While side gigs are becoming an increasingly common way for Americans to bring in extra income, many people do not understand how that additional income can affect their taxes. If you’re not prepared, freelancing or working on the side can lead to serious issues with the IRS, costing you thousands in penalties and fees.
If you plan on taking business deductions for expenses, you’ll need some tools to manage your reporting and minimize your tax headaches. Treat your side hustle like a small business. Below are four business tools you should use to keep your side gig from overwhelming your finances. (See also: 6 Signs It’s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career)
1. Business bank account
If you have a side business, you should seriously consider opening a dedicated business bank account. It will make tracking your expenses and profits so much simpler, which makes tax time simpler as well.
Keeping your business and personal finances separate is not just easier, it’s also important. Should the IRS ever take a closer look, you want them to see a clear distinction between personal and business expenses, as well as all of the business income you’ve earned. Jumbling this together with your personal banking is a recipe for confusion and possible contention.
Having a business bank account lends you more professional credibility, too. Asking a client to write a check to your business, for example, feels much more legitimate than having them make it out to your name.
All of the business income you earn doesn’t have to stay in your business bank account. You can pay yourself the appropriate amount after considering taxes and expenses. Simply transfer that money to your personal account, and leave the rest in your business account.
2. Business credit card
Similarly, it’s a good idea to have a separate credit card you use solely for business expenses. (See also: When You Should Get a Business Credit Card Over a Consumer…