Tech Tips for Tax Time

When you have a small business, it’s easy to get so caught up in day to day activities that you neglect tracking your tax deductions. In the long run, you can save yourself money, as well as headaches by making sure you’re including all possible expenses. Even pennies add up. If you’re ignoring the bills you put into your petty cash fund, or mindlessly shelling out coins for copies, it’s time to rethink your process. There are many of ways to use technology to do this, and it might even make it a little bit fun, especially if you are a tech geek like I am.

One helpful method to keep track of assets, or deficits, is to keep all receipts, both business and personal, and review them at the end of the month. When I do this, I get a second opportunity to look at each on-the-go purchase, making sure I’m not overlooking a business expense. To cut down on paper clutter you can scan all of your receipts and create appropriate folders on your computer to digitally store these for later reference. Many smart phones have scanner apps as well. This makes it easy to scan and store all of your receipts right when you get them. If you use Evernote, which is an advanced note taking app for your computer and phone that allows you to attach recordings, documents, and photos to your notes, you can scan your receipt and attach it to the appropriate category. You can then set this up so it syncs with your computer and you will never lose another receipt again!

Here are a few expenses that many people overlook because they seem small or insignificant. However, these expenses can really add up:

  • Automobile and local travel: Parking meters, highway tolls, and fares for buses, trains or ferries are all tax deductible. Take note of these especially when attending meetings, training, or workshops.
  • Copy, scan and fax services. Naturally, you will include business equipment purchases in your deductions. But also remember to keep a receipt whenever you use providers for these services.
  • Newsletters and fliers. Both print and email campaigns should be tracked.
  • Website and blog expenses. From time to time, I might buy website banners or royalty-free photos. Or I may sign up with sites or services that promote my blog.
  • Networking and Memberships. Don’t forget those organizations you belong to for business purposes. Track mileage to events near and far, even a trip down the block to meet an associate for coffee. Be assertive about asking the barista for a receipt, even for a single beverage. Look at all costs associated with your activities, from membership fees to meals to dinner auctions.

A little bit of work up-front can really save you time and money come tax time. With the rise of smart phones and the hundreds of apps now available there are many ways to do this.

Which apps do you recommend for keeping track of taxes for small businesses?

Article Written by: Lili Miller (Google+)

Twitter: @SimplyLili1717

SimplyLili is a PhD student in Social Psychology, and the eccentric author of Essell Magazine; created to disperse knowledge on a plethora of topics in a minimalist and humorous way. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and her 3 fave things are blogging, copywriting, and pugs.

Filed in: Taxes, Technology
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