and federal levels, and your sister sex workers, no matter how smart, are not qualified to dispense legal advice on your problems.  In fact, it's illegal to dispense legal advice if you're not a lawyer.  Lawyers possess specialized knowledge that can keep your cute ass out of jail.  (My first attorney has since retired, and he sold his business to JD Obenberger, who you might recognize from Red Light District Chicago's video series.)  Sex workers can be great for helping each other understand their basic universal rights, like the right to not incriminate yourself if you've been arrested, but for anything beyond that, please, pay a lawyer.

Secondly, hire an accountant who specializes in adult entertainers.  I didn't do this soon enough myself, and I wish I had.  Back in 2003, I think, I hired someone I knew only as "TaxGrrrl" in Michigan off an adult industry message board to do my taxes, and she screwed up, leaving me with a fine for almost $1000.  Now?  I am thrilled to have Lori of TaxDomme.com keeping my financial life in working order.  (And believe me, I am the world's sloppiest housekeeper when it comes to financial organization and orderly creation of spreadsheets, so if she can make my business tidy, she can make your life tidy, too.)

Sex work is about being a responsible professional, and sometimes, that means knowing when you need to turn to other professionals.





4 Comments

  1. Hell yes! Yes and yes. And yes. In case someone questions this advice -- it is absolutely correct.

    I second Lori as well.

    XX

    Comment by Amanda — May 19, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

  2. I agree with you entirely,

    People really don't understand what goes on and only see what is on the internet or on dvd.

    Workers have a lot to deal with.

    Comment by Webcams — November 30, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  3. Comment by Trackbacks — December 17, 2017 @ 2:10 am

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