As a real estate agent, you are technically self-employed. This means that come tax season, deductions become extremely important, and your taxes are a whole different ball game than they would be with a standard job.
Deciphering what is and isn’t deductible can be tricky — and even more difficult, perhaps, is keeping track of it all. For example, I took a few continuing education courses in 2017 and almost forgot to deduct them on my taxes this year. Between the big stuff (like education, airfare and insurance) and the little stuff (like laundry expenses, gas and car washes), it can be way too easy to let things fall through the cracks.
Luckily, technology comes to the rescue here. If you’re struggling with keeping track of your taxes this season, fear not: here are some of the best apps and websites for keeping track of your 2018 expenses.
If you make a lot of online purchases, Dashlane is a must-have. In addition to being a password manager, this app also gathers all of your credit card purchases online in one place, then gives you an itemized list of all your digital receipts.
It’ll also store unlimited payment types, including credit and debit cards, bank accounts and PayPal info, which makes purchasing even easier.
ItsDeductible is a free way to track your donations either online or on your iPhone. It can track everything from mileage to thrift store drop-offs and cash donations.
The app suggests resale values based on the style and condition of the items you’re donating and reduces your risk of an audit since it lets you know what the IRS allows as deductions. Plus, you can easily import ItsDeductible data to TurboTax.
Expensify uses the camera app to scan receipts and automatically add purchases to your expense report. The app also links to credit cards and bank accounts, so all you have to do is add the related expense to the relevant account.
As a bonus, it also tracks mileage and works offline.
Expensify boasts being able to reduce the time it takes to complete an expense report by 83 percent and automatically detects duplicate receipts and confirms the accuracy of each transition.
Like Expensify, Expense IQ is a savior for Android users that also incorporates a budget planner, and it lets you create and view customizable reports.
Travel frequently for business? This is the app for you. MileIQ automatically tracks all of your travel and logs it into Excel-compatible email reports.
The app will even run in the background to track driving miles, and you can distinguish between personal and business rides with just a swipe of your finger. MileIQ Premium is included with Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions.
TripLog is the heartier version of MileIQ. This app tracks mileage for up to five vehicles. It has application program interface (API) data integration with tools like QuickBooks and Concur. The only downside here is its limited ability to create IRS-compliant reports.
Timely lets you clock in and track your hours. The app also sorts hours by project, which makes staying on top of your receipts and invoicing much easier. You can also manage your team’s performance by viewing what everyone on your team is working on, coordinating resources and distributing workloads.
Apps like these help you save time during tax season, but also in your daily life. They make it effortless to keep track each day so that things don’t pile up near the end. Spend less time digging through old receipts and tracking miles, and focus more on your job: selling homes.
These apps will make you more efficient, help you keep up with tax deductions and save you from unnecessary stress and headaches when tax season comes around.
Making tax season more bearable
In addition to downloading these helpful apps, you can follow these four quick tips for making the tax season slightly less painful than it can be:
- Anticipate what you will pay in taxes. Whatever tax bracket you’re in, set aside that percentage of all 1099 income so you have it on hand at tax time.
- You can pre-pay taxes quarterly. This is a good way to stay ahead and keep your bill low in April.
- Pay yourself first. If you are a business owner, instead of working for a brokerage, you should keep your personal money and your business money separate until you “pay” yourself.
- Be meticulous in tracking your expenses. Create a system, and stick to it. This will help you maximize your tax benefit.