How To Maximize Your Tax Return as an EXP
Preparing for tax season as an Experiential Marketing Professional (EXP) can be a daunting task. From calculating expenses, mileage, profits and losses, to finding a CPA, the beginning of the year can be crazy. Kudos to you if you are equipped to prepare and file taxes! It is important to educate yourself on changes to the tax laws in 2019 and ensure you have the proper measures in place to file. I have listed a few things to keep in mind when preparing and filing your taxes as an EXP.
Expenses, expenses, expenses
As an independent contractor, you are entitled to write off certain deductions annually. These include items such as fuel, mileage, travel expenses, uniforms, etc. Be sure to keep an accurate count of all expenses accumulated throughout the year. At the end of each month, I take a few hours to add up all of my expenses that month and keep a running total. Using this method, when December comes I only have to tally each monthly expense to arrive at the total expenses for the year. Implementing small actions like this will assist you in staying organized throughout the year. If you are working under a LLC, there might be an opportunity to write off even more expenses, though you should consult your tax accountant first.
Account for every 1099 and W-2
As an EXP, it is imperative to stay on top of the Experiential Marketing and staffing agencies to ensure they provide the necessary 1099 or W-4/W-2 forms for any earned income. These forms will be mailed out in January and should be received by the end of February. If it is nearing the end of February and you not received any of these forms, then you should reach out to the appropriate account managers and coordinators. One thing to note: if you made less than $600 with an agency, then a 1099 or W-2 form may not be sent as taxes will not be accounted for. Agencies may also be going the “green” route and not mail out 1099 or W-2 forms, so be sure to ask if any of the required forms will be available online in a downloadable format for printing.
No question is a dumb question
Whether it is a Schedule C, 1040EZ, or a K-1 form, do ask if you are unsure which form(s) will be used. Additionally, if you have decided to use a new tax preparer, make sure to bring taxes from the previous year (if done correctly) as a reference. If there was a change in health insurance coverage or any contributions made to stocks, retirement accounts, and student loans, bring all the supporting documents to maximize your return and/or decrease any amount owed. Never assume someone knows what they’re doing. Always ask!
Understanding how to correctly and accurately file taxes takes time and research. If you are unsure of how to file or prepare your taxes, consult with a CPA who can assist to ensure the IRS will not be looking for you. I have prepared a short checklist to ensure you are prepared for tax season.
Remember, it is important to educate yourself on changes to the tax laws in 2019 and ensure you have all the proper measures in place. Visit my YouTube channel where, in this week’s video, I share my tips on preparing your taxes as an EXP. To watch, click here.
Click here to view my YouTube interview with IRS trained tax consultant Maui Parra where we discussed taxes in great detail.