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Topic: Performing under a different name?
Message: Posted by: fingercramp (Sep 9, 2010 01:42PM)
I have been wanting to step forward with my magic career by becoming more of a legitimate business. I have been working on improving the routines I have already and am ready to work on the business side. I know that countless magicians have performed under different names than their given name. As it happens, the name I go by on a regular basis just doesn't have the ring of a professional performer. I would like to use my first and middle name as my performing name.

Here are my questions-

Should I open a bank account under my performing name so as to reduce confusion for clients paying by check?

What are some problems I may encounter by using a name other than my paycheck name?

I am not changing my name to HIDE my identity. I just feel like using my first and middle name to perform under sounds more professional. I'm open to all input. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Jay Ward (Sep 9, 2010 02:34PM)
There are a LOT of magicians on the Café that use their first and middle name. Hopefully one will pipe up. I personally have a business bank account and a personal. You could have your business name as John Doe Productions or John Doe Magic and then write yourself checks from that.
Message: Posted by: fingercramp (Sep 9, 2010 03:48PM)
Would I need a small business license to do that, or am I now thinking too hard?
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Sep 9, 2010 05:42PM)
You may be able to simply add a DBA to your bank account (Doing Business As) so they accept the checks without question. Generally you can deposit checks to your account without question, but if you try to cash one, problems can ensue without the bank knowing you have a DBA. This is mostly used by businesses, I don't know if the bank is willing to do this for a personal checking account.

You should probably incorporate yourself with the new name though. A simply LLC or is not expensive to set up and there are tax benefits if you go this way.

And it's not called a small business license in my state, it's called a Vendor's License, this is a separate thing and issued by your state. It gives you permission to do business in the state, but you will have to file a state sales tax report quarterly - whether you collect and pay state sales tax or not. At least that's how it works in Ohio.

The best advice you are going to get is from an accountant, particularly the people that do your taxes.
Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Sep 9, 2010 05:45PM)
Also, you can tell the bank what you need and ask them what you should do. If they just recommend you open a new account in the new name, that will be cheap and should even help you with accounting.
Message: Posted by: fingercramp (Sep 9, 2010 07:17PM)
And with that, I know where to start. Thank you much!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 9, 2010 07:45PM)
Bank accounts have become a tricky thing since 9/11. ID and such.

TALK TO AN ACCOUNTANT. Or a lawyer. Really the best policy. It may cost you now, but it won't cost you later.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hilly (Sep 9, 2010 09:31PM)
I use my first and middle name for performing - and even a different spelling for my middle name because people were always spelling it wrong.

I use a credit union rather than a bank. They just told me to let people make it to my performing name and sign it both ways when I make the deposits.

I suggest you ask your bank. It could be that simple for you too.

Message: Posted by: Mark Alan (Sep 9, 2010 10:26PM)
I have always performed under my first and middle name. I have a business account under my performing name I also did a simple LLC..and I have a personal account under my real full name. I did this years ago on the advice of my banker and accountant... and it has worked well for me with no problems.. Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: fingercramp (Sep 9, 2010 10:45PM)
I appreciate all of the responses. I'll start tomorrow. Never thought about the LLC thing but found LLC.com from google and they've got all the information I need for my state. Good stuff. Thanks for the help everyone.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 10, 2010 12:06AM)
It is perfectly legal and to use a "STAGE NAME" as they call them in show business. The only requirement, is that you do not use another name in order to defraud anyone. So if they ask what your real name is, you should tell them. They can also make the checks out to your real name, just put that in your contract or show agreement.

Being you are a service company you do not need a business license.

As stated earlier, it is up to your bank if they will deposit funds with another name, but the law for checks use to be that you sign the back of the check as on the "Pay to the Order of" line on the check, then sign your real name below that 1st signiture.

But my bank did question me the last time I deposited a check under my stage name. I believe you will only have to notify the bank and possibly enter the information on your signature card or what ever they use. It is best to just go into your bank and speak with the "powers that be".

Once you get to making a hundred thousand dollars a year in shows, then you may wnat to incorperate or whatever for tax reasons, as when you fees get to $500 or more you will need a tax number or give your Social Security number to the client when they issue a check as they must notify the IRS of your payment of income.

Hope this helps guide you a little forward.
Message: Posted by: WDavis (Sep 18, 2010 12:51AM)
On the banking side of things:

if you want to take any form of payment payable to any name other than what is registered as the account title of your personal account, the banks will decline it(they no longer are willing to accept 3rd party checks even if it is still you the vesting is different therefore its a 3rd party)

A fictitious name statement or DBA is available relatively cheaply from the your county. on the tax implications of the business. If you are making less than $50k a year doing magic than it is USUALLY not worthwhile to do an LLC or S/C-corp. talk with your tax preparer about line listed deductions *this may be the only reason as to why you would do this*

The business banking accounts will vary from bank to bank as for fees, but the requirements to open are relatively easy as a sole proprietor. Walk in with your Fictitious name statement and 2 forms of ID (Drivers license and a credit card) and they will most likely open the account for you.