Writing Nowadays–Tax Time!

Steven Harper PiziksIt’s tax time!

No, really, it is. When you’re a writer, it’s always tax time. Why? Because so many things you do or buy qualify as deductions. But you have to keep track of them.

Mileage when you drive downtown for some research is a deduction. Any and all travel expenses (hotel, food, mileage, airfare) to and from writing-related trips such as conventions, conferences, and research trips are deductions. Do you have an area of your house or apartment that’s used only as an office? You can deduct that. New office supplies are deductions. Bought a new computer, pad, or smart phone that you use in any way for your writing? Deduction! Find a lovely new print to hang on your office wall? Deduction! Did you put a new roof on your house, the house with a home office in it? The part of that roof that covers your office is a deduction! A percentage of your electricity, heat, and water are a deduction. Are you a member of any writers organizations? The dues are a deduction.

(Caveat: I am not accountant or a tax attorney.)

But you have to keep track of it all. That’s why it’s ALWAYS tax time.

I used to keep all my receipts in a set of folders labeled “travel” “food” “research” “dues” and so on, and it always took three or more hours of painful adding to get everything together in February. (I do my taxes early.)

Then I finally realized I had this little computer I carried with me everywhere. Wasn’t there an app that would do all this for me as I went? Why yes–there was. I did a little research into apps that kept track of expenses, chose one that looked like it would work best for me, and started the habit of using it.

The app, incidentally, lets me take and store photos of receipts. The IRS has allowed electronic pictures and copies of receipts for a long, long time, which saves on storage space! And I can print them from e-storage if the IRS gets really picky and demands a paper copy.

At any rate, whenever I run up against a deductible expense, I enter into my app and photograph the receipt on the spot. Done! At the end of the tax year, the app totals up all the categories for me and I have everything I need for taxes.

Because it’s always tax time.

–Steven Harper Piziks

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Writing Nowadays–Tax Time! — 5 Comments

  1. If only I had a smart phone!

    I’ve just finished 1 book and need a break before I start another. Time for bookkeeping. I still cling to paper receipts, notes on calendars, check register, and spread sheets. At least I now put all my receipts in a folder. Better than letting them pile up on a corner of the desk.

    • I use Expense Manager. It allows you to add categories and customize them as you like. I used to use Expensify, but it wasn’t flexible enough, though Expensify has an excellent mileage counter that can use your phone’s GPS to keep track of how far you drove, or it’ll take a photo of your odometer and convert it to numbers within the app.