Tax Prep: Organize, Automate, Declutter, and Plan

How to file taxes and plan for makers

 

I know the last thing anyone wants to think about is doing their taxes but it is a great excuse to organize, automate, declutter, and plan for 2018.

3 quick tips to organize:

Passwords: Find a way to organize them. There’s apps, Field Notes, and oodles of other options. Think of all the time you spent last year logging in, failing, resetting, and trying to think of which childhood hero you haven’t used as your password yet. Even if you have all of your passwords in one place, security is important so look to winning apps like 1Password or LastPass. They even make it easy for you to audit your passwords, update them when you need to and share them with your trusted circle of co-workers and family. 

Finances: Whether you’re just starting out or have built your Creative Conglomerate, separating business from personal expenses is the first step. Come tax time, you just print off the last 12 months statements and you’re on your way. Be sure to look at Business Credit cards that offer rewards. If managed correctly, you can save big (or pay for that epic vacation of your dreams). I have a rule that money out on the card must have money coming in. What I charge will be covered by incoming expenses. Don’t over leverage. These credit cards are good for reoccurring software expenses (think Shopify, Shipstation, Google Suite, etc.)

Documents: You can snap a photo of all important documents and keep them safely in the Cloud away from coffee stains and children – but I can never manage to do that. I have 2 to 3 places I consistently stash receipts, statements, and the like. Put a pocket folder in your car and one in the kitchen junk drawer. That should capture about 80% of the important stuff. I know you were hoping for something more insightful and inspirational that pocket folders in the car, but we’re being honest here and my daughter is screaming for a bike ride at this very moment.


Whether you use a CPA or self-file, there is no way you can gather all the needed documents and think through an entire year’s worth of business to protect yourself and your pocketbook in a messy house or office. Stop, declutter, and clean. Breathe.

For me, tax season starts with a top to bottom cleaning of the house. Boxes for donations or clothes to be passed on to nieces and nephews begin to stack at the front door and eventually make their way to my truck. The importance of a clean workspace and a clear mind cannot be overstated, especially when you’re building the financial portfolio for the previous year.

What are our favorites?

  •  A local CPA who has time to meet with you and discuss your business and financial health. There is no way you can run a business and keep up with the ever-evolving tax code. Peace of mind rules supreme.
  • QuickBooks: Both desktop and mobile options that link with numerous online retail platforms and most major banks. There are options for payroll and other key services to run your business.
  •  Asana: Not just for team projects, to-do lists, and communication. I make all financial and business notes in a separate file. It’s not rocket science but it helps story-board your financial year.
  • Credit Cards: We use Southwest Rapid Rewards for business. Every dollar is a mile and bonus options are available. Through Chase Bank, this card allows you to classify expense as they appear. *Note be mindful of Amazon purchases and don’t miss out on capturing business expenses mixed in your deodorant and dog food purchases.

Once in this ‘mode’ you will see ways to save money or spend it more wisely in the New Year. You’ll be healthier and wealthier in the year ahead. Be sure to join the discuss over at our Makers Workshop Facebook Community and share some of your favorites.