The end of the calendar year is fast approaching which means it's time to start preparing for fiscal year-end if you are self-employed.

In that spirit, I thought I'd share my top three things on my to-do list to prepare for year-end.

Avoid the temptation to procrastinate with some online shopping and news perusal. Tax day sneaks up fast. One day its winter, then it is spring and TAXES are freakin' due. 

Get organized now so you can avoid the tax prep doldrums. Trust me.

{First}

> Calendar your year-end tax dates in the upcoming months.

  • Pay Q4 2017 estimated taxes by January 16, 2018. Do this online, pay via ACH, not credit cards (the fee is outrageous).
  • File 1099s by January 31, 2018.
    • S Corps (Form 1065) + Partnerships (Form 1120S)
      • Deadline with extension: September 17, 2017
      • Deadline for filing taxes or for an extension: March 15, 2017
      • Remit financial statements (PNL + BS) and all pertinent tax paperwork (1099s, etc.) to your accountant by February 1, 2018*
    • C Corps (Form 1120) + Individuals (Form 1040)
      • Remit financial statements (PNL + BS) and all pertinent tax paperwork (1099s, etc.) to your accountant by March 1, 2018*
      • Deadline for filing taxes or for an extension: April 17, 2018
      • Deadline with extension: October 15, 2018

*Make your accountant happy and confirm the date all paperwork needs to be in their hands to file on time and keep them bright-eyed! 

Real talk. Ever since I hung up my shingle, I've had an extension filed for me. And every year, I sign and remit my taxes on the October 15th due date. 

{Second}

> Get your bookkeeping in order, making sure your business expenses are coded, organized, and reconciled.

If you don't already use something like Quickbooks or Xero, it's time to get your spreadsheet geek on. If you did not separate your business and personal expenses by account, you should export all your transactions into a CSV or Excel file and get to *coding.* 

If you are using a spreadsheet, I tell all the newbies to add three columns to their spreadsheets: 1) Type of Transaction [Personal or Business];
2) Account Category [Rent, Office Supplies, Professional Development, Automobile, etc.]
3) Notes

Business Expense Resources

Need more than a read and want a warm, friendly person to chat with and ask some specific questions? I host free q+a sessions on this since I get so many questions. Please contact me if you'd like to be notified about my next one: lauren [at] laurenlizardo.com

A note about reconciling: don't skip this step.

What the heck is reconciling you ask? It's when you compare what's on your bank statements versus what you have on record. This is the part where you find mistakes and learn that you were double-charged for things and you never did receive that invoice nor the money your brother owed you for covering dinner with your parents that you put on your company credit card because you weren't quite sure you had room on your personal credit card. If you are tempted to skip this, hire someone to do it for you.

Reconciling is essential to your bookkeeping process. It's where you uncover your money truth and realize that you have been paying for an online community subscription for a year and have never accessed it. 

{Third}

> Get your 1099s in order. Make sure you know who gets them and why.
File 1099s by January 31st. 
Make sure you have received 1099s for your work performed through the year by January 31st.

Wait? What exactly is a 1099 and why do I need to care about them? It is a record of non-employee income. If you don't know anything about 1099s nor the details of who should get them and why, click here to read more.

You file a 1099 for vendors where you paid more than $600 (think web designer or bookkeeper or rent). Also, if you don't have a W-9 for any of them, get one of those before you file the 1099. The W-9 is the official doc that gives you all the crucial details to file a 1099. There are exceptions for who doesn't get a 1099. You can learn about them here.

And vice versa, complete W-9s for any income sources that you did not remit a W-9 to so you can receive your 1099.

*Updated 11.7.2017

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