Thursday, September 26, 2019

Accounting 101

How do you keep your taxable receipts? Log them in each month? Each day? Throw them all in a big pile and wait for tax time? Do you have an App that organizes them for you?

From Jim

If you do any promotion of your books at all, if you attend writers conferences, you’re going to accumulate tax-deductible expenses. Too many writers do themselves a disservice by not tracking all their expenses for tax purposes. Think of it this way: for every dollar you spend on your writing career, you can save approximately twenty to thirty cents on your tax bill. A four-night hotel bill for a conference could easily come to more than $900. That probably translates to $180-$220 in tax savings. And don’t forget meals, promotional swag, taxis, Ubers, airfare, baggage fees, software, publication subscriptions, and membership fees.

I used to toss my receipts into a box with the promise that I would put them in order one day very soon. That day usually turned out to be April 14. But I finally decided to keep an Excel spreadsheet and update it as I incurred the expenses. I maintain the spreadsheet on my iPad, which I carry everywhere I go. Excel saves the spreadsheet on the cloud, so I always have access and backup. The key is to enter the expenses immediately. If I wait till later, I may forget. This has worked beautifully for me. No last-minute scrambling to find, organize, and tote up receipts. I also try to make all payments with a credit card. That way there’s a record besides the physical receipt. Just in case.

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