Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tax day!

It's tax day today!

We were expecting a refund so we filed a few weeks ago, although it wasn't nearly as early as we would have like to have filed. We were waiting on me to tally up all my self-employment income and expenditures, which in the wake of a move topped with bad record-keeping practices, was not an easy venture.

I did learn something from it though ... I MUST keep better records. I have Excel now and could make up worksheets for all my expenditures but haven't bothered to learn how to properly use it.

In the meantime I'm keeping tabs with everything in a Word document. I have several headings broken up by month and every time I spend money for my business ventures I enter the figure in my document. I have individual columns for each of our utilties (electricity, water, gas, and phone/Internet) since a portion of those can be counted as business expenses. I have a column for mileage and another for expenses like computer programs, supplies, or whatever it is that I bought.

I do pretty good with keeping up with all my income. I get 1099s for most of my work but I keep all the payment stubs since invariably there will be a job (or two or three) for which I won't get a 1099. For that reason I don't have the payments on my new tax document.

Hopefully next year it won't be as difficult or time-consuming to tabulate everything in preparation for a visit to the tax office!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's tax time again!

It's that time again ... TAX TIME!

As a work-at-home writer mom I'm of course self-employed and responsible for keeping up with all sorts of things we need for filing income taxes, from mileage to expenses. A more organized working mom than I would have a better system in place to keep up with everything as the year goes on. Suffice it to say that I've been dreading pulling out and tallying up all this information even though I'm looking forward to getting a refund this year, as usual.

So far I've made my list of what I need to do:
  • Count up mileage
  • Tally expenses
  • Figure up utilities
  • Go through Paypal records for both income and expenditures
  • Collect additional income figures, those for which I have no 1099s

I've broken down my 1099 list into companies I've either received the forms from or from whom I need forms. I'm just missing one. I've also broken down the sources of additional income into categories and subcategories.

While pulling out utility bills, receipts, and so forth I've decided that my system needs an overhaul and that this house needs a good cleaning. But that will have to wait until I get all these figures tallied up and I can deliver the good news that my part of the income tax preparation has been completed!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Microsoft Office Suite

I just got the Microsoft Office Suite!

I needed Microsoft Office Publisher to create my two newsletters and for other work-related tasks and decided I may as well get the whole thing, the small business package that includes Publisher.

I went online to download the free trial version at www.office.microsoft.com and I now have the whole thing for free until the end of March. I will be purchasing the program then.

Something unexpected happened when I downloaded the program -- all my Wordpad documents were automatically converted to Word documents. While that was a tad disconcerting at first, it turns out that Word is way better since it counts your words for you. I very rarely have to count my words but that feature came in handy tonight since I was writing a story that was supposed to be 300 words. (I held it to 400.) It does lots of other neat things that I haven't explored.

The Publisher program works great as well, and I'll be using that instead of Adobe Pagemaker to create the newsletters for two nonprofit organizations.

It feels good to be caught up with the rest of the world!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The printing saga continues

An update to Friday's drama with getting a couple of newsletters printed is ... BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

The printing place called me this morning and said one of the documents I tried to send in on Friday afternoon was password coded.

"Never mind on that," I said, "I messed that up. Did you get TWO print jobs in?" No, they didn't. The larger job didn't go through over the email. It was too large.

I was asked to go through the website to place my order. I tried that but it said the file was too large. The site told me to try a custom order, which requires you to plug in the store location, but when I did that the site said that location wasn't found. (It's there, I've been there AND I was looking at the address on the directions I printed from that very website.)

Okay, so I call the store back and am asked to BRING THE DISK IN TO THE STORE, which of course is what I originally tried to do a few days ago!

The man was very nice and apologetic about all the trouble. They were also nice and apologetic when I did indeed bring my disk back to the store.

Of course I had the number of pages figured up wrong. I submitted 10 pages which won't work with a two-page spread, since one sheet of 11x17 paper folded in half makes four 8½x11 pages. In all my years of working with two-page spread publications, I should know that your pages must be in multiples of four. So I either need to send in two more pages or figure out where the blank pages are going to be. I opt for sending in two more pages and hurry home to come up with something and send it in.

The incorrect number of pages was also a problem with the other newsletter, but it was printed without me being notified of the problem or approving a sample. I sent in six pages (it should have been either four or 10, if I had looked at a sample before it went to press I would have pulled two pages and saved them for the next newsletter) so they put blank pages for the last two pages. That's going to present a problem because some of the newsletters will be folded in half for mailing with the back cover being the part that shows.

Now I have to make yet ANOTHER trip to the printing place tomorrow to approve the sample on the second, larger newsletter.

I'm getting really tired of the printing office, and so are my kids!