Tax Tips For Self Employed Workers

Tax Tips For Self Employed self employment taxesTax time is right around the corner. I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you that though.

If you are like me, it’s probably a time that you dread. I’ve always dreaded tax time though, not just since I’ve switched to being fully self employed.

I am just an unorganized person. No matter how organized I actually am, compiling everything still overwhelms for me. And now that I am self employed, there are many more things to compile, such as business expenses that I’ve incurred over the past year.

Luckily, the hard part should already be done. As a self-employed person, you should already be paying quarterly estimated taxes, which will include your estimated self employment taxes. Let’s just hope that you don’t owe any more than that though!

Here are my tax tips for self employed workers, freelancers, side hustlers, and more. As always, I am not a tax professional so please contact one if you have any questions.

Gather all of your documents.

My first of my tax tips for self employed workers is to gather all important business-related documents that you need.

If you haven’t already, you need to make sure you actually have all of the documents you need in order to file your taxes. These should all be easily accessible. Some like to keep paper copies, whereas others might scan all checks and receipts onto their computer. Either choice is fine, just make sure everything is kept safe and secure so that it is readily available once tax time comes rolling around.

Some of the documents and receipts that you might need to gather, depending on your business and your situation, include:

  • Health insurance and medical expenses.
  • Retirement contributions.
  • Expenses from supplies, equipment, and so on.
  • Information related to home office expenses if you plan on deducting that. That could include internet fees, “rent,” and more.
  • Receipts from business-related meals.
  • Receipts and expenses from business-related travel, such as traveling to a business conference.

Organize your documents.

After you gather all of your tax documents, you need to organize them.

Throwing them all in a pile is usually not enough unless you want to drive your accountant crazy. It just makes everything easier on everyone to have them organized.

For me, I like to write right on the receipt or document what the expense was for if it is not obvious. I also like to write why the expense was needed for the business so that I do not forget. This is also helpful in case you get audited so that you can easily explain everything and not feel lost because you cannot remember something from years ago.

Do you need a loan in the near future? 

For us, one of the things we have been thinking about a lot is how much we should deduct from our taxes. Since we want to buy a house within the next year or two, writing everything off that is an actual business expense is not always a good idea since it can lower your net income that the bank will use in order to qualify you for a mortgage.

In fact, I even contacted a mortgage professional, and even the amount that I put into my SEP retirement account lowers my net income and can hurt me when it comes to getting approved for a home loan because it shows that my net income is lower than it is.

Due to this, you should talk to your accountant about what your options may be. You may have to pay higher income and self employment taxes over the next 1-2 years in order to get approved for a home loan if that is your goal.

Pay your final quarterly payment.

If you haven’t yet, the final quarterly payment for your taxes is due on January 15, 2015. However, you do not have to make the payment that is due on this date if you file your 2014 tax return by February 2, 2015. You must pay the whole balance due with your return on this date as well if you choose this option.

If you are new to the self-employment world, then I really hope you have been saving for and paying your quarterly taxes because income and self employment taxes can be a doozy.

What tax tips for self employed workers do you have to share?

 

How To Be More Productive At Work

How To Be More Productive At WorkEven though this blog is all about diversifying your income streams and I now work for myself, I do think that diversifying your income can include working for someone else.

According to Salary.com, 69% of respondents to a survey they took stated they waste time at work every single day. Around 62% of survey takers reported that they waste around 30 minutes to 1 hour daily, 22% reported that they waste around 2 to 3 hours daily, and 4% reported that they waste 4 HOURS or more each day.

That is a ton of time wasted!

Wasting time at work is something I don’t think should be done. Sure, breaks every now and then just happen, but wasting a few hours every single day definitely seems excessive when you are being paid to work.

You probably are not getting all of your work done, your boss probably knows that you are wasting time and does not see you as a valuable employee, and more. Also, you might even be annoying your coworkers if they have to pull your weight when it comes to tasks that need to be completed.

Here are my tips to be more productive at work so that you are a more productive worker:

1. Turn off your cell phone.

When at work, you probably do not need your personal cell phone. It might be best just to put it away or turn it off so that you can get more work done. Just having it right on your desk may cause you to waste more time and be less productive at work.

2. Don’t bother with social media.

Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot get onto social media without wasting a lot of time.

Spending just a “few minutes” on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest is just not realistic for me. So, instead I just try to avoid it altogether and save it for a designated time, after the work I need to do is completed.

A lot of wasted time at work is spent on social media. You should try stepping away from it. Maybe even put a block on it on your work computer.

3. Figure out why you waste so much time at work.

Many people who took the survey mentioned above claimed they wasted time because they are bored or because they do not like the work they do.

If either of those are your reasons, then you need to find a solution so that you can get more work done. I’m assuming that it probably wouldn’t be good if you lost your job, so figuring out a solution is important.

4. Think about the “small” breaks you are taking.

Many people take small, five to ten minute, breaks throughout the day. Is that really needed though? Are these breaks actually small? Do they help or no?

I used to work with someone who would constantly take smoke breaks. I’m talking one or two every hour, at the very least. Over a full work day, that amount of time adds up very quickly. If you need to smoke that much while you are working then you need to figure out why because you are killing your body!

5. Avoid workplace gossip.

So much time is wasted because of gossiping. Does that really help anyone? Sure, some social interaction is important each day, and your work environment most likely allows for that. However, if you are just chatting with your coworkers all day long and not actually working at all, then this can be a big time waster.

How much time do you waste at work each day? Come on, let’s be honest here!

How To Keep Busy During Slow Business Times

business is slow Office Desk PictureThe days and weeks around the holidays are usually when my business is slow. I know they are usually slow for some other businesses not related to retail as well.

These few weeks as a self-employed person can make a new self-employed worker unmotivated because of the possible lower income during these times.

However, even if work is slow, there are probably some things you can still do in order to stay busy so that you can continue to improve your business.

Just because your income may be lower does not mean that you should just completely give up (unless you want to take a break, of course).

Organize when your business is slow.

If you are like me, there is probably something related to organizing that you can do during slow business times. You might want to look into organizing any paperwork, organizing your emails, getting ready for tax season, or something else.

Since December is usually my slow business time, I usually have plenty of organizing I can do that is related to taxes. Even though I stay fairly organized throughout the year, there is usually something I can improve with my organization skills.

Send cards to clients and customers.

Whether it be the holidays or you know it’s a client’s business anniversary, you may have time to send out cards to them. This can be a nice little gesture that shows you are happy to have received their business. It doesn’t take long either. It would most likely just take a few minutes for each card.

For my old day job, we used to send out holiday cards to all of our clients, and we had around 1,000 clients. That was not a fun time each year! However, I know the clients appreciated it. Plus, for most small businesses, there are probably not as many clients.

If you don’t have time for cards, then just a simple email following up or seeing how an old client is doing is something you can do as well.

Brush up old work when your business is slow.

Currently for me, one thing I am working on is brushing up old blog posts since business is slow. If you have a blog for yourself or your business, then you might want to do the same.

I am going through my old posts, cleaning up old links, adding better images, and more. There are many more things I still need to do, but it’s nice having completed what I’ve done so far!

Work on your networking when your business is slow.

If you have a lot of free time when your business is slow, then networking is something that pretty much everyone can always spend a little more time on, especially if you need more business.

Improve your Pinterest skills, reach out to others on Twitter, schedule engaging posts on Facebook, and more.

Take a vacation when your business is slow.

Lastly, during slow times a vacation can be one of the best things.

This way you know that you are not missing out on any business, and you can mostly likely actually enjoy your vacation. I know many people who wait until their slow times to take their vacations.

How do you keep busy during slow business times?

When are your slow times usually (whether you own your business or if you work for someone else)?