10 Tips for Making Business Taxes Less StressfulEw! It’s tax time, every photographer’s least favorite business task. There are a few good tips for those of you gearing up to do your income taxes in the next few months, plus there’s a little, hidden coupon code for my “Legal Business Crap You Should Probably Know but are Too Afraid to Deal With” online video course. If you manage to make it through this entire article, I’m sure you will find it, and learn a few things too!

1. Use an Enrolled Agent (EA) to do your taxes. These people are certified directly by the IRS and have an immense tax knowledge. A CPA is certified through the state and does not specialize in income taxes. They’re perfect for payroll and personal accounting, but don’t have the experience an EA has with taxes. Many CPAs are also an EA and that’s great. If you want to ensure you’re hiring someone awesome who will do your income taxes correctly with as little risk as possible, hire the person who is an expert.
2. Don’t try to cut corners and find every little loophole. The best thing you can do is be as honest as possible when doing your taxes. Taking risks with your taxes is one way to add a lot of tax stress to your life.
3. If you’re one of those people, who knows you are going to owe for the upcoming year, but you’re worried you won’t have saved enough just take a deep breath. Instead of avoiding filing your taxes, or avoiding payment you can simply set up an installment plan with the IRS and pay off anything you owe over time. When you do the right thing, they can be a great place to be in debt. Their interest rates are low, and tax debt doesn’t show up on your credit report unless you stopped making payments and it went to collections, or you committed tax fraud. I’ve been in this place where I owed more than I had saved and it was very simple to set up a payment plan. I chose the amount to pay every month, and it was easy to pay off. They were even friendly with me on the phone. I didn’t have any major huge penalties because I didn’t let it sit there and stress. I was proactive and took the initiative to get it done.
4. Don’t use Turbotax or try to do your taxes yourself. Pay someone else to do your taxes. Trust me, it takes a lot of stress off your shoulders and can be pretty affordable. If you organize your expenses, invoices, and receipts, it takes a tax preparer less time to do your taxes, and therefore, it saves you money. Plus that fee to get your taxes done counts as an expense.
5. Use Freshbooks to track your expenses. I love this company’s app. I can take photos of receipts and add them right into my account for later. It makes expense tracking simple. If you have a lot of monthly subscriptions? It’s easy just to set up recurring payments that get added automatically. Plus, unlike Quickbooks, you don’t need any training to figure it out. It’s pretty easy and straightforward.

6. Most of us buy products online. I keep a folder for each year’s receipts for my business expenses. Then I can print them off if needed, but if I lost track of my accounting because wedding season becomes too busy, it’s easy just to go through my folder and add them to Freshbooks and be caught up.
7. Accept more credit cards. We all hate credit card processing fees, but they can be worth it. Credit and debit card income is easily traceable. Cash only businesses can be a bit risky. When you’re using a service like Paypal for all your transactions in business you get a 1099-K at the end of the year with all your reportable income. If you’ve only used one place to collect payments, it makes reporting your income a million times more simple.
8. Set aside one day every couple weeks to do your accounting and filing at home. If you’re keeping up on it regularly, you won’t feel as stressed when it’s time to do your taxes when they’re due. Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have days where you’re on the floor of your office surrounded in paperwork.
9. If you just can’t keep up on your accounting at all on your own, it’s worth it to pay someone else to do it for you monthly.

10. Take the time to learn a little bit more about the basics of running a business regarding taxes, business types, registrations, licenses etc. Knowing just a little bit about these things can help alleviate the stress that often comes from not knowing or, not wanting to know because it seems so scary. I have a pre-enrollment for my class called, “Legal Crap You Should Probably Know, But Are Too Afraid to Deal With.” You can pre-enroll now, and the course will be released January 27th. Just for fun, I’m leaving a coupon code for pre-enrollment in that course right here in this blog post. You can take $20 off with the code: TAXESSUCK. There are only 20 coupon codes; which most likely will run out for anyone who gets to the end of this blog post. The class is online videos, so I promise it will be nowhere near as boring as it sounds. Plus the dogs will probably interrupt my video recording, which is always fun.

Hope this helps you head into the last bit of Winter or the future feeling better about your taxes, and I hope to see those of you who want to learn more in my online course!

I’m inviting all of you to come join me at the Revive Summit to come learn for free online! I’ll be speaking along with a ton of knowledgeable and talented creatives to help you revive your businesses for the coming year!

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Carrie Swails

I'm a serial entrepreneur. Owner at Photography Awesomesauce, Rock Your Weird and Made in the Lab and I photograph offbeat weddings. In other words, I'm crazy. I have a birthmark in my armpit, and am a terrible mathematician. What I lack in understanding of complex theories such as Pi (clearly a food item - apple is my favorite) and invisible numbers (if I can't see them, why should I care?) I make up for in awesomesauce. I believe there is no right way to put the toilet paper on - I'm just happy it's available. I believe there's no such thing as a bad fortune in a fortune cookie. I believe we only live life once so we should wear costumes as often as possible. I believe wine is like the force - it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together. I howl with my basset hound every morning, call my brother to beat video game bosses for me, and love eating fried cheese.

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