As we gear up to do our taxes this year, we're all struggling with blog expenses - so we've recruited an expert: Angele from Shoebox Be Gone kicks of a three part series between now and March to help you get organized and tax ready - it's bookkeeping for bloggers! Take it away Angele!
You’ve heard the horror stories: bloggers having to pay higher taxes, fines, and levies because accountants and CRA auditors refuse to count your food blogging expenses. They’re not dense – mostly – but they lack a general misunderstanding of the business of blogging, never mind food blogging.
I know the veterans in the crowd have pulled many a hair getting ready for taxes – and the rookies are sweating with anxiety at the prospect of having to do so.
Fear not my friend, that’s why I’m here.
Keeping track of blogging income and expenses doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. The basics of what counts as a business expense is the same for everyone and with my help you’ll soon have your eggs lined up and tallied.
This 3-post series will be a life-changer. You’ll learn to look at your pantry as a filing cabinet of sorts, and reorganize it accordingly. We’ll talk about planning posts, recipes and expenses in a way that makes sense from an auditor’s point of view and we’ll track said expenses and related income.
Your Kitchen - A Filing Cabinet for Food Bloggers
The first step in your transformation is to view your cupboards as a filing cabinet and food as the paperwork that fills it.
It’s generally not recommended to mix personal and business papers, so why should food be any different?
Aren’t you tired of constantly trying to figure out the cost of 2 cups of flour, ¼ tsp of salt and 3 tbsp of ketchup? Of trying to remember if that jar was bought at full price or on sale? Or how about which percentage of a recipe was business, and which was personal?
Let’s fix this, shall we?
Exhibit A – My Humble Kitchen
I don’t love my kitchen – in fact, I hate it – but lack of space is not a death sentence for simplified and organized expense tracking.
First you’ll purge – anything expired, suspicious, or that you know you’ll never, ever, eat – throw it out.
This simple exercise will take 10-15 minutes at most and will create space you didn’t know you had.
Next, you’ll go shopping. See, I told you this was going to be painless! Head to your local supermarket and buy the staples of every decent kitchen: Flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, spices, shortening, butter, milk & eggs if you use them often in your recipes, and other non-perishables you use often. If you buy anything else, make sure to pay for it separately.
Having a completely separate receipt for your blog expenses is Golden Rule #1 in audit-proofing your food blog.
Last but not least, putting it all away. What you need here is a completely separate cupboard and fridge shelf for your blog.
Since you’ve created extra space, you can now move things around.
Select one area of your kitchen, and one shelf of your fridge, for your blog food. When whipping up a batch of cookies use only food from your blog cupboard. Part 2 of this series will focus on planning your posts and related expenses so you always have what you need on-hand.
Doubling that recipe? 1 batch from the blog cupboard, and 1 from the personal cupboard. If you’re missing something in your blog shelves buy what you need – and nothing else – and keep your receipt. You’ll learn what to do with those in Part 3.
Method to the madness
It may seem silly right now to have 2 jars of every spice, condiment, and baking supply. Try not to mock my ways too much, as all will be revealed in Part 2 – The Reinvented Planner.
Meanwhile, make space for your food blog filing cabinet. An old freezy box or dollar store plastic bin can be used to corral veggies, condiments, and meat in your fridge and freezer. A separate cupboard or shelf space in your pantry will house your business supplies – the foods used to cook up some blog magic.
The systems you put in place today will help you succeed throughout the year, and will also help protect your business expenses for years to come.
Haven’t monetized your food blog yet? Putting these systems in place now will help you focus on your goals. Bonus? When that first opportunity comes along you’ll be ready to ride the wave.
Are you ready to focus on your creative genius? To shine, thrive, & succeed? Grab the tax bull by the balls and show it whose boss. Don’t let fear of taxes cripple your efforts – learn the rules, play fairly, and come back next month for Part 2.
The Rest of the Audit Proof Your Food Blog Series
Angele Lafond @shoeboxbegone is an award-winning accountant and the leading expert in blogging & taxes. She prides herself on speaking human and in her spare time (Ha!) blogs the funnies at DomestiqueManager.com. Her kids are her life, and she loves cooking up amazing dishes with cheeky names. She’ll try to convince you she’s Angelina Jolie’s secret twin – the jury’s still out. Angele wears many hats in a day: Chief Creator of Genius, Wife, Mother, Writer, Photographer, Public Speaker. Possibly addicted to coffee. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.