Taxes are due April 15 — less than a month away. What’s that, you say? You haven’t even….um….started?
Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be ok. At least you didn’t wait until 11:53pm on the 15th, right? As I’m writing this article, you have 28 days, 672 hours, 40,320 minutes, or 24,19,200 seconds to finish your taxes. That’s puh-lenty of time!
You may be down to the wire, but follow our small business tax attack plan and ensure your taxes are finished faster than you can say “Uncle Sam!”
1. Create a schedule
Okay, you only have a few weeks to finish your taxes. But you still have a life to live and a business to run. You’re not going to spend 24/7 on your taxes, so how much time will you have to spend?
Create a schedule for the next month and stick to it. You might only need to spend 15 minutes a day to finish on time, or you might need to spend 2 hours per day. Take stock of what’s in store for you, tax-wise, and commit to spending the appropriate amount of time each day getting the job done.
Keep in mind that you’ll stay motivated if you schedule frequent, short intervals as opposed to setting aside an entire weekend for a tax marathon!
2. Get everything online
First thing’s first: get everything in one place. That may mean collecting hard copy stacks of bank statements and receipts from the glove compartment of your car, and piling them in front of your scanner or stuffing them in a Magic Envelope.
It may just mean making sure that all digital documents have been sent to your Shoeboxed account.
No matter what stage of the game you’re in, the goal should be to get all tax documents – paper or digital – into a single location where they’re easy to view, edit and organize.
Scan hard copies, snap photos of receipts using the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker, and get everything where you can see it.
3. Catch up on categories
Every receipt and document needs to be labeled with a category. This will create an accurate picture of your small business write-offs as well as your income.
Go through your Shoeboxed account and search for any receipts or documents that are marked “uncategorized.” Assign them an appropriate category to make sure you haven’t missed any important deductions, then move on to step 4.
4. Create reports
As a small business owner, you have a lot of different tax areas to consider, including write-offs, your employee salaries, 1099s, your business revenue and all sorts of other financial details that need to be accounted for.
Use Shoeboxed to generate easy reports in the format of your choice that you can share with your tax professional. The PDF report will include a table of expenses with date, total, payment type and category information, along with the digital images of your receipts.
These reports can then be emailed to your tax professional instead of sending him or her envelopes packed with paper receipts (and besides, you don’t have time to mail stuff – we’re down to the wire here!).
5. Check for extras
Did you track expenses anywhere else besides your Shoeboxed account? You might have saved certain emails, created reminder lists for yourself, or have a desktop folder labeled “taxes” that needs to be sorted. Check these additional sources and see if there is anything not accounted for on your report.
You can also download a copy of your bank statements from each month of the year, and go through each one line by line. Seeing your bank statements will remind you of expenses you may have forgotten about, as will reviewing credit card statements and emailed receipts.
6. Submit your report
Submit your completed reports to your tax professional, and be sure to respond to all subsequent emails promptly. Your only job now is to answer any questions that may arise, and provide receipts if necessary. Remember that you can easily search for individual receipts in your Shoeboxed account to find the exact receipt you need.
Sha-zam! Your taxes are as good as done. Now go have a latte or take a nap.
What’s your insider secret for finishing taxes fast?