First, Happy Birthday to my Dad! I hope you have a fantastic day! XO.
Let’s talk about taxes. Because I’m in the middle of getting everything organized for mine, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed out doing them! Ah… tax season.
I used to have it easy. A couple of W2s, some student loan interest and bank account interest, and viola, taxes were done easy peasy with TurboTax or HR Block.
But now, with a business, it’s a whole different ball game.
Unsplash // Aleksi Tappura
If you didn’t know, I run a photography business. I started in 2011, and each year it’s grown (which I’m very thankful for.) It’s my fun side business. I have a full-time job which I love, and I teach riding lessons on the weekend (which I also love.) But I love watching what started as a side hobby turn into a successful business.
Every year, I panic. I do it to myself. At the beginning of every year, I promise myself that I’m going to keep all of my receipts, track my mileage, and print out all of my monthly expenses and invoices as they come in to keep my life easier at the end of the year. And at the end of every year, I struggle to remember what I need to print out to get my taxes done.
This year has been no exception. And having the photography business really pick up this year, it’s been even more of an adventure. Two years ago. I used HR Block. It was fine. It got the job done. Nothing special. In fact, I probably should have just done it myself instead of spending the amount of money I did. Last year, I used TurboTax Professional and it went nice and smooth. This year, I just don’t want to be bothered to do my own. Especially with everything going on with TurboTax.
The good news? I meet with an accountant next week to get my taxes done, and I have almost everything I need. I just need to print a few more things out and call a couple places to get a receipt and make sure I’m not expecting anything from another place.
The bad news? I might have killed a couple of trees in the process. SO MUCH PAPER.
In an effort to keep myself more organized for my 2015 taxes, I’m already beginning to keep myself organized.
Keeping everything organized
It’s great if you print everything out, but not so great if you lose everything right away. I’m planning on buying an accordion file folder that I can label and put everything right into.
I have lists for my lists. It’s bad, but it does help me to keep organized. I plan on keeping a checklist in the accordion file folder with all of the monthly expenses listed, as well as each month, that way I can check the month off as I go. Same with other invoices.
Printing out monthly receipts
With my photography business, there are a lot of monthly expenses that I just forget about since they get automatically paid. In an effort to remember, I set reminders on my phone to print out all of those monthly receipts around the middle of the following month. I have monthly expenses from various places ranging from the questionnaire on my website to my monthly Etsy fees for posting new products.
Printing out client invoices monthly
Another area I’m horrible about is printing out my client invoices. I do everything electronically, but still need print outs for the end of the year. So, just like the monthly receipts, I’ll be doing a check once a month for a client invoices (sessions, Etsy and client galleries), and printing everything out.
Tracking my mileage
This probably seems like a minor one, but it’s one that I can write-off and always forget to do every year. My plan this year is to track any mileage relating to photo shoots. It’s usually pretty minimal, but that way I can keep track!
Don’t panic at the end of the year
Hopefully by the following the above steps, I won’t get completely overwhelmed by my taxes at the end of the year! Panicking only makes it worse for me, but I hope that by the end of 2015, I’ll be super organized and ready to get my taxes done.
How do you keep yourself organized for tax season?