Last month in part 1 of Audit-Proff Your Food Blog, we discussed cupboards and logistics, transforming your kitchen into a filing cabinet for food bloggers. By now you’ve reorganized your kitchen and stocked your food blog pantry with the staples of any decent kitchen. Now it’s time to focus on planning your posts and related expenses so you always have what you need on-hand.
The Scarlet ‘A’
When it comes to tax audits we all get nervous. Will my tracking be sufficient? Will they allow all my expenses? As food bloggers, an extra question comes to mind. Will they try to tell me my expenses don’t count because my family ate the food? We’ve seen it happen to other bloggers and we want to make sure our expenses will count.
Part of the problem is that auditors and tax preparers are still fairly clueless about the business of blogging. Many – most – don’t understand social media and how it relates to tax laws. To complicate matters, most audits happen a few years later – making it harder to prove recipe expenses.
The Reinvented Blog Planner
Blog planners are a dime a dozen – Everyone and their cat is selling one these days. But not all planners are created equal. As a food blogger, your needs are unique.
What you need is a 52 week planner on which you can plan weekly posts, required ingredients, and resulting shopping list.
Anyone with a notebook can do this, or you can buy one here if you don’t feel like doing the work. Using the diagram below as your guide, separate your page in 3 sections: Planned posts / recipes, Ingredients, and Shopping List.
The first is self-explanatory – I hope – and in the second you will list all ingredients necessary to create one batch of each recipe.
After cross-checking with your filing cabinet – i.e. your blog pantry – list missing ingredients in the shopping list section. If you’re running out of ‘blog’ flour, add that to the list. Same for spices and other staples.
I’m guessing you’re next stop is the grocery store, and we’ve already discussed purchasing blog food on a separate transaction. When you get home staple your blog food expenses receipts to the top of that week’s page.
“How does this protect me?” you may ask.
Your weekly post planner will have a list of recipes you plan on posting, along with required ingredients. Those recipes will correspond with what was actually posted on your blog. Food expenses will match the ingredient list and blog pantry, and your receipts will be attached to said planner. No more arguing with tax preparers and auditors about how much flour you actually used for your blog and whether or not that 10kg bag is an expense.
Following this method means all your food expenses are justified when you need it, whether that be now or in 5 years.
Going Back In Time
We’re well into February and March is right around the corner. How do you handle what you’ve already done? Simply go back to the first weeks of the year and do this exercise for each post.
Food blogging is a tax beast of its own, hiding under the kitchen sink ready to attack - but the beast can be conquered. When planning meets execution and you’ve proven your expenses the beast becomes a wee field mouse you grab by the tail to bring outside. I’ve converted several food bloggers to this method and each one tells me this has changed the game, simplified their lives. It’s easy. It works. And now you can breathe.
In part 3 of this series we will focus on how to track your blog income and other expenses such as web hosting and blogging conferences. The premise remains the same – make it easy to track expenses today while having the proof you need tomorrow.
Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Enter them below, or reach out on twitter @ShoeboxBeGone where I offer free tax advice and help to bloggers everywhere.
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.