Started Jun 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Despite good intentions .....

edispics wrote:

I suspect that if there ever was an imposition of a license to practice photography for money, the end result would be exactly the same as dealing with other trades like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, cable installers, mechanics, etc. etc. etc., all of whom offer their services "under the table" to bypass having to pay taxes. In each of these trades there are as many non-licensed as licensed practitioners and just as many eager consumers who will deal with the former to save a buck, whatever the consequences. I suppose this practice might vary with where you live, but it is rampant where I am. So despite good intentions, the reality is very very different. I have no doubt that imposing a license would just drive a lot of photographers and their customers to practice their trade "illegally".

I understand what you mean and agree to an extent. I would only add that these same photographers are already operating illegally in many cases. We already require the things I mention. Professional photographers with a business are already required to get a business license in most cases. Anyone making an income is supposed to pay income tax. In most states and other countries there is some form of sales tax or value added tax that is supposed to be collected on the sale of product, if not always services. This structure already exists and it's already illegal to fail to do these things. The only additional thing was business insurance which I believe to be a must on several levels.

I'm not suggesting a new licensing procedure more than maybe enforcing the current business license procedures and add maybe insurance to the requirements. The tax people can look it over and enforce as needed. As a professional, I'd hate to have to pay tax fines to both state and federal departments at the same time and at a later date. It could be catastrophic to say the least. Advertising might require  the notation of the photographers business licence number.

I just don't think it's such a large hurdle to jump if you're a legitimate business owner. Many learn the hard way when they fail to do much of the things I'm suggesting, so it's a protection for the professional as well. The first time Bridezilla sues you, you'll wish you had business insurance. When your attorney asks you to get out your business license before court date, what then? You will lose that case. When your gear gets stolen on the job, same thing. When you get a tax audit in a few years, you'll wished you'd paid as you went. When the state starts looking for it's sales tax, again, you'll wished you had better records and collected it as you went. These are all things that can destroy a small business as well as the lives working hard to build it. Having the required business license and following what that means really is for your protection as well as your client's. I don't care who's cheating around you.

There's also some pride when you give a prospective business client your business license. They know that at least you're a professional from that standpoint regardless on whether or not you're any good at your craft.

Take care.

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Cheers, Craig
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