Maybe 2050 is a bit more realistic.
You don't want to rush into anything.
I'm not being particularly productive because I still have this awful flu/cold thing, and one of the confusing things about working for yourself is that you can't really go home sick.
my insertions aren't showing up in a new color.
Amy, are you looking at the "final" version, or the "final with markup" version?
Popping in to say Hi! Lookie, new thread! WOO!
Liese, it's so COOL to be able to look at your site and get a better idea of what you do with your kids! V. exciting!
Ok, now for the tough questions, since I am home today, since (a) I felt like crap still yesterday (and when I went into renew my tags -- last day of month -- I found out I couldn't because of something wack on my registration, and I HAVE to figure out what it is today and run and around and try to fix it before I get pulled over.
Also, I have NO classes today, so school can suck it, while I figure it out. Priorities! If I don't get it done today, I can't get it done till next Monday, and I am NOT driving around with expired tags and a possibly suspended license that long -- I think I forgot to pay a ticket.
Anyway, until I can call the car place at 9am, I have some questions I'd love to pose.
One -- setting up bookkeeping. I'm looking for possibilties: I need to keep track of expenses (for tax deductions), incoming fees, possibly billable time (I am using Togl as a tracking tool, but if I could link my tracking to an accounting program and be able to create invoices, that would be a plus, too).
And best of all, I am interested in easily navigable and free or supercheap. I won't need anything fancy till much later.
Also this while quarterly taxes thing...anyone have a good explantory link, or a calendar for when they are due, or something?
Yay -- I am so excited to have this thread!
For figuring and filing taxes, the IRS has a worksheet but I just use tax preparation software which includes the forms for self-employment (generally, Schedule C and Schedule SE). I follow the prompts to create a fake 1040 using my estimated income and expenses for the year (since my employer is already withholding for my day job, I don't include that in the calculation until the last quarter) and then pay one-fourth of that at the next quarterly due date; the program will link you to the forms and the addresses (you can pay on-line but I prefer to pay by check so I have a paper copy). I run the program every quarter to see how my estimate is holding up and determine what the next payment should be. For the last quarter, I include my income and withholding for my day job (using the figures on the most recent paycheck stub) and then adjust accordingly. I know that there is a chance that I'm either overpaying or underpaying and that I'm missing out on some accounting methods that might reduce my taxes but since my business is just a side business, I'm willing to accept those possibilities to keep it simple and not get stuck with a big tax bill every April. So far, it has worked.
One of the best things about using the tax prep software early in the year is that it alerted me to some expenses that I could deduct so I could track them for the rest of the year and not have to be hunting down 12 months worth of receipts in March.
One word of warning - when I run the forms quarterly, I assume that I will only have one exemption, will use the standard deduction and won't have any other tax credits. The end result is that I probably over-estimate my tax liability but I'm one of the ones who would rather get a refund than have to pay in April.
Which software do you use? Is it reasonably priced...and piggybacking onto that, is this the kind of thing I can write off if I only use it for business, not for personal record-keeping?
I originally used TurboTax but moved to H&R Block a few years ago when Turbo increased the price. There are people who feel strongly about one version or the other but my primary concern is price so I shopped for the best deal. This year, I downloaded H&R's Premium version for around $40 on a returning customer offer but I think you can still get it for less than $50. Since you are using the 2010 program as a tax planning aide, you might be able to deduct it as business expense but I'm not sure. If you use the 2011 program to actually compute and file taxes (which would include all of your sources of income), then it would be a deduction that is subject to the gross income limitation and so probably won't result in an actual deduction.
Thanks, lcat; I will check both of them out.
::bookmarking the ENTIRE THREAD::
I know, amych!
::lugs in cappucino machine and ratty, yet comfortable, sofa::
If the business is going to be your sole source of income I really recommend finding a good accountant. It is a huge stress reliever for me to have a real face to deal with and also good peace of mind knowing I have a representative in case of an audit.