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So if someone wants to list off some of the drop-dead basics we should be doing, I am all ears (or eyes, in this case...).
Four people in my family do taxes for a living, so I've got some ancillary knowledge here. More importantly, I've been reporting income as a freelancer and journalist for 20-plus years, so here's what I can tell you.
1. If your Schedule C business isn't turning a profit in 3 out of 5 years, it's a hobby and not a self-employed business. The IRS takes that ver seriously.
2. Keep receipts for everything related to the business. I claim my comic book purchases, DVDs (legitimate research at times), mileage, hotel stays during cons, food, parking, postage, Internet service, cell phone service and office materials and equipment. It's easy to do with a spreadsheet, and Trevor does that. Me, I simply staple all the receipts in chronological order in a notebook so they're easily reviewable if I need to do so.
3. I don't bother with a separate bank account, because my income from comics pays my home bills. Other people have the luxury to separate, but I don't.
4. Do not fuck around with the IRS. We once made a minor adding mistake on a return and got penalized a few hundred bucks, even though we offered to pay the diference immediately. Repeat: DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH THE IRS.
5. My wife says the Turbo Tax type programs are rubbish if you have serious expenses and are itemizing, but they're OK if you have a simple return.
I will be starting a webcomic in the next year or so, but will certainly start spending money/doing work on it this year, and I assume will receive no income from it until well into next year, if ever.
The extent of my tax knowledge is I collect the End-Of-Year statements/forms I get in January and take them to my guy at JH and he does my taxes. I am not incorporated or LLC'ed or anything like that. I live in Maryland.
What jumps out at you guys in terms of "You should do this..." or "Why the hell did you not do X already?" (preferably the former than the latter 8D )?