imagesIt doesn’t take Ned Stark (from HBO’s Game of Thrones) to remind us that we’re more than half way through the year and therefore closer to worrying about tax time.  If you are a registered business, freelancer or independent contractor, for all intents and purposes, you are considered a business…at least the IRS would consider you one. That means that you will have to fill out tax forms identifying your Business or Self employment income and related expenses.

If you haven’t started, it’s not too late to track your Business Income and Expenses so that you’re not singing the “Tax Time Blues”. Tax season is the one time of year when we are forced to face and deal directly with our finances whether we like it or not! Over the past two weeks, I’ve been discussing other instances when artists and creatives tend to be more focused on their finances, the “Summer” blues and the “My production/project needs more funding” blues.  But nothing is more nerve wracking and anxiety provoking than preparing for “the talk” with your tax person.  It can be emotional but if prepared, it really does not have to be.

These are 3 things you can do TODAY to organize and manage your business and/or personal finances and avoid the tax time blues.

  1.  Download and Set up a Personal Finance app like Mint, HomeBudget, Spendr, Expensify, Pocket Expense or MEnvelopes. The application and set up should take 30 minutes and allow you to at least:
    • Set up accounts that mimick Checking/Savings/Wallet accounts
    • Track expenses (click here for a list of potential tax deductible business expenses).
    • Create and monitor a budget
    • Export data into a CSV, spreadsheet or PDF format
  2. Purchase a small receipt holder from CVS, Walgreen, Target, Walmart, Office Maccordion folderax and file your business receipts by month.  This way you’ll have records kept in one place.  If payment confirmations and receipts are accessible online then, create a file on your computer where all of your invoices and payment confirmations are stored.
  3. Each week, schedule a 1-2hr appointment with yourself to review your personal finance app and make sure all receipts for business expenses are properly filed.Now get to it!!! And…..please share your progress and chosen mobile application with us by commenting on this post.