Being self-employed includes answering to government agencies at every level: city, county, state, and federal. Sometimes it can feel a little crazy to manage all of the paperwork, dates, passwords, etc.
Here are a few tips for making your life a little easier. The theme here is to make it very convenient to collect information and documents ... so that when you need them, you know where to look. I don't know about you, but I'd rather rummage around when I need something, than spend time filing everything meticulously, just in case. (Of course, if filing calms you, then go for it!)
1. Choose a paper notebook
... that you love the look of ... and record all of your business numbers, logins, passwords in it. I also like to list any phone numbers I've needed to call, and any notes from phone conversations.
I like the paper notebook because it doesn't get lost like bits of paper, and, it can't be lost if my computer gets fried.
Numbers to be sure to add:
• UBI - Washington State Business Number
• EIN - Employer Identification Number (Not required, but recommended.)
• NAICS Code - North American Industry Classification System (Assigned to you by the state.)
• Seattle Customer Number
2. Find a box or basket
To collect all of your legal + tax paperwork. Any time you get any thing from the government: letters, licenses, updates, etc., throw them in there. Put in a easy to reach place that feels secure. Keep your notebook in there too.
3. Create an email folder to collect all messages
4. Post the Important Dates where you can see them
These refer to all of your business requirements (license renewals, tax reports, and tax payments). Put the list somewhere on the wall or refrigerator, so you can reference it from time to time.
Download Important Dates if reporting Annually with WA state.
Download Important Dates if reporting Quarterly with WA state.
Please consider leaving a Tip for any downloads. :)
5. Record all of the important dates on your calendar.
6. Record time to work on these in your calendar.
Perhaps a week or two before the deadline.
7. Prep Your Estimated Quarterlies
After you file your federal taxes with the IRS, prepare four envelopes to mail in your estimated quarterly payments. Attach the payment stubs (hopefully provided by TurboTax or your accountant) and pin on a bulletin board.
Wherever you can, make this stuff fun + easy! It'll make these chores more pleasant and bring you peace of mind.
: ) Jenny Girl Friday