I’ve always dreaded taxes in my path to self-employment, but by nature I’m highly organized and a bit of a control freak so my gut told me I would figure it out for myself. I’ve honestly used TurboTax every year since I was sixteen and I’ve never hired an accountant or even truly considered it. As I made the transition from being an employee to being self-employed my friends and family hinted that things would need to change for me. I kept doing my thing, let the inevitable stress creep in, and then went ahead and didn’t take their advice, and guess what guys? I survived! For those of you who are on a budget, just getting started with your businesses and are looking to get your maximum deductions possible I’ve put together tips for a stress-free tax season. If you’ve found any tricks along the way that I haven’t, I’d love to hear them. Please leave them in the comments below, because like most areas in life, it takes a village and we’ve all got to help each other! Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Sign up with TurboTax Self-Employed. Like I said, I’ve been a fan of TurboTax since I was a teen. By signing up with TurboTax Self-Employed you combine real life customer service and the power of technology which gives you the most personalized support. I’ve found that this system allows comfort of knowing my questions will be answered, yet the flexibility to do things at my own pace and speed which I am all about.
2. Understand what expenses are tax-deductible for your business. Knowledge is power. Visit the IRS site and understand what you are able to write-off as a business owner. This will help you grasp what you can expect when tax season rolls around and really relieves some anxiety as you’re spending money to help grow and expand your business over the year. There’s no reason your taxes should keep you up at night, you’ve got enough on your plate.
3. Track your expenses all year with TurboTax Self-Employed, Expense Finder. While it’s important to understand what’s deductible and why, this handy tool will double check and help you identify additional expenses you can write off. This system even scans your bank and credit card transactions automatically to make it that much easier on you.
4. Keep your receipts. Being prepared for an audit is essential. I’m all about limiting stress whenever and wherever necessary (if you haven’t caught that already). Whether it ever happens or not, knowing that you are prepared for that day will put your mind at ease throughout the year and as tax deadlines get closer and closer.
5. Find an invoicing system that works for you. Every creative I’ve met approaches this in their own unique way. It’s up to you to find a system that feels right, limits stress and keeps you organized. I’m currently in the process of transitioning from a very basic invoicing system to Quick-Books after hearing rave reviews.
6. Plan ahead and save with Quick-Books, Self-Employed. Guys, this app is A-MAZING! If you drive it helps you track your miles, you’re able to snap photos of receipts on the go and it syncs with TurboTax to make the process seamless.
7. Ask for help. While all of us self-employed folks want to do everything ourselves it is nice to have someone to lean on. By utilizing TurboTax SmartLook you allow experts to share your screen and help you with anything you need so that when you file, you file confidently.
8. Take a deep breath. I know – doing your taxes is never fun, but hopefully with these tips you’re able break things down in a way that makes tax season a bit more manageable. Remember that you started a business and you are most certainly capable of completing your taxes. You’ve got this!
Photography by Amy Frances.
This post was sponsored by TurboTax Self-Employed.