It’s time. Our appointment is next Monday, and I’m scrambling like a madwoman to figure out income and deductibles from my writing/editing/speaking business. And while I pop Tylenol regularly and wear my pencils to nubs, I fuss at myself. This would be so much easier if I could discipline myself to be a better record keeper during the year.
I’m like a thousand other authors out there. I just wanna write (insert teary whine). I don’t want to deal with marketing and promotions, pricing and distribution strategies, and record-keeping and accounting. Don’t wanna. However—and again, like a thousand other authors—I can’t afford to have someone do it all for me.
Who knows why I put things off the way I do, but now I’m sitting before a mound of papers trying to figure out what that purchase was for, who this group is, and what-is-this-and-is-it-deductible?
Did you know, for instance, that some of the folks you purchase things from charge you under a different name than the one you think you’re doing business with? I have a recurring charge from Canada. Canada! I was paying an entire nation for something I didn’t recognize until I dropped everything today and spent an hour digging around. It was legit, it was deductible—but why couldn’t the company just call itself SocialOomph?
Doesn’t matter now, I guess. I don’t use it anymore.
By the way, when you order your books, keep in mind that the order of the books themselves goes under “inventory,” but the shipping and handling don’t. So, if like me, you have a payment to CreateSpace, or whoever, on your credit card, realize that this is for the entire amount, and if, unlike me, you’ve done a good job keeping records, or at least receipts, you know how much you paid for the books and how much you paid for S&H—which is deductible, but doesn’t go under “inventory.”
Do you travel with your job? Keep up with mileage and such? Do the gymnastics required to deduct all that? I don’t. Considering I’m as likely to be in MSB’s pickup as I am to be in my sedan, there’s no point trying. But we deduct hotels and meals. I can see it now:
Mr. IRS Auditor: “I see you’re deducting hotel expenses and meals in Houston, Tyler, Texarkana, Nashville, Hearne, Georgetown, but you’re not deducting any actual travel expenses. How did you get to these cities?”
Me: “Angel wings.”
I don’t know that I’d be able to admit that, even if we did use just one vehicle for business, I can’t figure out how to deduct it. It’s a condition I have. A severe allergy to numbers. One of the symptoms is numerical dyslexia, which is the easiest to deal with. Another symptom is an intense, deep-seated, psychological denial of the fact that I’m in business now and I’m supposed to be dealing with numbers. I understand the “in business” part, it’s the other part that my brain blocks like a terrifying memory. Like I said, it’s a condition. There’s no cure.
So, here I am, scratching my head as I go through a year’s worth of credit card bills, PayPal statements, and receipts, and vowing—again—to do better this year than last.
Tevye was wrong. If I were a rich man (or woman), I’d hire an accountant. And a publicist.
And a maid . . .
I just downloaded (okay two days ago) an app called Mile IQ. Oh my gosh! You don’t have to do a thing but answer it’s emails. Using location, it knows when you have gone somewhere and sends you an email (or a note through the app – I don’t know which yet) that asks if your trip from point A to point B is business or personal? You just answer. Then at the end of the week or year or whatever, it will tell you how many miles and how much money!!! It’s GREAT!
Oh, honey!!! I could hug you!!!!! What a life-changing tip! 😀 ❤
That sounds kind of like Mile Bug that I use. But yours might be better.
I just downloaded Mile IQ and I’m gonna love this.
Plugging Intuit’s Quickbooks here. If you set up your accounts properly in the first place (something you need to make notes about while your messing with the taxes this year), and if you spend thirty minutes to an hour a week making sure the week’s expenses and receipts are all entered correctly, it will keep it all properly accounted for.
This time next year, instead of wrestling piles of paper, you go to your computer; open QB; open Reports; choose Profit and Loss Detail; choose Last Fiscal Year; and hit print.
I learned this after several years of going through canceled checks brought to me in brown paper sacks by friend-husband and his father so I could get the farm books ready for the tax accountant.
Mean time, I feel your pain. Hang in there, girl. It will get better.
ARRGGHH!!! EDIT*** “while your *** you’re *** messing with the taxes this year”
If I could trust myself to make the entries, that would be a great idea. I may try again, though. Right now, I’d try *anything*!!!
Oh, another afterthought. When I’m traveling, I use Rand-McNally to print a trip and mileage record from portal to portal. That mileage works whether I’m paid travel expenses or not. The Rand-McNally printout (not detail) gives my venue the mileage for reimbursement. Or it documents it for me for tax purposes.
That’s a great tip! Thanks!
Doing the same there here. I have Quick Books on my computer, which I bought last year and vowed to use in 2016, but did I. Nope. Travel expense isn’t difficult since I have no spouse to drive me. LOL. But I’m glad you reminded me to include those expenses. I have an app on my phone called mile bug where you plug in the trip and mileage and it figures out what is deductible and you can send it to your printer and that’s what you give your tax man…or in my case…Turbo Tax since I use that. Much cheaper than a tax man. Have fun.
That’s what worried me about Quick Books. If MSB knew how to work it, that would help, but he’s not a computer person at all, much less a program person. Sigh.
I am sorry, but coming from a woman who ran her own retail business for ten years (and did all the accounting, including payroll) your business records are a cake walk compared to what I did. I used Quick Books Pro for the business and it was so easy and thorough, even at my volume. All I gave my accountant was the Profit and Loss Statement the program generated and a few other bits of information. (I preferred an accountant actually file my taxes).
With the volume I had, we entered the data every evening at closing. Even then it took less than a half hour. I am one of those organized oddities that even keeps spreadsheets for things although I am retired. My husband benefits with the bill sheets I do for him.
If I were closer, I’d volunteer to help. I could lesson some of your load and frustration! I did Payroll, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable. Since we did deliveries by contracted services and in our personal vehicles, I tracked that as well. Of course, there was also inventory for sales and non-sales (office supplies) and I could go on and on. I did it all, as well as design and do consultations. Now I am worn out just thinking about it. 😛
I’ll say a few more prayers for some bookkeeping angels to sweep in and finish. 😉
How I wish we lived closer!!! I would love it—and not just for the accounting help! ❤
Yeah, I know. 😀