A Clean Break for Tax Season

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by Tom Watson on February 24, 2013

When you are running your own cleaning business, you spend a lot of time making sure that other people’s homes and businesses are immaculate and organized.

But when you spend so much time focusing your efforts on your customers it’s easy to get rather disorganized in your own business. Particularly your business taxes. I know that was the case with me when I first started out.

I had a laser focus on the customer but not on my own end of year things. This lead to a lot of stress and the associated headaches that come from not being prepared for tax season.

Sadly, all that stress was just a big waste of time. Why? Because staying organized and on top of things is so stinking easy. At the end of the day all you are ever really doing is keeping track of a few things.

One is what you made and two is what you spent. That’s it! If you can do that, you are in GREAT shape because all you have to do then is deliver that info to your accountant. They do the rest.

Start getting ready for tax season early

The second week of April is probably not the best time to start thinking about your taxes. As a small business owner, one of your most important tasks is making sure your finances and books are in order.

The real beauty is that it’s not all that hard to do nowadays. Tons of service providers have popped up filling that void, making tax season a breeze. One of those companies is called www.Shoeboxed.com.

When you sign up at www.Shoeboxed.com, you basically are digitizing all of your paper receipts. This will allow you to eliminate paper clutter, organize your expenses into categories, and generate reports for your tax professional.

Once you’ve scanned all of your receipts into your Shoeboxed account, you can spend 10 minutes every day assigning categories, making changes within the dynamic interface of the application, and organizing your expenditures.

Like I mentioned a moment ago, leaving your taxes to the last-minute is overwhelming, and makes the process totally stressful. This can be completely avoided by just setting aside a few minutes each day.

Even if you had to set a timer on your watch and commit to doing a few minutes, even just five minutes every single day. By the time April rolls around, you’ll be ready to file your business taxes without ever having endured endless hours of tax headaches.

Take Deductions

The number of small business write-offs you can take when owning and operating your own cleaning company are practically endless. Everything from the supplies you purchase to the salary you pay your employees can count as a deduction at the end of the year.

You will also want to be sure and track the miles you and your employees drive when traveling from location to location, as well as maintenance and upkeep on your vehicles. You’ll also want to keep all gas receipts whenever you fill up your vehicle.

Any expense related to your cleaning business should be kept aside for tax season. Cash spent marketing your cleaning company can be written off, as can the rent and mortgage expenses associated with your office or home office.

Be sure and get a separate phone line for business calls, and a separate checking account for business transactions. Doing so will save you tons of time when calculating your deductions at the end of the year.

Save Money

When the bulk of your income isn’t taxed, it’s easy to forget about saving for those pesky quarterly tax payments. When you receive payment from a customer, do you best to save 15-20% (or whatever your accountant recommends) and set it aside for taxes.

If more pressing expenses come up, make a note to set aside an even larger amount the next time you collect a payment. If you don’t do this, you could be stuck owing a big tax bill come tax time. Making every effort to pay quarterly income taxes is a great way to protect yourself from owing more than you can pay.

Go Mobile

If you are a little tech savvy you could also download a cloud-based accounting application for your smart phone. This would allow you to create and send invoices, and even enter payments right from the client’s site. If your employees had smart phones you could track how many hours they cleaned if you wanted to.

With the Shoeboxed app that’s avaiable after you sign up at www.Shoeboxed.com, you’ll also be able to scan receipts as you go, preventing the headache producing build up of paper clutter and keeping you up to date on the overall financial health of your business.

A huge part of owning and operating a cleaning company involves being on the go, and thanks to applications like Shoeboxed, you can maintain your business’s fast pace without sacrificing organization. Become a mobile bookkeeper as you save your company time and money with these 21st century, cloud-based tax strategies.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to our Cleaning 4 Profit RSS feed. If you are looking for a step by step blueprint that will show you how to start your own cleaning business, then check out my Cleaning Business Training Manuals. If you need a great website or would like to upgrade what you already have then you may want to take a look at my Cleaning Business Website Packages.

DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend. If you purchase any items through my links odds are I’ll earn a commission of some kind. I only recommend products and services that I have used or think may be useful to those starting or operating a cleaning business.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon Pye February 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Tom for the advice! I will check into it!

2 Tom Watson February 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

No problem Shannon and THANKS for commenting!

3 melissa February 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Taxes is something I was wondering about…that is great info to have especially starting out thanks Tom

4 melissa February 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm

That is great info to have especially starting out thanks Tom

5 Tom Watson February 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm

No problem Melissa!

6 Tom Watson February 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Thanks again Melissa!

7 Dawn Reich February 25, 2013 at 8:30 am

Hi Tom, my question is how do I put together a really good Business Plan. I’m just starting out, no real business yet because I’m still working part time but there is a contest coming up at the Chamber of Commerce where they pick the best Business Plan written for a Business locally and that Business will win $10,000. That money would be awsome in helping me start up. Also any suggestions on how to get business in a small community where everyone knows everyone and its hard for the small guy to get work.. Thanks, Dawn

8 Tom Watson February 25, 2013 at 10:03 am

Hi Dawn! You’ll need to purchase a book of some kind to teach you that. That is not something I can sum up in a paragraph. With that said, there are TONS of people online who will write you one for a few hundred bucks as well (or software you can buy that will help you do it yourself for about a $100). Anyway… no such thing as the small guy can’t get work! The BEST COMPANY always WINS. Get the word out (even if you have to discount your service at first) then DO A GREAT JOB!

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