How real estate agents can prep for tax season in 3 steps

  • Open a business bank account if you don't already have one, and use your business check card to pay for all business expenses.
  • Keep track of receipts throughout the year with photos in Evernote.
  • Use your calendar to track mileage for deductions.

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By law I cannot give tax advice -- nor should I, considering I refuse to use traditional accounting software or the various apps available for tracking business expenses. I use simple systems that take advantage of the data created when I spend money to almost effortlessly capture expenses. Our tax system is ridiculously complicated, and I have heard tales of real estate agent productivity dropping during tax time and that some real estate professionals cannot pay their income taxes because they failed to set aside funds from each check. Some have to search for receipts and documentation that only capture a few deductions. My systems -- or "hacks," as I like to call them -- are not designed to replace accounting for huge real estate empires, companies and corporations, but are designed for the small-business owner, independent contractor or micro-entrepreneur. When tax time comes, I sail through it with the greatest of ease by harvesting data. I don’t actually “do...