But don’t fear, because there are several things you can do to prepare yourself for this yearly paper shuffle.
Organize Receipts and Categorize Expenses
If you haven’t been doing this all year, you may have some task ahead of you. But organizing your business receipts can go a long way towards getting you ready for what lies ahead.
For one, when doing your taxes, you want to have as much information as possible. If you only have a vague idea of how much you spent on your business over the year and no valid proof, it may end up costing you. Printer paper is one thing, but what about all the travel expenses you racked up? You want all that info in hand so you can properly log it (and claim the tax deduction!).
Another reason to properly organize your receipts is again about proof. You can write all the expenses you want on your tax forms, but in the end, the IRS needs proof they exist. If you submit your tax forms and you can’t back up your claims, there will be trouble ahead indeed!
You should also consider categorizing your expenses ahead of time. This way it’s much easier to add them up when it comes time to actually do your taxes. Some of the most common categories will be utilities, transportation, supplies, and advertising, though your business may have some unique ones.
Now is also a good time to check all the numbers regarding how much money you made in 2011. Many of Outright’s users are self-employed or independent business owners, so they must worry about paying in quarterly taxes. This is usually calculated based off yearly income, which for obvious reasons needs to be up to date.
Some freelancers or business owners like to go off the numbers they had the previous quarter. However, you may be paying too much if you do this. This is why we recommend recalculating your income as much as possible in order to be accurate. (Confused about quarterly estimated taxes? Check out our Quarterly Estimated Tax Cheat Sheet.)
Integrate Your Financial Accounts Into Outright
There’s no sense in doing this all by yourself. Keeping track of all your business expenses and income can be tough to do, especially when you have so much else to consider. So instead of tackling tedious data entry every time you collect from a customer or buy supplies, why not let Outright help?
Integrate your bank accounts into our intuitive software, and we’ll pull in all your transactions so you never have to spend hours and hours entering them by hand. We’ll also help with the aforementioned categorizing so that you can quickly and easily fill out your Schedule C at the end of the year and file your taxes.
This way, getting ready for the New Year is as easy as pumpkin pie. Now you can concentrate on redoing your shipping model and revamping your website instead of tackling annoying paperwork!
About the Author:
Laura Messerschmitt is the Vice President of Marketing at Outright, a free online accounting software for small businesses. She loves helping the self-employed and small businesses to be more successful and grow their businesses.