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i'm still getting used to PP even after almost a year of doing this but i know in PP you can track your mileage, consultant gifts, etc. also for mileage keep a notebook in your car and write down your mileage before leaving and when you get back wtih the date, show number , etc. i have a small folder with about 10 different sections that i put my reciepts for groceries, utilities, supplies stuff like that. i keep it all in one spot and leave it sitting on my desk so i always know where it is. probably not the best response but it works for me..lol!!
My recommendation is to open a separate PC bank account and get a debit card. Use that debit card everytime you go to the post office, buy groceries, etc. It may take a little more time because you have to split up your purchases, but at tax time it's faster. Also, you could do a flat rate per month for groceries you buy to test recipes, like $15 per month which equates to one recipe per month. I remember reading somewhere that you can only deduct one test recipe per month, but I'm not sure where. Also, food expenses (for yourself) can only be deducted at 50% per the IRS publication - that means if you bought food while at a vendor event, you can only deduct half the meal price.
To help even more, I use MS Money for all my finances and I included my PC bank account here. This allows me to create reports and print them which makes it easier to do my taxes.
Finally for mileage, I have a spreadsheet that I just type the mileage into because it auto sums each month for the grand total. There's less risk of a math error and I have excel on my PDA, so I can update it while in the car or waiting somewhere if I realize I got behind.
After doing my own taxes this year I think I have come up with a good system that works for me.
I keep all of my receipts for the month in a folder. At the end of the month I total everything and enter it into PP. I changed the codes in PP to reflect what is on the tax forms. (I got this suggestion from my upline director) This is the catagory's I use:
C-8 Advertising (Clothing, website, Host Gifts, Incentives)
C-9 Car Expenses (mileage)
C-10 Commmission and Fees (Paid Referrals)
C-18 Office Expense (Anything needed to run the business, postage)
C-21 Repairs and Maintenance (Updates to the house, maintenance to computer, etc.)
C-22 Other Supplies (Groceries, National Conference registration, bank fees, Product
C-24 Travel, Meals, & Entertainment (Travel-full amount, Meals-1/2 amount, and entertainment-1/2 amount)
C-25 Phone and Internet Expenses
I keep a printout of these codes taped to my desk so I always have them.
When I add up my receipts at the end of the month I mark on the receipt what code I used. Then I paper clip all the receipts for one month and keep them in a different folder labeled -Pampered Chef Receipts 2006.
Last year took me so long to sort through all the expenses with the way they where sorted in PP. I'm hoping this will save me tons of time.
I also started a file fold for any house bills, electric, gas, phone, cell phone and insurance. This way I won't have to call around to these places next year to find out what I paid to them thoughout the year. (This took me forever this year.) Now I have them handy since we can claim a percentage of these bills if we have a home office.
you can also download a template from microsoft.com that has the spreadsheet to track your mileage. the one I am using I can even list where I was going/what show etc.
they have several designs and you can just print them out and write on them instead of trying to input all the data into the computer.
I have a head ache just reading your replies, because I tend to be very un-organized, and I KNOW I could not do this without my husband. He is an accountant, and so tends to be very precise and organized about this. I do not know how he does it, but he handles ALL of this for me. As he is asking me about my day, when he hears I went to the store, he asks which one, was it for ingr for show, ect and makes a note- If I delivered catalogs, he immediatley finds out where, and writes it down, and then goes to the spread sheet. I try to keep my log in the car, but I forget to write it down sometimes, same with receipts. I just need to mark on them which is for business, and he does the rest. I knwo it is not magic on his part, but to me it does seem like magic. When he logs my show order form, he also looks up the address of the show, and then goes to the mileage spreadsheet, and enters mileage. It is amazing to me how he gets his own work done. I am afraid, if I did not have him, my business would be failing !!!!