It’s almost tax season! I know, most of us, as photographers, aren’t the best business keepers but we’re still left with the many hats of also being accountants for ourselves. So, as part of the prep. We get to work on prepping all the info for taxes, and with that, comes back tracking through our records (because we don’t keep on top of them through fall right?!).
My biggest piece of advice is to invest in Quickbooks to keep you organized. I wrote a huge piece about my love for Quickbooks awhile back you can go read then stop back here to check out some deductions you might have missed or not thought of.
Mileage. I know, we all stink at keeping track of it. But, with technology comes easier ways to keep track of it all! Look at apps for your phone that you can “turn on” or off for trips for your business.
Home Office Deduction. Most don’t remember that they can use their home office as part of your business expenses. Ask your accountant, but basically, you calculate what percentage of your home is used exclusively for your photography business to determine what percentage of your housing expenses you may deduct. If you have another place of business, such as a photography studio, you can’t deduct that expense as well.
Phone. I realize it’s a complete hassle to have a personal phone as well as business phone. So most of us photographers use one phone for it all!
Internet. Along with those phone calls, I know a lot of you are busy working your business on social media! Don’t forget to submit those internet expenses!
Software. You run some type of editing program, probably Adobe LR or PS but don’t forget about the other software you might be purchasing like Honeybook, Quickbooks, Shootproof, AlbumStomp, Animoto, Microsoft Word or others! Those are huge write-offs you’re probably forgetting about.
Workshops/Retreats. I highly recommend once a year investing in yourself even if it’s only online education! I have my business structured that every two years I do an in person retreat or workshop and the off years I do online education or mentoring to keep my business evolving. Don’t forget those tiny little trip expenses!
Equipment. I have a rotation set-up to continuously keep my equipment new and upgraded so mine works great but if you buy new camera bodies, lenses, camera bags, memory cards, props don’t forget to enter those into your expenses.
Marketing. Google is where I invest the most but I do have a few other places I advertise not including those giveaways I always offer to community events. While you may not advertise much, those small boosts from Facebook do add up. I do a simple summary to see what I spend each year and it’s really surprising what budget you have versus the rate of return from those ads.
Business Fees. Those fees to transfer funds to your account, atm fees, bank charges, credit card transaction fees. Don’t forget to add those suckers in! Trust me, they do add up!
Accountant. You may be forgetting to add the cost of paying your accountant who does your taxes back into your book work. Also, if you hire an attorney for anything don’t forget about those as well!
So there’s a list. It sounds overwhelming but just remind yourself to take it one step at a time. I try to stay on top of my book work as much as possible but fall always rolls around and even with the best of intentions we fall behind.
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