I'm Jessica Lauren - a wedding photographer for happy couples who are stoked about their wedding day! I couldn't be more thrilled that you stopped by! This is where I share bits and pieces of my passionate heart, spontaneous adventures, and pretty pictures of my rad clients! Feel free to grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile! xoxo
Let me start this post by saying this – I am NOT a tax expert. If you want professional, legal, expert tax advice – I would 10/10 recommend hiring an accountant! However, I had posted on Instagram last week about how stoked I was to be done with taxes for the year and I got a TON of questions about what I do! So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put together a blog post on how I prepared for tax season – but keep in mind that I am just a small business owner who is doing everything I can to be organized and somewhat put together in the finance and tax department. ;) None of this is too revolutionary!
That being said, ever since I started my business, taxes have been a bit of a burden for me. And to this day, they still aren’t my favorite things in the world. However, they don’t intimidate me like they used to! There are a few things I’ve learned that help me keep my sanity and not feel like the world is ending come tax season. My hope is that, similarly, they will help you feel like you’re in control of your taxes instead of them controlling you.
A foundational part of me keeping all of my finances in order is having a completely separate bank account for my business. This allows me to keep everything organized – I never spend any money personally out of my business account – only business purchases come out of that account and only business income goes in. This gives me the freedom to keep a tight eye on my finances without muddling everything with personal expenses.
However, what I believe is the BIGGEST key to helping me stay on top of the back end of my business are monthly duty days. Once a month I schedule a day where I focus on tidying up the financial end of my business.
Things that happen on monthly duty day include some of the following:
This may seem like a LOT of things, but truthfully if you’re diligent it can be done in one afternoon and then you’re done! And honestly, it’s the most relieving and exciting feeling when you feel like you are on top of your game.
Once January comes around after a new year, I send out 1099’s to any subcontractors I paid over $600 (second shooters, editors, etc), gather all my bank statements, print out a yearly mileage record, gather charitable contribution statements, 1099-INT forms, and I’m pretty much set! Taxes look different for everyone depending on if you’re married, have kids, own a house, etc. But I can guarantee that if you implement a disciplined system with how you handle and keep track of your finances, when tax season rolls around you will feel like a NEW person!
Nothing in my system is magical, it’s simply just taking a few days a year to organize and keep track of a few things.
I hope this is helpful as you head into a new tax season! ;)
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