Oh Tax Day…I’m pretty sure tomorrow is national tax preparer hangover day. Many are rejoicing and planning where to spend their return. And then there are the entrepreneurs. Tax day is one many entrepreneur dreads. Why? Because many of us fail to properly plan throughout the year and that leads to major stress, and worry, and filed extensions, and bottom line, money owed!
This year, is a different one for this entrepreneurial household. We are, for the first time in I can’t even tell you how long, celebrating because we filed our taxes ON TIME! Please hold while I do my happy dance!!!
And I don’t tell you this to brag, but because MAN have we been through the wringer in the tax department in recent years and if you’re an entrepreneur and today you’re feeling angst, and pressure, and downright fear for “what’s gonna happen?” I wanted to offer you encouragement and hope and a little tip for the easiest way you can implement greater financial peace so that this time next year, you’re dancing alongside me instead of beating yourself up.
When we first started out on this path of “self employment”, there wasn’t a ton of income. So naturally anything and everything that we made went straight into our personal bank account. Now in the beginning this wasn’t a big deal, because we weren’t making a lot of money. But as my husbands income continued to grow, our pattern became a big deal. As my favorite Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts put it, “Big mistake, HUGE!” Income is taxable, no matter how slice it, and at some point, the rubber meets the road! We’ve been so thankful for increased income, but along with that is a higher tax rate, and we needed some serious help breaking our old “everything goes into our personal account” pattern.
Just so you know, my own anxiety as I tell you the tip of the iceberg in our own tax story, the shame that I’ve felt, the embarrassment that I’ve felt, all of those things, are on red alert! So please excuse me as I “namaste” myself into a little zen space. These were HARD times. Our marriage suffered because I was freaking out about our finances. My sanity suffered because I was freaking out about our finances. We were in a constant state of three steps forward, two steps back. We knew all the “right things” we were supposed to be doing, but knowing those things and implementing are two COMPLETELY different things! We needed HELP!
Sharing the real reel is HARD. But if you’re a small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, you need to know it’s not all sunshine, cupcakes, and rainbows. I believe we’re able to use our own experiences to HELP others. So whenever I meet someone contemplating taking the leap into small business ownership, I share this simple and very important piece of advice: SIT DOWN WITH A TAX PROFESSIONAL ASAP!
Hiring tax and bookkeeping help was the best financial decision we’ve ever made. Entrepreneurs by nature are NOT the best detail people, we have great ideas and big dreams, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of slowing down to make time for bookkeeping, especially if you’re month or years behind…not so much. Find a professional and don’t be afraid to pay them because someone great will be worth 10 times their weight in gold!
How do you find a great CPA or EA?
Which stands for enrolled agent for those of you unfamiliar. Ask your friends, family and small business owners you admire who they recommend.
Quick side note, if you’re currently in a sub-optimal situation in entrepreneur land, do NOT pick a close friend or family member to work with. I know from experience, dude! People by nature don’t want to share their financial shortcomings with people they’re close to, so if you’re already in a bit of a mess, take that obstacle to getting started off your plate right now! Because that’s exactly what it will be a giant “oh man I’ve gotta air my dirty laundry” obstacle. You need a way out, not more worries.
After you get a few suggestions, interview those people and find a good fit. Ask a lot of questions! You should be looking for someone who sees your vision and wants to help you accomplish your financial goals, not just someone who will file your taxes on time. As a small business owner, you’re looking for ways to keep from paying an unnecessary arm, leg, and one of your children to the IRS. You need someone who has a good grasp on our ever changing tax code, who keeps your booty in check and is in your corner rooting for you.
Final thoughts come straight from good Ol’ Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Uncle Sam can be a cold hard son of a gun, he’s like the Jackson 5 “He’ll be there, he’ll be there” but the grim reaper form of the Jackson 5. Don’t call his name! Call the name of someone great who can help you create a great plan. Don’t put it off until you’re making “x number of dollars”, start off with it from day one! Because a great financial plan is the strong foundation to your business success.
If you’re someone local, I cannot sing high enough the praises of Samantha Zishka with West Ridge Accounting. She took our big mess, and helped us eat an elephant one bite at a time.
And now, here we are, on Tax Day 2018 celebrating our filed return and actually (weirdly!) looking forward to filing again in 2018 because of the plan she’s helped us implement. I think we’ll crack open a nice bottle of wine tonight in celebration!
Happy Tax Day, everybody. Cheers to your success and if you found this helpful, or know an entrepreneur who could use a little glimmer of hope that Tax Day doesn’t always have to feel like D-Day, make sure you share this video.
Thanks for tuning in you guys! Have a beautiful rest of your day!