Tag Archives: paperwork

What do I need for tax time?

Hopefully you have been keeping track of all your bills for the year, and that will make your task easier.  Gather up everything that you have and take it with you to whoever does your taxes, or if you do your own, it will help as well.

Organize your paperwork by type – expenses together, sales together, etc – and add each one up.  You may also have categories such as advertising, supplies, giveaways and others.

Mileage – Figure out how many miles you drove, and what how many are business and how many are personal

Household Bills – If you can use any of your household bills, take these as well

House Costs – Depending on where you live, you may be able to deduct a portion of your house.  If so, you need to figure out what portion of your home is used for business.

Remember, January 1 is a new year, so you need to start a new box of paperwork.

  • Note:  I am not a tax accountant, so make sure to talk to your tax preparer for advice.

What paperwork do I need at a direct sales party?


Image by luxomedia via Flickr

When it comes to doing a direct sales party or event and the paperwork I bring along, sometimes I feel that I am hauling an entire desk!  But over time, I have learnt to streamline and do not bring nearly as much as I used to.  I can carry it all in one bag that would be about the size of a grocery bag which allows me to bring in my demo products and paper in one trip.

This is what I carry:

  • Pencil Case – Pens, pencils, business cards, name tag, calculator
  • Envelopes – 3 Hostess packages, 3 recruit packages, 3 fundraiser packages
  • 3 catalogues
  • Order forms
  • Folder to collect paper in
  • Preference sheets
  • Notepaper

This is it.  It sounds like a lot, but when it is packed up, it is not so bad.  Now is a great time to stock up on things with the back to school specials on!  I picked up a pretty folder for a buck and I have seen pencil cases and staplers on sale as well.  Don’t forget the pens!

Did I miss one of your essentials?  Share it here!

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Keeping Track of Papers for Tax Time

Come tax time, if you cannot find the paperwork, then it is hard to claim it.  You can, but if you get audited, they are going to want to see the paper to back up your claim.  For this reason, it is a good idea to keep organized through the year so when the tax season sneaks up, you are ready for it.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Envelopes/Folders – You can organize your direct sales paperwork in a variety of ways. For me, I have found that having a large brown envelope is a great way to do it.  I have one envelope per month for sales and have it organized as such – party summary (from my company’s backoffice) and receipts relating to the party attached.  I also write the order number on the receipt just in case they get disconnected.  As I do not have a lot of expenses beyond what I purchase from my direct sales company, I have just one envelope for expenses.  I could easily itemize these out by month or by type.

Electronic Files – Just like my paper files, I have a folder on my computer for all my electronic invoices.  I have them sorted out by type of invoice (party, supplies, long distance, credit card) and sort them into those folders and make sure each file is labeled by date.  A few clicks and I am able to find anything that I need.

Excel Spreadsheet – I do all my accounting via Excel spreadsheet as I find it easier than using software.  But, software definitely has its advantages such as being able to prepare a report for you at yearend to use for your taxes.  That said, if you are not comfortable with either option, a spreadsheet with a list of various expenses is a good idea to prepare for your tax accountant.  I recommend a few columns though:  Item, Purpose, Date, Amount less tax, Tax.  This will help your accountant classify the expenses and record them in the correct spot.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is keep on top of your paperwork and have it sorted out.  This creates less stress later on and you will likely find it helpful throughout the year.

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How should I organize my paperwork?

There are different opinions in regards to this question.  The easiest answer is that you should use whatever system works for you.  That being said, here are some ideas to get you started.

I personally like using envelopes, so you will want to invest in many envelopes which will hold 8 ½ x 11 paper.  I bought a large box at Costco for around 10 dollars.

If your business is relatively small, you can likely bundle everything up by month.

Create an envelope/folder per month; put everything in it –sales receipts, purchases, bills

Label and set aside at the end of the month

If your business is bigger, and you generate more paperwork then you need to do a bit more filing

Create an envelope for each event/party you do – sales slips, purchases

Create an envelope for your expenses for the month

Put both into a folder for the month, or file somewhere by month

One tip, any receipt you get on thermal paper, photocopy or scan as they will fade over time.

Do you have a method that works better?  If so, please share or send it to me for posting!