REBECCA WILCHER IS THE AMAZINGLY TALENTED, DC BASED, WEDDING AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER BEHIND REBECCA WILCHER PHOTOGRAPHY . SHE'S A TOTAL OPTIMIST, LOVER OF LIFE, AND CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF PEOPLE, ROAD-TRIPS AND LOVE STORIES.
AHEAD, REBECCA SHARES HER INSIGHT ON WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE (YEAR-ROUND) WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR BUSINESS TAXES.
These two words will send a shiver down the spine of even the most seasoned entrepreneur. For several weeks in the dead of winter, business owners will find themselves swimming in tax forms and accounting documents, trying to make sense of the tax code and what it means for their business.
If just thinking about filing your taxes has you close to hyperventilating, we understand! But by making a plan and asking for help, we can all get through tax season after tax season together! The best thing to do is: Be Proactive, Not Reactive!
First, a RINGLET disclaimer: We’re not accountants, so we won’t try to tell you about what deductions you might be eligible for or what your legal requirements will be. But we are pretty fantastic at getting things organized to reduce stress for our clients. Need a game plan to tackle the mountain ahead? You’ve come to the right place!
1. Gather Your Team
Whether you do so regularly or only around this time of year, every business should work with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to make sure their tax filings follow federal, state, and local requirements. In addition to your accountant, you may also work with an internal or outside bookkeeper for your business’s day-to-day financial management.
Early January is the time to get your team together, make sure everyone has what they need, and set tasks and deadlines for each person.
Talk through what documents or information your accountant may be waiting for from your bookkeeper, what each of them needs from you, and set deadlines to have those items accomplished. Then set calendar reminders for those deadlines so you can follow up and make sure things are moving along on schedule.
2. Assemble Your Paperwork
In your tax team meeting, your accountant should be able to list what documents they’ll need from you in order to complete your tax filing. This will likely include last year’s tax return, payroll documents (form W-2) for all employees, documentation (Form 1099-MISC) for payments to any contractors or vendors, and records of any estimated taxes you’ve already made.
Your accountant will also need a record of all expenses—something you’ve likely tracked throughout the year through an accounting software like Freshbooks or Quickbooks. If you’ve been working with a bookkeeper throughout the year, they should be able to help you find or prepare this documentation for your accountant.
3. Get It Done Early!
We can’t stress this enough. The sooner you can get your taxes for the year filed and done, the better off you will be.
It’s likely that you aren’t your accountant’s only client, and most of their clients will be procrastinating until the last minute to get everything done. If you wait until late March or early April, you’ll be lucky to get so much as an email back from your accountant!
Getting ahead of schedule will not only minimize your stress as April 15th nears; it will also increase the chances that your accountant will have the time and brain space to comb through your books thoroughly for possible deductions, saving you money with the IRS.
4. Plan Ahead to Make Next Tax Season Even Easier
To some extent, unfortunately, the level of stress you feel this tax season will be tied to how you’ve managed your finances all year. If you’ve been consistently tracking income and expenses, kept all of your paperwork in line, and started the new year off ready to go, the process should be breezy. If you’re finding yourself saying “ten-ninety-what?” “W-who?” or just now looking for a business accountant, you’re likely in for a wild ride—for this year, at least.
That’s why there’s no time like the present to prepare for the future. As you’re going through the tax filing process this spring, keep a running list of what has been stressful this year that you’d like to avoid the next time around. Could working with a bookkeeper help you to keep your paperwork and expenses straight? Do you need a virtual assistant to keep the rest of the trains running while you focus on the business’s finances?
We love these apps to utilize organization for taxes year-round:
1. Quickbooks: I personally use Quick Books Self Employed as that one seems to be the best fit for my business. Through this app, I am able to link my cards, record, categorize expenses and attach receipts. It also automatically tracks milage and I categorize my trips every couple of days. Lastly, the app even estimates quarterly taxes, which I make sure I pay every quarter. This app was an absolute game changer for my business, in fact, my accountant could not believe just how organized I was this past tax season!
Some other ones include: MileIQ, Expensify and BizXpense.
Bottom line..... Tax season is a stressful time for every business owner. But if you plan ahead and ask for help, you can minimize the stress, accomplish what you need, and get back to growing the business you love.
Thanks Rebecca for you're awesome insight!
WANT TO RUN AN ORGANIZED EFFECTIVE BUSINESS?! TAKE IT FROM THESE LADIES:
LIZZIE LIPOVSKY IS A SUCCESS AND EMPOWERMENT BUSINESS COACH AT LIZZIE LIPOVSKY. SHE LOVES HELPING CREATIVES BREAK DOWN THEIR BIG GOALS AND ACCOMPLISH THEIR DREAMS!
AHEAD, LIZZIE SHARES THE INSIDE SCOOP ON WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO ORGANIZE YOUR TIME AND MAKE TIME FOR WHAT MATTERS MOST.
There are two kinds of things everyone needs in their life: things you're excited about and things that move you forward.
Do you ever ask yourself what you want from life? What are your answers?
Here are a few of mine.
1) Thriving business
2) Epic love relationship
3) Lots of time and money to invest with whomever/wherever I desire
4) Being able to do the splits (yay!!)
All the things above excite me AND move me forward.
To talk about an example above...if I desire an epic love relationship...why have I sworn off dating?! Wtf. We can make funny decisions when we forget our most important priorities or values.
(I thought I needed to focus on my biz and that I "didn't have time" for a relationship. Ergo, no time for men. But then I "remembered" that actually having love is even more important to me than an amazing biz, even AS IMPORTANT as having a wonderful, impactful business is!! Enter the possibility (and actually now the reality) of a beautiful man who is devoted to me!)
So, what are your goals?
One of your goals might be a super small "enjoyment" goal, like eating out once a week - it might not "move you forward" but it IS something that excites you.
And life is meant to be enjoyed
I have been learning this on a deeper level recently. If you're anything like me, you grew up feeling guilt around enjoying things. Yikes. I remember even having a conversation with someone when I was TWENTY SIX around whether pleasure as pleasure was by nature hedonistic. *eye roll*
(Btw, the answer is NO, it's not. It's beautiful and a gift of life. It's a wrongful pursuit of pleasure that can makes go wrong.)
Now on the other hand, to use the eating out example...if you are 400 pounds and want to be 175, eating out may or may not move you forward. So IF not THAT, what can you do that satisfies BOTH of those criteria?
So a way I organize my time now is this: It must meet this criteria: Does this excite me? Does this move me forward? And why the heck am I making up in my mind that other people are judging me?
(Sub-questions: Do I actually care about doing this? Why am I doing it? Do I really care what they think? Who really cares what they think? Why the hell do I care what they think? Why am I not making what IIIIII think the priority? Dang, I'm doing what I want; they can go jump off a bridge.)
Caring about MY answers to the above questions helps me live MY life in a way aligned with MY visions and goals. 1) Am I REALLY enjoying MY LIFE, which is RIGHT NOW, not tomorrow, not yesterday... it's RIGHT NOW. How can I enjoy it more? 2) And, am I creating a better future for myself?
While not life's end-all and be-all, these questions are ESSENTIAL for maximizing and making your life as rich as possible.
So what do YOU desire?
.....whether it’s a banging biz, to be a responsible caring daughter or friend, or a million bucks? Say ta-ta to everything else that is unsupportive of your mission or compromises the integrity of your journey.