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TAXES! HELP! How do you keep track of it all?

I am a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and boot camp owner.I train clients in gyms, at their homes, I teach classes at various gyms and have an outdoor boot camp business. I also work with a Doctor (OBGYN) and she refers patients to me. I have alot going on ............................................
I need help getting organized! I am late on my taxes from last year and it is time for this year to get rolling! I am an excellent trainer, BUT,I am much better at the hands on part of the business rather than the business end. I will eventually fail at this, though if I don't get my act together!!!!

I am Unorganized, receipts are stashed, mileage is a guess....help!

What tools are out there to make this easier? WHAT TOOLS DO EXPERIENCED TRAINER USE TO ORGANIZE TAX PAPERS, MONEY, MILEAGE, EXPENSES, CERTIFICATIONS, ETC....EVEN KEEPING TRACK OF CLIENTS!!!DO YOU HAVE SOFTWARE YOU REALLY REALLY LOVE?Would it be advisable to hire an accountant? What do they help you with? What about an assistant? or a virtual assistant?
I train so much that I feel that I don't have the time I need to spend on office work.
Does anybody else feel this way?

help!

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Do what you do best, hire the rest!
by: L.A.

They say that your accountant and your attorney are your very best friends in business...After owning and running my husband's business for over a decade and now owning my PT business, I have to agree!

You should first seek out a reputable accountant (CPA). Ask successful, local business owners and friends who they use. When you find the right accountant, they can refer you to a bookkeeper (by the sounds of your post, you disparately are in need of one!) They will more than likely set you up your accounts on Quickbooks, a widely used accounting software program.

Once the systems are in place, you may be able to take over the basic bookkeeping aspect of your business. However, if you feel you don't have the time in your schedule to handle this task, it pays to hire a professional to take over. Believe me, this will save you time and money in the long run!

At this point in time, it seems you have no idea what your profit and loss may be. By hiring a professional, you can get back on track and put time efficient systems in place to run a successful business. My accountant actually saves me money and a whole lot of stress, I always make back his fee and more in the end.

You can be the greatest trainer in the world, but if you don't run your business efficiently, you'll never rise to the top!

L.A. Bailey
Fit*Chix Mobile Fitness
Carbondale, CO

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Filing
by: Anonymous

Totally agree with LA, lets the pros do their job so you can focus on yours. You will be much less stressed and effective and be able to see your income and outcome as well as where you need to focus on.

To make your process easier, keep a file box in your car and in your home. Move from one to the next as you get time. Give a neice or nephew some cash to file receipts by date and type as well as enter into computer. Basic file system will help you at least keep things in order. Business Receipts, Income received, and keep a daily log book of all your appointments which cooresponds with your calender.

Keep the info at least together will facilitate the process.

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Hire someone
by: Chris Lutz-Master Trainer

It sounds like you are in pretty good financial shape based on the amount of activity you have going on, but that can be deceiving. If you can afford to do so, hire an assistant or an accountant. The accountant should be able to tell you what you need to keep in a single conversation and then you see or talk to them hopefully only a couple times a year. Quickbooks is a great tool for most small businesses if you want to do it yourself. But, I would stongly suggest outsourcing so that you can continue to do what you do best and leave that to the people who know what they are doing.

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Quickbooks and a large file cabinet with labeled folders
by: Machelle Lee - The Invisible Gym Mobile Personal Fitness Training

Quickbooks is a powerful tool to help you keep track of all of your receipts, business expenses etc. However, it sounds like you are very busy and you would be best finding an assistant to help you stay organized.

Someone that could put 10 -20 hours a week in would be best. You could even hire a student.

Even though you should probably outsource an accountant you still need to keep track of all of your expenses. A large file cabinet, with a separate folder for each employer,vendor, etc.

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Sales tax on personal training?

My understanding is that there is no sales tax for personal training in Texas, while there is on memberships... is that true?

If so, how would you compute sales tax when you offer a 6 week boot camp with one personal training session? Normally PT costs $50 alone, and the boot camp costs $149, should it be pro-rated?

If so, how do you handle it when you discount the boot camp to say, $44?

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Business Question

by Brad
(Charleston, SC)

I am a personal trainer at a gym. I have a 50/50 agreement with them and I am being paid 1099. My question is can I run everything through my business name for tax purposes? Meaning like should I have them make my checks out to my business name and do stuff like get tax write offs for certain things?
Thanks

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Are you a professional?
by: Liz Modrell

If you want to be in business, you must treat it like a business. If you want to be seen as a professional, you must act like a professional.
You definitely want to keep your business separate from your personal. You must have a business name, separate checking account, credit card, etc. Even if your business name is Sally's Personal Training, all checks must be made out to the business. Talk to an accountant to get things set up so you are actually running a business. You don't want your business to be you. You must keep them separate. If you have people make checks out in your name, they don't see you as a business or as a professional.

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Yes
by: Joe

Hi, I do tax work and if you set up an entity - even an LLC that will be single member then you should have them make it out to your business name set up under that specific EIN.

If you never set anything up then you will file your taxes as a sole proprietor and it's all under your personal name and social security number.

Therefore it doesn't matter as it will all be filed on the same form on your tax return and will allow you to track business expenditures to take against your income (of course that you track and can prove).

Hope that helps,

Joe

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Tax issues when you are a self-employed Personal Trainer

by Robin
(Dallas, TX, USA)

I live in Texas and have just launched my personal training business and have about a dozen clients that I train in their homes or my own home gym. What do I need to do regarding paying taxes?

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Depends on State
by: Katie - Admin

If you are an independent contractor you may be required to pay quarterly estimated tax payments to the Fed and State government (if your state has an income tax). The IRS will let you know when you have to do this but be careful to save money throughout the year so you don't get hit with a big tax bill in April.

If you sell products, you may be required to collect and pay sales tax on a monthly or quarterly basis.

If this stuff makes you queasy, hire an accountant and they can set it all up for you.

- Katie

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