What You Need to Know About Filing Taxes

We are two months away from the close of tax year 2015.  Have you filed your taxes yet?  If not, we are sharing some tips on great ways to do that... plus we are offering up three helpful resources for you:

  • a 36-page eBook jam-packed with all the information you need to know for business and blog taxes for $14.95 -- and that's tax deductible, friends!
  • a one-page tax cheatsheet and super quick reference for $4.95 (included in the eBook) -- also tax deductible!
  • two templates for income and expense tracker, included in the eBook, but also for free as part of the Brand Collective Network.
Stock image c/o Stocksnap.io

Stock image c/o Stocksnap.io

Now, here's a little bit of a very basic break down:

Are you a hobby or a business?

If you make more than $0 in income then you are a business, my friends.  

What is taxable income?

Anything of value that is given to you or earned by you, including money, property, or services.

Do I have to be registered as a business to file as a business?

Technically, no you do not... all that that affects is how you file and what forms you will file.

Do I have to claim the giveaways I host?

Sort of.  There is a lot of technicalities involved with hosting giveaways and there is a threshold and a fine line between "gifting" and providing free product and services.  To sum it up really simply...

If you are the host:

  • if you giveaway a product less than $600 and the product is something you are providing, that can be called either advertising in kind or gifting
  • if you giveaway a product greater than $600 and the product is something you are providing, that requires an additional tax form that you send a copy yourself to the giveaway winner as well as to the IRS
  • if you giveaway a product less than $600 and the product is something another brand is providing, that is either advertising in kind or gifting on their end; you are just essentially a marketing tool
  • if you giveaway a product greater than $600 and the product is something another brand is providing, that requires and additional tax form that the brand is responsible for providing; again, you are just essentially a marketing tool

If you are the winner:

The $600 rule applies on whether you will receive a separate tax form.  Regardless of the value of the prize, you are technically required to report it as income.

What should I do to keep my records organized for tax season?

Keep very, very, very thorough records.  This means keeping all receipts; utilizing tools, apps, and programs; maintaining any necessary travel logs or other logbooks; and documenting, documenting, documenting!  There are an abundance of items you can claim as a deduction, but technically we really don't advise you claiming them if you don't have the record-keeping to back it up should you get audited.

For how long should I keep records?

By law, you must keep all business records for five years.

Your Guide to Filing Taxes as a Small Business or Blogger

The eBook goes into detail answering all those above questions, including:

  • the advantages to filing as a business
  • what tax forms you use depending on your business structure
  • what is taxable income
  • what and how you can claim deductions (like your home office, your fancy Macbook Pro, Adobe Photoshop, your new custom blog design, or your GoDaddy hosting fees)
  • a step-by-step on claiming a home office deduction
  • what is the "business percentage"
  • how often you should be filing taxes (should you file more than once a year?)
  • the tax part of hosting and winning giveaways (and a brief intro into the legal part of hosting giveaways)
  • exactly how you will handle both hosting giveaways and claiming the giveaways if you are the winner
  • ways to keep thorough records
  • tools and resources to help you stay organized
  • three most common mistakes for blogs and brands filing taxes
  • six FAQs (different than those ones mentioned above)
  • a cheatsheet for filing taxes that does a very quick summary of the main highlights of the eBook
  • a spreadsheet for tracking your income
  • a spreadsheet for tracking your expenses
  • all the tax forms mentioned are compiled for you

If you're interested in purchasing the cheatsheet only for $4.95 (already including taxes and is, in turn, tax-deductible for you), then you can buy it in our shop.

Lastly, to access the free income and expense tracker spreadsheets without purchasing the eBook, sign up to be a member of the Brand Collective Network for access to our free library filled with other tools and resources.