Time Saving Tax Tips

Doing your taxes is the ultimate reminder that adulting really sucks sometimes. It’s bad enough in English so throw German laws and language into the mix and it’s enough to send me loco. It’s not the most glamorous topic but if you are wanting to freelance or go out on your own as an independent designer, invoicing and taxes are a major part of the job description. I feel like this is the first year I am really* on top of things and it’s still a lot of trial and error. A few things I’ve learned and am implementing for 2017 include:

Create categories to file your receipts

Maybe this is a no-brainer but I used to file by month not category. I have a binder with all the category sections (e.g. office supplies, travel, education) and file printed receipts in there. I also have a ‘to sort’ section incase I just need to dump a bunch of papers and sort through them later.

Replicate for your inbox

So many receipts get sent to my email so I have the same category names as folders in my inbox. Any time I get a digital receipt I drag it straight over to the relevant folder and it’s a huge time saver down the line!

Scribble notes on the back of receipts

You’re meant to keep your receipts for 6 years or something crazy, so writing notes on the back helps to jog your memory about what job the receipt was for. I've seen lots of other people do this too and it really helps, especially with random coffee meetings!

Photograph and record everything

I use accounting software because it’s easier to keep track of invoices, payments and overdue accounts. You can photograph your physical receipts and record all deets so they are ready to hand over to your accountant or simply get an overview of your expenses. I use Freshbooks but there are plenty of other options out there.

I’ve also heard good things about ReceiptBank (cheers Kai) which goes one step further and extracts information from photos and digital receipts, accurately recording all the data into one database. Neat!

I can’t stress enough how small things make a huge difference come tax time. The less time you spend on taxes, the more time you have for designing!


*Accountants aside, as on top as anyone can be.