Tax Time Organization Tips for Agents
No one likes tax time as it’s often a stressful time of year. If you’re an entrepreneur and business owner, that stress and workload can double, or worse!
As a real estate agent and self-employed individual, you understand that no taxes are withheld from you. However, if you prepare all year long for tax season and even get into the habit of making quarterly estimated tax payments, your stress level can be much less come April. But of course, there’s much more to it than that.
First, find yourself a trusted and experienced tax accountant — they’ll be able to help you determine what you need for your business. Without professional tax advice, you may miss out on items you need to focus on and prepare for filing.
Next: Track expenses and deductions. This is a challenging yet valuable part of your business — record keeping is time-consuming but necessary to be successful. Throwing everything into a box may be the perfect system for some, but not for others. If you plan and participate in daily, weekly, and monthly organizational steps, each April won’t be much of a surprise.
Here are a few simple steps to help stay organized and stay prepared for tax season:
- Declutter. You have to manage so much during your day! Clean off your desk, clean out your trunk — get rid of the clutter that can distract you from tasks at hand.
- Document everything. Make sure you have notes, copies, properly labeled screenshots — whatever it takes save records to file away for tax season.
- Digitize. Using apps on your phone or mobile device that instantly organize your paperwork into PDF or other file types is a must. Many good CRMs have built-in functionality just for this so you can reference stored documents
Setting up a filing system, whether digital or with paper, is essential. Organizing checks and credit card statements and the like are your first steps to decluttering and even digitizing. Many important documents need to be kept for several years; keeping the receipts for items that depreciate over time such as an automobile, office equipment, and furniture, need to be labeled and saved as you’ll need this paperwork for several years.
To assist you with all of this organization are several apps for your mobile devices. Besides your trusted CRM that you already use, you can search for, and test out — often with free trials — apps such as:
- Evernote and Notion: note-taking and organization, document retention
- Expensify and Shoeboxed: receipt and income categorization and storage, business expense tracking, and more
With a bit of planning and a lot of practice, you can get organized and stay on track all year long. If you’re not organized, you may miss many of the important deductions you can take each tax year. With conscious participation by your and your tax advisor, you’ll quickly get to where you spend less time buried in paperwork and more time getting out with clients!
Always check with your tax professional before making any financial decisions and for allowable deductions. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Equitable Title does not promote or endorse any product that may be mentioned.