Are you Getting the Most out of Your Online Receipt Organizer?

You’re not still using this to organize your receipts, are you? (Wait a second – is that velcro?)

Just like Photoshop, your Shoeboxed online receipt organizer is packed with features you probably haven’t even tried yet. Unlike Photoshop, Shoeboxed is intuitive, user-friendly and never requires the tearing out of hair or a desperate 4am phone call to your web designer (“I just want to make the background green! Green, I tell you!”). Continue reading “Are you Getting the Most out of Your Online Receipt Organizer?”

How to Organize your Business Tax Write Offs While Traveling

photo credit: epicatravel.com

When you’re traveling for work, you’ve already got a lot on your mind and your plate. In addition to getting to the airport (which is a total pain in like, every city, right? Why is that?), you have to pray your boss or assistant booked you in business class, sigh exasperatedly when you find out they haven’t, attempt to get some work done (yeah, right) on the plane, juggle shuttles and/or rental cars, check in to your hotel…all that madness, and you haven’t even begun the conference/meeting/event that’s brought you to wherever you’re traveling! How’s a savvy business traveler supposed to keep track of all the juicy business tax write offs you know you’re missing out on?

Luckily, it’s become increasingly easy to keep track of business tax write offs while you’re on the go. Gone are the days of missing out on valuable returns simply because you don’t have time to track and organize everything while you’re traveling. You also don’t have to lag behind your travel companions and business associates by staying back in the hotel room, shuffling receipts around and tracking expenses on an Excel spreadsheet. With Shoeboxed.com’s smartphone app, one click automatically captures, saves, and organizes all of your business tax write offs in your Shoeboxed account. Not only will you save time while traveling, you’ll be free of the anxiety of coming home with a briefcase-full of receipts to deal with.

Any business trip is chock full of legitimate business tax write offs, many of which are constantly overlooked for small business owners. First of all, make sure you’re not already being reimbursed by your company for things like airfare and your hotel room – the IRS doesn’t like double dipping! If, as the owner of your own company, things like plane tickets and hotel stays are coming out of your own pocket, they are deductible. If you have several employees or other business associates traveling with you, their expenses count as business tax write offs as well, as long as they’re not friends or family (If you do have a family member that’s also an employee, that’s fine).

Use the Shoeboxed app to scan receipts for the small expenses you incur while traveling, too. Things like dry cleaning, entertainment, meals, snacks, using the hotel’s business center, and the cost of staying over an extra night in order to get a better deal on airfare are all deductible. Phone calls made to clients or potential clients are deductible too, and are easily recordable by scanning your hotel bill into your Shoeboxed account. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your receipts from tolls, gas stations, taxi cabs, and keep track of your mileage once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Business tax write offs are no longer time consuming, impossible to track, or a huge headache waiting for you when you get home from traveling. With Shoeboxed.com, every deductible penny spent while traveling for business is automatically organized in your Shoeboxed account, which is accessible from anywhere you are. So go ahead – take that business trip, and concentrate on what’s really important: the hotel’s post-conference Happy Hour. Wait…I mean the conference itself. Really.

What’s your absolute favorite business tax write off?

What business tax write off surprised you most to learn about?

Have Your Small Business Expenses Gotten Lost in The Matrix?

photo credit: thematrix101.com

If you take the blue pill, all of your insurance premiums qualify as small business tax write-offs. If you take the red pill, you can deduct your Shoeboxed.com membership. Wait a second…what if Neo took both pills at the same time? In the 1999 action movie The Matrix (that’s right, we’re taking it back to the original), our hero Neo must determine what’s fantasy (“the matrix”), what’s reality, and what to do about it all. Can you imagine keeping track of small business expenses with that kind of uncertainty? Yet so many small business owners keep track of their business expenses as if they’re operating within some kind of mysterious matrix.  What can I write off? What doesn’t count? In an effort to stay off the IRS’s radar, they end up losing out on a lot of money every year. Here is a refresher course on some commonly confused business expenses:

1. Health Insurance

If you’re a small business owner and are self-employed, you can deduct the entire cost of your health insurance payments – that’s right, 100%! Just be careful if you’re a new startup company, or if your business didn’t turn a profit in its first year. You can’t deduct more than the amount of your net profit for that year. And if you’re married, things get both better and worse – just like discovering the matrix, right? For better, if your spouse is employed by you, you can also deduct their health insurance as part of your business expenses. For worse? If you had the option of going on your spouse’s health insurance, you’re not allowed to pay for your own and then write it off.

2. Phone Calls

Neo and Trinity were able to artfully avoid the Agents simply by making a phone call. While it may not be quite as easy to find a payphone nowadays, it is possible to make your phone calls work for you in terms of your business expenses. The key is to get specific. Before scanning or mailing your phone bill to the folks at Shoeboxed, circle each phone call that was a business call. That way your totals will be 100% tax deductible at the end of the year. You can also get a phone (mobile or landline) that is totally dedicated to business-only calls. Just make sure you really only use it for business calls, in case Big Brother (or Agent Smith) is listening. If you do the first option, you’re not able to include all of those taxes and surcharges in your write-off, but if you get a separate line, you may be able to do so.

3. Meals

Neo and the crew could only enjoy a nice steak when they were in the matrix. In the real world, they consumed an oatmeal-esque slop that looked and smelled worse than prison food. While you’re traveling and keeping track of your business expenses, don’t forget that there is a very important difference between where you sleep and where you dine. The cost of your hotel room – down to what you tipped the employee who helped with your bags – is 100% deductible. However, your meals are only half off. Even if you’re entertaining clients or having a lunch meeting that is completely and utterly work-related (think Neo meeting Morpheus for the first time), Uncle Sam only allows for 50% of those costs to count as tax write-offs. So enjoy the fanciest hotels that the matrix has to offer, but return to the ship when it’s time for your oatmeal.