How it Works

Join the fight to end tax troubles for the freelance musicians we serve.

  1. Harmony street partners with organizations, social workers and case managers to identify clients in need of tax assistance. A needs assessment is performed to:
    • Analyze the last 10 years of tax filings
    • Determine any subsidy programs the musician qualifies for
    • Address ongoing financial management issues related to taxes.
  2. We work with musicians to file any missing tax years and, if applicable, apply the musician to the IRS’ Fresh Start program to eliminate debt relief. We address other outstanding issues as needed. Musician clients receive ongoing assistance to remain compliant.
  3. We appeal to local, regional and national organizations for emergency debt relief funds as needed.
  4. We educate musicians, bands, and artists through workshops and free tools. And together we help the families at the center of New Orleans cultural heritage and beyond wipe out their burden.

What We Do

Giving musicians a fresh start.

Tax Education, Consultation, and Compliance for Musicians of All Ages

Harmony Street Society is a 501c3 non-profit foundation that provides tax compliance and many other services to free lance musicians in New Orleans to avoid future penalties and give them a fresh start. Our CPA provides personalized expert consultation, assessment, and resolution of financial issues for participants.

Until now, they had nowhere to turn for this kind of help.

Tax debt and bureaucratic issues can affect mental and physical health, and we believe in giving musicians the help they need so they can continue to create freely – and in harmony.

We do this through our two primary programs.

The Fresh Start Workforce Program consisting the Ask-a-CPA Workforce Training Workshop, and One-on-One Counseling Sessions; and the Musician Support Program providing direct financial aid to musicians in need.

The Fresh Start Ask-a-CPA Workshops teach participants how to complete employment forms, open bank accounts, create IRS, Louisiana Department of Revenue, and Social Security accounts, how to make periodic payments, creating LLC, S-corps, tracking expenses, preparation of tax documents, and how to prepare returns on-line for free. We have hosted live, simulcast on Facebook, and Zoom workshops at the New Orleans Jazz Museum and another on Zoom for Music Cares. We are planning more workshops for 2023.

In the Fresh Start One-on-One Counseling Sessions, our CPA collaborates with each musician to prepare a personalized strategy to resolve all current and future tax and financial issues with our Makin’ Taxes, Makin’ Payments, and Makin’ Payroll programs. The CPA prepares all documents and tax filings to bring the participant current, including negotiating with tax authorities to waive late fees, penalties, and in some cases reduce the amount of tax owed.

The Musician Support Program collaborates with individuals and non-profits to provide cash grants to those desperately in need of living expenses including rent, food, utilities, etc. The program also may provide help with the cost of filing fees, fines, penalties, and taxes.

Why We Do It

If only YOU could see the difference! Our programs improve the lives of musicians, plan and simple. Not only do we see this result on the faces of those we serve when their financial issues are resolved, we are also told this by dozens of their testimonials. We also get feedback from social workers who report a noticeable difference in their attitude about life and an improvement in their health. We are grateful that we can perform the services we do and improve the lives musicians, young and old.

We Teach

We host workshops for musicians, held live at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, on Zoom, or at a location of other non-profits who have requested our participation in their education programs. Most of the musicians we have assisted have been older. While many of these individuals are willing to learn how to stay in compliance with taxes, some find it difficult to break the old habits. We must include our teenagers and younger musicians “What, Why, and How” of making money as a musician, and its tax implications. Therefore, we want to expand our workshops to include more youth. Reach out to us if your organization is interested in hosting a Tax Workshop for young musicians.

Makin’ Taxes, Makin’ Payments, and Makin’ Payroll.

The goal is to place each musician in a sound position to start fresh. We use a 3-part counseling program to achieve current and maintain long-term tax compliance to place each musician on a path for social security and Medicare eligibility. The counseling program includes Makin’ Taxes, Makin’ Payments, and Makin’ Payroll.

Makin’ Taxes</strong is a tax, finance, and retirement set-up service for musicians. This program provides a one-time fix to tax and other financial compliance issues.

Makin’ Payments prepares the musician to make periodic tax payments on-line. That way at year-end they have paid in; the goal is to owe a little, nothing at all, or to get a small refund. Accounts are established with the Internal Revenue Service and the Louisiana Department of Revenue that allows the musician to login and make direct payments based on their frequency and amount of pay. In addition, an account is established with the Social Security Administration. Having the accounts however does not mean payments are always made, and the musician remains a 1099 employee.

Under Harmony Street Society’s Makin’ Payroll service, we create a corporation for the musician and they become a W-2 employee of their company. All income from the musician’s performances is paid to the corporation. A payroll service is provided, and payday withholdings occur at the frequency and the amount of pay the individual wants. Under this program, taxes are withheld automatically for the musician.