A Handy F*cking Checklist of Everything You Can Write Off as an Online Business Owner Before the End of the Year (LIKE UNPAID INVOICES, WHAT!)
So, first of all: last night was hilarious. If you didn't see my Insta stories, go watch now before they're gone. The short version: my favorite company on the planet, Bench, sent me a RIDICULOUSLY GIGANTIC FUN SURPRISE, and I filmed myself running out into the rain to get the box and open the whole damn thing, only to laugh and laugh and laugh once I opened it. I miiiiiight have dropped about 400 f-bombs while recording, though, so you should probably make sure your religious Aunt Judy isn't sitting nearby.
So that prompted me to think: do you know about Bench yet? Do you know WHY I think these guys are the best company on the planet? ALLOW ME TO GIVE THEM A LITTLE SHOUT OUT.
- Bench works for me behind the scenes and runs all of my numbers.
- I have my business bank account, my business Stripe account, and my business Paypal account all linked up to their platform.
- Which means that anytime I spend any money, or make any money, they know about it—and they've got a team of people behind the scenes who are going through and categorizing all of those transactions real-time, so I can then log in anytime and get an accurate snapshot of how much money I have, where the rest went, and how my money situation is changing over time.
This is HUGE. Most people either have:
(a) Their business income & expenses being mixed with their personal income & expenses and don't know how to separate those out;
(b) A dedicated business bank account or Paypal account but no idea what to do with those transactions or how to categorize them;
(c) Or—one step further—their accounts actually linked up to something like Quickbooks or Xero, but NO CLUE WHAT ANY OF THOSE CONVOLUTED CATEGORIES ARE OR HOW TO RUN A REPORT THAT ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE AND THAT REAL HUMANS CAN READ AND UNDERSTAND.
That sooooo used to be me. I was the girl with Quickbooks who had no idea how to use Quickbooks and so instead, I just put my head in the sand and never really had any real idea how business was performing bc I didn't know how to use it. Then I'd pass it off to some tax professional at the end of the year who I'd have to pay an arm and a leg to in order to have them properly go through and categorize everything first—which is a lot more expensive, doing it that way, since they're TAX PROS, not bookkeepers, and their hourly rates are wayyyyyy more.
Everything changed when I found Bench, though—and I do not mean for that to sound like a commercial for a prescription pharmaceutical.
All I did was link up my accounts and then let them do their categorizing as it happened, and then clicked on “reports” whenever I wanted and could FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT I WAS LOOKING AT. It's made for people like you and me who aren't accountants, but need our books prepared to hand over to one. And it's super reasonable. Then, at the end of the year, they send you a real nice little “End of Year Tax Package,” all perfect and ready to go for tax time—and you don't need to lift a finger or drive yourself crazy or even think twice. It. Is. Amazing. They are amazing, and I highly recommend!
So since they're top of mind, thanks to the hilarious box they sent me yesterday, I wanted to make sure you know that you can actually sign up with them right now to retroactively go through your transactions for the year so you're all set and don't have to be scrambling around looking for receipts and figuring out what you can and can't expense. Or you can just sign up and start now, because it's the best decision you'll ever make. Like, who knew that you can write off any outstanding debt from bad clients who don't pay their invoices? WHO KNEW THAT? Or that you can write off the interest on your business credit card? Or on any loans you take? Or you can write off PAYPAL FEES? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh: are those harps I hear?
(And just in case you're new to the game, the idea is to write off as many things as you can because every deduction you make lowers the total amount of money you'll actually pay taxes on in the end. So instead of paying 30% on $50,000 ($15,000), you'll pay 30% on $30,000 ($9,000), depending on how many expenses you were able to write off. See why this is important? Don't pay more money than you have to, homies!)
And here is the best news of all: ALL TMF READERS GET AN AUTOMATIC 20% OFF YOUR FIRST SIX MONTHS WHEN YOU SIGN UP WITH BENCH THROUGH US RIGHT NOW.
I harassed them into letting me be an official partner of Bench years ago because I was so obsessed and wanted to shout about them from the rooftops, so if you sign up, not only will you get 20% off your first six months (hugggge), but Bench will send me a referral fee that I will absolutely put toward buying really cute Christmas stockings to hang on the fireplace mantel.
Hope this helps!
And just in case you're still trying to wrap your head around what expenses are and what you can and can't write off, here's a handy checklist I made for you – save that somewhere special for reference. 🙂
LOVE YOU, HAPPY MONEY MAKING—AND MONEY KEEPING—bishessss.