Once my sister and I started going through the TurboTax process again (to make sure that I, in my frustration, had correctly entered all the information thus far), I realized I wasn’t quite as organized as I thought I was. I had my total “incoming” and “outgoing” numbers, but I didn’t have a break down of everything. I did do a few things right which helped me in the end, and I had to take some organization a few steps further.
Here are some helpful tips for preparing for business taxes. I hope I can save you (and myself) some grief next year by outlining simple steps to organizing business financial information.
- I always used my business credit card to make business purchases, and I paid it off every month. I stayed within my budget and I didn’t spend more than I had to. I used checks to pay royalties and to pay for my business license (only because they don’t accept credit cards). Using my credit card did two things to help my business: it raised my credit score and it documented every purchase.
- At the end of the year, I went to my bank website and downloaded a .csv file of my credit card use, with a limitation of January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. Once the information was in Excel, I organized it into categories: purchases, returns/refunds/adjustments, and payments. Note: I made one purchase which I returned last year. I put the sale purchase line for that item into returns/refunds/adjustments category.
- Using various colors and row spaces, I broke down the “purchases” section into the following categories: production costs (including shipping), supplies, communications (including cell phone and internet), marketing (including website, business cards, flyers, etc.), travel (including gas and hotel expenses), and fees (including late fees from my bank).
- I also downloaded a .csv file on my business debit card for the entire 2013 year. I organized the information into automatic deposits I received from various business partners, deposits I made at the bank, and online transfer-deposits I made from my personal account. Note: I used personal savings to start my business instead of taking out a loan, so I wanted to calculate how much I still “owe” myself and to distinguish that the money I invested was not taxable income.
For 2014, I’m taking the organization of my financial information to a new level. My accountant-sister and I will be creating an easy-to-use Excel document in which I will categorize all purchases, deposits, etc. each month. The added monthly overview will help me to create a targeted budget and see where my money goes to and comes from each month. I plan to share the shell of the Excel we create with you, so keep an eye out!
DIY Business Taxes blog series
Part 1 TurboTax
Part 2 MISC 1099 & W-2s
Part 3 Organizing Financial Information (you’re here!)
Part 4a Author Media Webinar
Part 4b Author Media Webinar (still to come!)
Rachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and blogs for Lady by Design. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.