When you started blogging, you might have dreamt of earning money one day. Even of quitting your job to turn blogging into your full-time career. You might have pictured all of the opportunities that it would bring, or longed for the days of working from home around school runs and family commitments. One aspect of it that you are unlikely to have gotten excited about, or even given much thought, is filing your tax return, recording your expenses and tracking your income.
But, if you want to make money for yourself, in any profession, your accounts are something that you need to learn how to manage. So many bloggers fail to realise that if they make money, they need to declare it. Even if you only earn a little, if you have another income you might be over the tax threshold. Even if you only make some pocket money, it’s a good idea to get into the right habits now, so that you are ready if you ever do earn enough to pay tax. But, don’t worry, accounting doesn’t need to be difficult, and there’s usually no need to find an accountant.
Filing your return online is much easier than on paper. You’ll have to start soon anyway making tax digital. You can also use apps to help you manage your expenses and keep track of your receipts. You work online, so why not manage your accounts online too?
Start a Spreadsheet
The worst mistake that people make is failing to have a system. They keep receipts and invoices on bits of paper and in emails all over the place. Then when it comes to working out their income for the year, they can’t find what they need, or they need help to make sense of it all.
A simple accounting spreadsheet is all that you need to keep track of things. Every time you earn money, or have an expense, put it into your spreadsheet and file the evidence. Then at the end of the year, the total is there waiting for you.
Get into Good Habits
The very best thing that you can do is get into good habits straight away. Start setting a little time aside every day, week or month (depending on how much you earn, and how long it will take) to file your invoice, record your income and keep up with any other admin. It’s not the most exciting part of blogging, but a few minutes here and there is much better than hours trying to sort everything out.
The deadline for your tax return, if you need to file one is the 31st of January. So many bloggers and other self-employed people leave it until the last minute and get themselves into a panic. But, did you know that you can file anytime from the start of a new tax year in April and still not have to pay until the deadline in January? File now, get it out of the way and then you can even pay in instalments, as long as the balance is cleared by the deadline.