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September 2013



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TAXES. They're taxing...

This is my not-happy face.  I call it "we are not amused," with a nod to Victoria...

My accountant alerted me years ago to how complex keeping track of income and spending would be when I began selling on eBay, Cafepress, taking PayPal payments, teaching online, and paying business expenses via credit card. 

He wasn't just whistling Dixie.

It's great to be a freelancer, and I wouldn't do anything else, but Oh.  My.  God.  Keeping track.

If I would just keep on top of it, as the bills came in--THEN I wouldn't be going nuts as I do every year in the weeks and days (and sometimes hours) before my appointment with him!

If my filing system, she laughingly calls it, were just a bit better it would help, too.   I always know the stuff is in one of two places, though.  In the house or in the Jeep.*GGG*

2 days to finish all this before my appointment--and I think actually I'm ready, now.  Got the last bits entered and made sure everything was correctly categorized a while ago...whew.

Interestingly, Bradley tells me I'm the most organized of all his clients.

This is a SAD thing. <;-P

The only thing I worry about at this point is that I took three trips in '06--to visit kateslover, go camping, and work on my North Light book last summer; to see my sis and his folks in October, and to go back at Christmas--both those times also working on the book. 

I can only find charges for two airline tickets.  Nuts...


Interestingly, Bradley tells me I'm the most organized of all his clients.

I get this very same thing from my tax preparer, no matter how completely frazzled I think I am. Scary to think about what everybody else's must look like, isn't it?!?
My buddy Dennis takes a year's worth of receipts in a shoebox and plunks them down on his accountant's desk. Done deal. Siiiiigh...
OMG!! I think my head just exploded a little. I know Sharon (my lady) deals with quite a bit of that sort of thing too, but I just can't imagine doing that to someone. Plus, my Virgo tendencies to have a big visual representation of my yearly biz won't let me!

I do have to say this year I've started keeping track as I go, as opposed to "stick it in a folder and deal with it later", and it's helping me keep track of where I'm at and where I need to put more attention so much better. It's a little extra work, but it's been worth it! I could kick myself for not doing it sooner...
I kind of WISH I had the nerve to do that! But...like you, I want to know where I am with the business.

Siiiigh...last summer when J. was here he'd been helping me with my bank statements (I'm notorious about reconciling them) and he archived the old records for me. AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuugh! That's great for somebody normal, but if you're self-employed you really need to KNOW that stuff on occasion.

Now neither of us can find them. Am I doing better than I did in 2002? Dunno. What was my last year of getting royalties on that children's book? Dunno. What did I pay for that scanner in 2003? Dunno. How much did I write that check to Chuck for in '99? Dunno. When did I buy that camera? Dunno. Poor guy has had to listen to me search through the C: drive more than once. <;-)

But hey, I'm impressed with you, girl, sticking things in a FOLDER to deal with later. I just kind of have stacks and piles and boxes. *rg*

If the other flight info doesn't turn up, estimate from the two airlines charges that you have. Worst case, if you're audited, the airlines can check their records.

I'll admit that I'm perfectly awful about keeping records, and this year, it's going to make a difference. Your post is nudging me to actually staying current with what I earn & spend.

I do SO need to do that! I think I'm making enough on eBay to make it worth my while to keep two different stores, but what if I'm not?

It would also be a whole lot easier if I'd just stop whatever I was doing when the bills arrived (or when I paid a handful of them) and entered them into MSMoney THEN.
Oh!! The not-happy face! The not-happy face is not good.

I hope this all works out for you ok. I hate the whole search every nook and cranny thing. It's not fun.
Serves me right, though. Jeez.

I have to say that there IS a rush when you find those last two bank statements. Or maybe two out of three anyway...
Finding the elusive, sought after items is good. The elation of finding that last item is grand.
If I could JUST find that last airline ticket. I think I remember what it was, though--J. found me a REALLY good deal on the flight West at Christmas. I think it was $110, thereabouts.


When I worked for a CPA firm, I had a client who brought in her checkbook in January and I had to do her whole year of financials and her taxes (she owned a flower shop). Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard as she was very meticulous that only business income and expenses went into that particular checking account. So. . . if you had a checking account and one credit card that were ONLY for business and you wrote the source of the income on the deposit record or slip, you would be in good shape and your accountant could enter the info into whatever accounting software he/she uses. Piece of cake!
Omigosh, an entire year's worth, like my buddy Dennis! I normally feel all virtuous for the first of the year, meaning I'm caught up to the present date, but whether I'll keep it up or not is really up for grabs!

That was my original plan with the new Discover card, but it hasn't necessarily worked out that way. And when I go someplace like Walmart, where I buy office supplies and food and paper towels at the same place, I wouldn't want to check out twice--once for business and once for home. So I have a "cash expenditures" account which also needs to be brought up to date every time I spend anything instead of hoping I'll find all the receipts when I need them! I know I lose out, but oh well...
I can only find charges for two airline tickets. Nuts...

are they on a credit card? Im sure you can find them.
That was the problem, I couldn't find the credit card bill! Siiiigh...I suppose I could figure out how to look online. It was late November or early December, not sure which card, though. Duh!!
contact the company..they can tell you how to find the payments. everything is trackable:)
That's probably scarily true!


Tips for organization

Hi Kate,

Not only am I one of your students in the watercolor class, but I also am an accountant and have done taxes many many moons! I had to laugh when your accountant said you were one of his/her more organized clients. I have actually had receipts stuff into grocery bags, ziploc bags along with shopping lists, children's report cards, birthday cards...etc. Also, one person gave me his info in an airplane barf bag!!!!

Anyway....being an artist with my own business too...I have developed a system that works for me. Try using zip lock bags, identified by month..and just throw your receipts in them. Carry the bag in your purse or anywhere. At the end of the month, grab the new one..and put the old one on your desk to categorize. This way you will keep up with the catorization for each month and not have to spend so much time at the end of the year. With the ziploc bags it helps also to throw in airplane tickets, gas receipts...or any type of paper to enter in your deductions. Get big bags (1 gallon size) for large sheets of paper, like itinerary's and such.

Hope this helps! Good luck with the tax man...which you probably have already done. I just mailed my voucher today...good day for it...Friday THE 13TH!!!

Take care,
Crivitz, WI

Re: Tips for organization

Hi Nancy, and what a great idea, thank you!

My purse wouldn't hold a gallon bag, though, I'll just have to fold things.*G* (I keep it small and lightweight, and just big enough for my traveling art supplies!)

My buddy takes a shoebox to his accountant. I'd beat him bloody!