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My First Tax Day as a Writer

by on April 25, 2013

My personal finances are pretty cut and dry. I receive W2s and other forms, fill in the blanks in the tax software program and hit send. Easy peasy.

Then along came a year of writing and things got a little scary. I’m not one to save receipts or write anything down. I always suspected that anything I’d need would be online somewhere. Isn’t everything online?

No it’s not.

Segretaria stressataFor instance, I use Paypal for most of my writing purposes – purchasing writing books, paying for classes, donating to blog hops, etc. I thought I could go into the history and pull up a list of everything I’d spent throughout the year. Unfortunately, you can’t do that. Paypal keeps only the last three months of invoices available. Oh, that’s why they send me that statement each month?

I was supposed to save that. Ohhh!

For the last three weeks leading up to Tax Day, I was scouring my computer for any file or email that may have mentioned a payment being made. I found a few, not as many as I’m sure there were.

Lesson learned the hard way, but I’m hopeful next year will be easier. With some help from a good friend who is a financial planner, we devised a plan that should work for me.

  1. There is a folder in a cloud especially for Paypal invoices and one saved to my hard drive. I have a reminder set once a week to make sure that I have saved the statement.
  2. Also in the cloud is a folder that contains a simple spreadsheet with only five columns: Date Paid, Type (Goods, Services, Education, Professional Organizations, Advertising, Meals, etc.), Paid To Whom, Amount and Comments. A weekly reminder is set to make an entry each Sunday afternoon. If I don’t purchase or anything, I type in – None and save!

So Tax Day 2014, I’m getting prepared for you. I’m  declaring that not a penny will be lost!


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  1. I was a mess this year. I was able to pull electronic documents and recapture pretty much all my expenses, but I got that niggling feeling I forgot something. Right after filing, I got it together and figured out everything I needed to track in 2013. Made spreadsheets for income and expenses, and started a hanging file to store receipts as back-up.

    I don’t want to be pulling hair again next year.

  2. Holley, I was so stressed this year. I won’t do that again!

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