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Keep these docs for your writing business records

Self-published Accounting-761599_1920 authors need to keep a variety of documents, especially if making any claims or deductions on federal income taxes.

While you may not have to submit these documents when filing, you’ll need them if audited. They’ll also help you remember, while doing your taxes, what expenses you actually had during the past year. So go out and get a few file folders, clear some space in your file cabinet, and start keeping the following (separating them by calendar year and type of income or expense):
• Sales slips
• Invoices
• Receipts
• Cash register tapes
• Credit card charge slips
• Bank deposit slips
• Paid bills
• Canceled checks (financial account statements prepared by your bank/credit union are acceptable alternatives)
• Account statements
• Petty cash slips for small cash payments

Generally, all of these documents show one of two ways that money comes through your business. First are gross receipts, which is the income you receive from your business. These primarily will be book sales, but if you sell merchandise related to your titles or offer speaking services as part of your business, those also are sources of income. Secondly are expenses, which are the costs you incur to carry on your business. This might be the cost of having the Internet, of printer cartridges, of traveling to and from a location for research, and so on. Supporting documents for expenses, such as paid bills, always should show the amount paid and that the amount was for a business expense.

There are other records that should be kept, though often indie authors do not have significant amounts of these various items. Usually you want to keep records of your assets, such as the computer hardware and furniture you own and use to write your books. Records would include when and how you acquired the asset, its purchase price, and possibly the cost of any improvements to it (though this usually only applies to machinery). You also want to keep records of your inventory, which is any item you buy then resell. This might include paperbacks you purchase from CreateSpace then sell at full retail cost during book signings. Inventory records would include sales slips showing the purchase and those showing sales.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


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