Sunday, January 25, 2009

doing 2008 accounting, shoot me now

My state and city tax forms are due this week, so I've been spending some time with spreadsheets the last few nights. Unfortunately, I am terrible about tracking stuff. I hate this kind of thing, so I put it off as long as possible, which means that I end up having a painful January.

On the fortunate side (at least from a paperwork standpoint), neither my city nor state (Washington) allow many deductions that I qualify for, so it's mostly a matter of totaling up my gross revenues. I don't make enough to pay B&O tax and I have very few in-state sales (and those I actually did track and record, because they were few and far between, and therefore not overwhelming), so I'll only owe a few dollars in retail sales tax. It's just the documentation process that's so painful.

Also on the fortunate side, nearly all of my transactions take place through PayPal. At first I was planning to rely on the monthly statements that PP compiles, but that doesn't account for things like withdrawals to my checking account. They show up as debits but they're not expenses, which will matter when it comes time to do my federal taxes.

So I'm actually finding it easier to download my PP transaction history, month by month. (Trying to download the entire year brought my computer to the blue screen of death, or as my 4-year-old refers to it, the World of DOS.) That way, I can look at the name associated with the transaction, and eliminate those items like withdrawals to checking. I'll finish this off tonight, and then enter my non-PP transactions tomorrow night.

It's painful, but certainly nothing as awful as the way I did it the last two years, which was to manually enter each transaction from PP into my spreadsheets. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me to export all that stuff.
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