Free Spreadsheet to Track Business Expenses for Schedule C

Corey —  December 10, 2010 — 92 Comments

Crunching Numbers for Your Small Business       Recently, I had a client ask me for a spreadsheet to help her track her business expenses. I put together an Excel spreadsheet with columns for all the information you need to track business expenses for Schedule C. I also put together a guide to help her know which categories to choose for each item so it’ll correspond to the tax return. I made all of this general enough so I can use it with other clients, and I thought some of you might find it useful for your own businesses.

       Before I get into explaining the spreadsheet, let me just add that you’ll still need to have records like receipts and bank statements to back up the expenses you claim. If you want to learn more about recordkeeping requirements, I’d recommend reading IRS Publication 583 and Publication 463.

Free Spreadsheet for Tracking Your Business Expenses

       To use the spreadsheet, you’ll need to have Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, or Open Office (which is free!). I thought about uploading it to ZohoSheets, but I’m not sure if the conditional formatting will work on there.

       You can download my free spreadsheet for tracking your business expenses by clicking here or on the picture below. (Try right clicking and selecting “Save as…” if it tries to open inside your browser.)
 

Free Spreadsheet to Track Income and Expenses for Schedule C

 
       You’ll see three tabs. Ignore the “Categories” tab. I used it simply for formatting the drop down list on the “Income and Expenses” tab. The other two tabs are pretty straightforward. “Income and Expenses” is for tracking…income and expenses. “Mileage” is for mileage.

       There are 365 rows in each of the tabs you’ll be using. If you want to add more on the “Income and Expenses” tab, simply highlight the entire last empty row and hit Ctrl+c. Then highlight the rows you’d like to copy it to. From the ‘Edit’ menu select ‘Paste Special’. Be sure ‘All’ is selected, then click ‘OK’. The reason you need to do it this way is so the conditional formatting will be copied over.

Income & Expenses

       To track your income and expenses, list each item/transaction separately on the “Income and Expenses” tab. If you buy several different things at a store, group them by category rather than lumping them together. Put the date in column A. Choose a category for each item in column B (according to the definitions below).

       If you choose “Other Expenses”, then column C will change from black to white. You’ll then want to type in a subcategory for that item in column C. Try to use the same subcategories for similar items as much as possible and don’t make them too specific (just enough to make it clear what it is) – it will make tax time easier. You can use the other categories as an example for how broad/narrow to make your subcategories.

       In column D, enter a more detailed description of the item so you will be able to match it up to a bank statement or receipt if necessary. Finally, enter the total in column E if it’s income or column F if it’s an expense. The final column will update automatically.

       Here are descriptions of how you should use each category. It’s long, but it will help you track your expenses in a way that will fit right into your tax return. That will save you time and money, so take a little time to understand these categories.
 

  • Income – Assign this category to all sources of income. Although there are some types of income that would be considered “other income” on Schedule C, you’re likely going to need help from a professional if that’s an issue for you. I’d recommend reading through the instructions for Schedule C (particularly page 4) for more information. Actually, you should read through it anyway.
  •  

  • Advertising – Include advertising and promotional costs like print or media ads, business cards, mailers, brochures, signs, pens, and give-away items with the company name, samples, or freebies to promote your business in this category. Also, include any sponsorships like buying an ad in a high school sports program to promote your business.
  •  

  • Car & Truck Expenses – You can deduct actual costs for operating your car or truck in your business, or you can take the standard mileage rate ($0.50/mile in 2010). If you choose to take the standard mileage right (and you’re eligible to do that), then the only thing you’ll include here are your parking fees and tolls. If you want to deduct actual costs, then include the cost of gas, oil, repairs, insurance, depreciation, or your tags here. For most people, it’s simpler and better to just go with the standard mileage rate.
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  • Commissions & Fees – If you pay any commissions or fees to non-employees, include them here. Things like sales commissions or finder’s fees would be most typical.
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  • Contract Labor – If you hire a contractor to handle something for your business, put the cost in this category. The key is that they can’t be considered an employee. This depends on the nature of your relationship with the person and relative control over their work. Get advice if you’re not sure how to handle this.
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  • Depletion – This probably won’t apply to many people. It relates to using natural resources within your business (like timber or minerals).
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  • Depreciation & Section 179 Expense Deduction – If you buy a major item for your business, you can write off some of the cost each year (depreciation) or write it off all at once (Section 179) with limitations. Keep good records of what you buy and how much business use it gets. This area can also get tricky, so read those instructions for Schedule C and get help if you need it.
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  • Employee Benefits – This only applies if you hire employees. In that case, you’d include things like health, life, or accident insurance premiums here. You’d also include dependent care, education assistance, adoption assistance, employee rewards, and any other benefits you pay your employees. It would not include benefits for yourself.
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  • Insurance – This covers insurance for your business and for the operation of your business – not your personal insurance. Examples would be liability, fire, theft, robbery, flood, hail, volcano, etc. Also, note that it doesn’t include your health insurance as that goes under adjustments to income if you’re eligible.
  •  

  • Interest (Mortgage or Other) – This includes interest on loans to finance your business, credit card interest and fee charges for business expenses, and interest on a loan for property used in your business. Separate it out depending on whether it’s mortgage interest or other (anything else).
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  • Legal & Professional Services – Fees for tax advice, tax preparation, legal advice, and so on go here. But for tax prep you can only include the cost of preparing the Schedule C, C-EZ, SE, 4562, 8829, and accompanying worksheets because they are directly rated to your business. Your tax preparer can help you figure this out if you use one.
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  • Office Expenses – This covers office supplies for your business: ink, paper, toner, pens, staplers and staples, paper clips, folders, postage, and so on.
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  • Pensions & Profit-sharing Plans – This will only apply if you have employees and offer these benefits. If you do, then you should already know what’s required. If not, you need to hire a professional.
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  • Rent or Lease – You have two choices here. One is for leasing a “vehicle, machinery, equipment” and an option for “other” (like payments for an office rental, rental of other spaces for storage, and anything else that doesn’t fit in the first choice). These can get complicated depending on what you’re renting or leasing. Be sure you know the rules or get help.
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  • Repairs & Maintenance – This one refers to cost of labor, supplies, and any other items that do not increase the value or life of your business property (stuff you use in the business). So you’d included the cost of fixing something that broke or the costs of maintaining it. If you did it yourself, you cannot pay yourself and then deduct the labor. If you replaced whatever broke with something new, you need to put that under a new purchase – depreciation/section 179 for a big item, office expenses or supplies for a small item.
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  • Supplies – Use this to cover other small items you use in the business that don’t fit in office expenses. If it’s a higher ticket item or something you’ll use for more than a year, it will need to go in the depreciation/section 179 category.
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  • Taxes & Licenses – This category includes certain sales taxes, real estate and personal property taxes on business assets, licenses and regulatory fees for your business, the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes for your employees, federal unemployment taxes, federal highway use taxes, and state unemployment or disability taxes. This can also get complicated so be sure to check on the rules if this applies to your business.
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  • Travel OR Meals & Entertainment – Travel means you were away for business purposes at least overnight. it could apply to something like a convention, seminar, or visiting a client as long as it’s business related. It can even include cruises if they meet certain requirements (still has to be business related like a conference or something). Meals and Entertainment must have a business related purpose, and entertainment can only count if you’re actually able to get some business done with the client (it can’t be so distracting as to make doing business impossible). There are some other specifics you need to understand before claiming any of these, so definitely read up on the rules here.
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  • Utilities – You can only deduct utilities directly related to your business. The full cost of a cell phone for business use only or the portion of your cell phone bill attributable to business use would go under this category. Any other utility expenses would also go here (gas, electric, oil, etc.).
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  • Wages – If you have employees, you’ll put their salaries and wages in this category. Do not include your own wages/salary here. Also, you have to reduce this amount by any employment credits you claim. If you’re going to hire employees, you better know what you’re doing or be ready to hire a professional to help you.
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  • Other Expenses – Anything that doesn’t fit in one of the above categories goes here. Assign a subcategory that is not too broad or too specific (see any of the others for examples). Items here have to be spent for your business, and they need to be things that are ordinary and necessary (useful) in your particular business. As long as it’s reasonable, you don’t need to worry too much about it. But if you’re going to push the envelope, then make sure you can prove its business use or seek help from a tax professional for verification.

 
       Got all that?! You’ll probably need to read over it a couple times and think about your situation to see what you need to remember the most. If you really get stuck, don’t be afraid to hire a good tax professional for help. It’ll be more than worth the penalties you could face if you’re wrong!

Mileage

       Tracking your mileage is a little more straightforward. Enter the starting mileage on your car in cell C1 at the beginning of the year. At the end of the year, you’ll enter the ending mileages. If you use two different cars, keep track of the starting and ending mileages for each car.

       Record each trip separately. You can combine round trips into a single entry if you like – just make it clear in the description. Enter the date in column A. Enter the total mileage driven for business purposes in column B. Enter your destination in column C and make it specific enough that you can recalculate the mileage in the future if needed. It’s a good idea to enter the starting point and destination to make this easy.

       If you make multiple stops in one trip, I’d separate out each leg of the trip. For instance, you go from your home (where you run your business) to Bob’s house, then from Bob’s house to Susie’s house, and then from Susie’s house back to your home. Assuming Bob and Susie are both clients/customers, I’d do three separate entries:
 

  1. Mileage from my home to Bob’s house
  2. Mileage from Bob’s house to Susie’s house
  3. Mileage from Susie’s house to my home

 
       It might seem silly, but it will be a better set of records than a single entry that says “home, Bob’s, Susie’s, home”.

       Finally, include the business purpose of the trip in column D. It doesn’t need to be extremely detailed, but it needs to be clear enough to show that it’s business related. This will vary depending on your particular business, but it should be pretty simple to figure out. Don’t forget to include trips to pick up supplies for your business. You don’t have to be earning income to count the trip.

Using This Spreadsheet for Your Taxes

       By using this spreadsheet to track your income and expenses by category, you’ll make tax time a lot easier (for you or your tax preparer). Easier means less errors, less time, and less money to spend. With a little Excel know-how, you can easily sort your income and expenses by category and quickly come up with the grand totals needed for your tax return (using a copy of your original file, of course…). Keep this spreadsheet along with copies of your bank statements, receipts, and invoices, and you should have easy access to your records if you ever need them.

Business Use of Your Home (Home Office Expenses)

       I didn’t cover the expenses you can deduct for the business use of your home (home office expenses) or include it in my spreadsheet. The reason is that this can get complicated and the rules are very specific. In fact, unless the area you use for your business is exclusively used for business, you don’t need to be thinking about taking this deduction. You won’t qualify. If you can take this deduction, you’ll need to read up on Form 8829 and the requirements elsewhere.

Complicated Businesses

       If your business is complicated, this free spreadsheet probably won’t work well for you. If you keep an inventory and sell stuff you produce, you’ll need to track cost of goods sold as well. I didn’t include that here because that adds even more complications. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp or item to track, but I just didn’t include it here. You can easily add another tab to track that if you need to.

       But honestly, if your business is more than slightly complex, you can really benefit from hiring a tax professional to help you out – at least for the first couple of years. Study your tax returns, read the laws and rules, and you might be able to handle everything yourself. But be sure you really understand it because the penalties can be severe if you try something fishy.

Questions?

       If you’ve got any questions, leave them here in the comments and I’ll try to help you. If it’s an insanely complex question, don’t be surprised if I tell you to go hire a professional. And finally, please remember that this is all general advice. Your particular situation could require a different approach and I can’t know that without having all the relevant information.

(photo credit: Crispin Semmens on Flickr)

This article was included in the Best of Money Carnival.

This article was also included in the Festival of Frugality.

Corey

Posts

Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

92 responses to Free Spreadsheet to Track Business Expenses for Schedule C

  1. This is really amazing that you took all the time and effort to make this chart. I think it will really help businesses and personal tax preparations. Thanks!

  2. You’re welcome. I just wanted to offer something to help people with simple side businesses. This isn’t the best solution and there are some improvements I could make to the spreadsheet. But it’ll do the job for most simple businesses.

  3. Hello!
    I am also from Lancaster, PA!!! Actually, right on the border of Lancaster and Chester county. I grew up on a dairy farm there.

    Great write-up. I am going to download the sheet and start putting my own expenses in for 2010…so far I just have lots of receipts.

  4. Hey Paul, This spreadsheet looks very comprehensive and easy to use!

  5. What an amazing resource! Thank you for doing such detailed work and providing it for your readers.

  6. Hi, Amanda! I’m on the border between the counties as well – on the southern end.

    Hope the spreadsheet is useful for you!

  7. Thanks! That was the goal.

  8. Thanks! You’re welcome. I hope it’ll help some people out. :)

  9. Thanks, Paul.

    Do I have permission to share this with my financial planning clients who are business owners?

    Derrik

  10. Great resource for the small businesses starting out! It will be a huge timesaver come January if they fill it out all year!

  11. Thanks, Robert. I do hope it will save people some time and headaches!

  12. Sure, Derrik. I wouldn’t recommend it for complicated businesses, but for simple, straightforward ones it’s an easy solution. Feel free to share it with anyone you like.

  13. Hey Paul, great post and thanks for sharing a really useful spreadsheet.

  14. Thanks, Mike! Glad you like it. :)

  15. Marlane F. Bengry January 5, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Paul: Thanks for this summary… I’m trying to help my sister with her business and your information has been the most helpful so far. Knowing you’re a Christian just made me smile… I knew there was something different about this site. Praise God for people like you. A fellow Christian… Marlane

  16. Glad I could help, Marlane! Please know it’s only a very basic summary and spreadsheet. If a business involves inventory or more complicated issues, this probably won’t work well and you could need more specific advice.

  17. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the spreadsheet. It is pretty comprehensive. I am not the greatest at spreadsheets and since you said it takes some excel ‘know how’ which I don’t have, how do I get the totals for each category? Thanks and God Bless.

  18. Hi, Ayah! You’re welcome. Basically, you’d want to highlight all of your expenses then go to ‘Data’ then ‘Sort’. (This is for Excel 2003…newer versions might be slightly different.) Then you can choose which columns you’d like to sort by. In the case of this spreadsheet, you want to sort by column B (Category) first and then by column C (Subcategory). Then all you need to do is highlight all the income or expense column entries for each category or subcategory to see a sum at the bottom of Excel, or you can use the SUM function to get totals. Hope that makes sense! I’ve usually found the Excel help to be useful and there are tons of free tutorials online. Just look up information about sorting in Excel.

  19. My question is, I do safety training classes and have to buy books for the class. I charge a flat rate but I have to buy these books to go with the class. Should I list these books as “Other Expenses” since they are not considered small supplies and they should not be considered as “Cost of goods sold” I do not resale them. I appreciate the advice.
    Erin

  20. Hi, Erin. You’d be OK putting it in either “Supplies” or “Other Income”. I would personally go with “Supplies” since they are supplies you need to produce the income for your business. What you don’t want to put in supplies are things that would need to be depreciated. These training books wouldn’t fall into that category, so you’re safe using “Supplies”.

  21. Thanks for such a great work sheet. I have searched all over for something just like this. You have hit a home run!

  22. You’re welcome, Carrol. :)

  23. I was about to create something like this to get my ducks in a row, but a wonderful Google search brought me to your wonderful contribution. Thank you. I’m stumped on what category I should use for legal work regarding a DBA and purchasing a domain. Once again, thank you for this!

  24. Hi, Kelli! If those legal expenses were for your first year, you could put them in start-up expenses (which goes under Other Expenses on Schedule C). Otherwise, I’d put the legal work in “Legal & Professional Services”. The domain name could go in either “Advertising” or “Other Expenses -> Website”. Hope that helps!

  25. If I own and operate my business alone, how do I pay myself? And where does it go on a spreadsheet?

  26. Hi, Jill. If you’re running a sole proprietorship (you report your business income and expenses on Schedule C) then you just pay yourself from the business funds by withdrawing the money. It doesn’t go down as a business expense on the spreadsheet because the IRS assumes that all of your net profit is your income as the business owner. If you withdraw more than your net profit, then you’re simply taking back your initial contributions to the business.

    The only reason you’d track what you pull out is for recording your assets and liabilities of the business. Also, it’s easier to track things if you have separate accounts for the business (like its own checking account).

  27. Hi

    starting up a new business in the uk and this has made things so much easier can i just ask what the YTD total is.? thanks

  28. Hi, Emily! Glad it’s helpful. YTD Total is just tracking your net profit year-to-date.

  29. Hi Paul ~ Great spreadsheet – thank you! I’m a sole proprietor and my question to you is:

    On schedule C where do I put the following:

    QuickBooks software
    Antivirus software
    Business mailbox rental

  30. Paul…this is very similar to what I was about to make. I edited the list to match the way the tax program asks for various breakdowns, ie., for vehicle expenses, oil, tires, repairs, etc. Although I am thinking they should be in a sublist. Anyhow, simple but straightforward. I had created something for a client that works in 2 states but was afraid to give it to him for fear he would mess up the formulas I set in many of the cells. Something like this would work well, then sort and copy to my worksheet should speed things up next year. I also would like to make one for rental property and education expenses. Change the list and good to go! Thanks again for sharing.

  31. No problem, Rick! Glad you found it useful. :) I didn’t think of adapting it for rental property but it could work very well for that. Possible future post! Thanks!

  32. Hi, Su! For the software, it depends on whether its “useful life” is more than a year. If you’re going to have to buy updates each year, then you can write off the full amount every year. If not, you have to depreciate it over a 36-month period (three years) or you can choose to take it all in one year as a Section 179 expense.

    I’d put the business mailbox rental under “Office Expenses” or “Other” .

  33. Thanks for the info and the template Paul, this is great! And your advice that I’ve read thus far seems to be right on target from what I’ve read elsewhere and have understood. Just starting up my own environmental consulting firm as a sole proprietor after about 20 years of working for corporations. Nonetheless, my question is this: I typically use a third-party laboratory (a corporation) laboratory as a vendor to analyze my collected environmental samples (maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of 10k-30k per year paid out to them) – Where would my expenses to this vendor go on the schedule C come tax time, contact labor? legal and professional services? or other expenses? If it would happen to fall under contract services, I’m curious if I would have to get involved in the W-9 / 1099 Misc process (although from what I’ve read, since they are a corp., maybe that would not be necessary)? Also, I have another question that I may ask for advice on – quarterly taxes, if my business will be a loss, say in the first year, should I be paying or starting to pay quarterly taxes, or do I need to wait until I actually make net profit? Thanks for any advice, appreciate your help!

  34. You’re welcome, Joe! I would put those vendor expenses under either contract labor or under other expenses. My leaning is toward contract labor. You don’t need to worry about filing a Form-1099 for them since they’re a corporation.

    Quarterly estimated tax payments only matter if you’re going to owe more than $1,000 on your tax return. Since you’ll have a loss this year, you probably don’t need to worry about it. But I can’t give you a definitive answer without seeing your tax return and more information on your business. Hope that helps!

  35. Thanks for the help Paul!!! Appreciate it very much!

  36. Hi Paul, I have an iMac and it seems as though not all of the functions are coming through. An example is that the categories do not self populate as I thought they wood. Shouldn’t I be able to type the first letter of a category and have it pop up? Thanks, Jim

  37. Hi, Jim. I can’t speak to the Mac user experience, but on my Windows version of Excel I can only have a category pop up automatically by typing the first letter if I’ve already used it once before in the spreadsheet. I’m not sure if there’s a workaround for that.

  38. Dennis Rodriguez May 26, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Paul,
    I am archiving expenses for other years than 2011. How do I change the default year to what I want so I don’t have to keep entering the year I’m using in each date cell? Also, do you have a template for Self Employed Business Expenses?
    Thank You !

  39. Dennis Rodriguez May 26, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    Paul,
    I guess I missed something. I thought the YTD column was to keep track of the grand total for the appropriate category of expense. I entered items for the same expense category and it didn’t increase the category totals. This looks like it is simply a checkbook register. I don’t plan to enter income on the spreadsheet so the YTD column appears will only show the negative balance of ALL expenses, with nothing being totaled by category.
    Did I miss something?
    Thanks again.

  40. Hi, Dennis! Check out comment #9 above and my reply. I think that will cover what you’re trying to do. This is designed to track your YTD profit if you’re including income. If not, then it will only show a negative balance of all expenses. If you want to sort by category at the end of the year, make a copy of the specific sheet and follow my instructions in my reply to comment #9. Hope that helps!

  41. There is no default year. I’m not sure what you mean by a template for self-employed business expenses. This spreadsheet is the closest thing I have for something like that.

  42. Awesome Paul!,

    Thank you so much! I had created and filled out my own excel expense spreadsheet and then my PC got a virus and i lost everything. I was hoping to find something similar, so I didn’t have to start all over again & Voila! This is perfect!
    *You are intelligent and so helpful, Plus you are so handsome!*
    God bless

    Thanks again
    Jo in Australia

  43. You’re quite welcome, Jolene! And thank you for your encouragement. :)

  44. I like the spreadsheet but I don’t see what ‘Christian’ and ‘Finance’ have to do with each other. Christ was not into money like you are….

  45. Glad you like the spreadsheet, Carol. As far as your other comment goes, I’m trying to make sure my approach to finances is lined up with my following Christ. If you read many of the articles on the site, I think you’ll see that I’m trying to make sure that how I think about and handle my finances is in line with what Christ would desire. He spoke often about money and the effects it can have on our lives. I’m just trying to share what I’m learning as I try to follow Him.

  46. Tracy Schindler July 26, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    I am so happy to have found this information. Starting using it immediately for my new small business. Thank you sir for offering your God given talents to others so that we may also benefit! Thank you for sharing your love for Him by including him in all that you do. We must consider God in decisions we make that affect one another. Refreshing to see someone proud of his choice to do good. Great example of His will!! …Bless you, Tracy from Texas

  47. Thanks, Tracy, and I’m glad you found it helpful!

  48. Thanks Paul for this fantastic spreadsheet. God Bless you for the freely given spreadsheet.

    Agree with you that every aspect of our life should bring glory to our Lord, including finances.

    The more we have, the more we can give.

  49. You’re welcome, Magdelene. Thanks for commenting!

  50. Hello Paul,
    I’m looking for a financial planner for a Christian business I’ll be starting soon. Do you do financial planning and advising? Do you do tax preparation for businesses?
    Thanks

  51. Hi Brian,

    Yes, I do provide financial planning and tax preparation. You can read more about the services I offer here: http://www.providentplan.com/provident-planning/home/ If you decide you want to work with me, you can find all of my contact info on that site. Thanks!

  52. Nicely done. I like the simplicity of it and the drop down menus. Gave me some good ideas how to better handle my old spreadsheets. Thanks!

  53. I am contracting with a company and they are reimbursing me for expenses (mileage, hotel and meals) while on business trips and my cell phone bill do I count this money as income and then also put it in my expenses or one or the other not both?

  54. Hi! If you’re an independent contractor reporting your income on Schedule C, then you should include the reimbursements as income and make sure to deduct the corresponding expenses in their appropriate categories. As an independent contractor all income (regular or reimbursement) is taxable. It’s up to you to write it off on your own tax return. I’d suggest at least meeting with a tax professional once to go over your situation and make sure you’re doing things right. You can probably handle most of it yourself, but it’s very helpful to have a pro look things over and see if they can catch any mistakes or missed opportunities. Hope that helps!

  55. Wow!  Thanks so much for this!

  56. This is going to help so many people.  Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

  57. You’re welcome, Wendy!

  58. Dear Paul, You have lessened this first-time sole proprietor’s anxiety! This template is just what I was looking for, to keep me on track in my new consulting business.
    Linda in Michigan

  59. Brother in Christ may the Lord richly bless you :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this. Is awesome!!! bless your heart thank you really :)

    According to what I was reading you are a Financial Planner, I like to contact you directly to see if we could hire you to help us out in our journey to buy our first home. You can contact me through our  Christian Social Network:
    http://m1820.com
    Christian T.

  60. Dear Paul,
    Thank you for your wonderful template!
    I am an independant contractor (sole proprietor) and have figured out how to pay my state sales tax, but how do I pay my federal taxes? Just form 1040, Schedule C and Schedule SE? Is this the minimum?

  61.  Hi, Paul!  Your federal taxes get calculated on Form 1040 and Schedule SE.  There are two ways to pay them:  with your personal tax return or through estimated payments.  The problem with waiting to pay with your personal tax return is that you might owe a penalty for not making estimated tax payments.  You don’t have to worry about penalties if you meet the safe harbor requirements (less than $1,000 tax due on Form 1040, or you paid in 100% of last year’s tax liability or 110% if your AGI was over $150,000, or you paid in 90% of the current year’s tax liability).  Most tax software will help you calculate any estimated tax payments you should be making to ensure you meet the safe harbor requirements.

  62. Thank you, Paul. This is perfect. The only thing is I can’t figure out how to use the drop down menu to categorize expenses. What am I missing?

  63.  You’re welcome.  I’m not sure why the menu isn’t working for you.  It’s pretty straightforward – click the cell, an arrow should appear to the right, click that and choose a category.  Works for me in Excel.  If you tell me what it is doing for you I might be able to help more.

  64. Hi Paul! 

    thank you so much for this spreadsheet!  I have a question or two. I’m a self published author who started her own publishing company as a sole proprietorship. My question is: where do I put book signing events that I attend to sale my books and the expenses associated with it? Sometimes I have to buy the food and other things for the events, and other times I just rent the table/booth and show up with my books.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

  65.  Hi, Cathy!

    I’d put any fees for renting your booth or attending the event under advertising/marketing.  Any travel or food would go under the travel category and the meals & entertainment expense.  You might want to consider meeting with a CPA or Enrolled Agent to get some preliminary help and then try to manage it on your own if you feel like you can do it.  Hope that helps!

  66. Hello Paul,
    I have several “other expenses” categories that I incur every month: Internet, Cell phone, Office phone. How should I categorize these? My tax preparer asks me to list them separately  each year, and she plugs them into her tax software. 

    Thanks for the help!

    Paul S.

  67. You can track them separately by using “Other” and then using the same subcategory for each expense.

  68. Wow! I love this spreadsheet! It makes organizing so much easier. If I needed to track cost of goods would I add it as a category? I know how to work Excel very well, just not sure how to keep track of cost of goods. Thanks.

    Annie

  69. There is an Other section that you could consider using. Otherwise, you would want to make sure to split them up according to the qualifying area. See above for the specific lists of what goes where. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you could consult with a CPA to ask your questions so that you could keep track yourself.

  70. Hello…
    I would like to add a couple of other categories to the sheet, can you briefly explain how to do this?

    Thanks!

  71. Hello and Thank you for this resource. My 2011 taxes were a nightmare and I am determined to keep better track of my finances.

     I am an exhibiting and selling artist as well as an independent contractor who does training and project coordination. In addition, I volunteer on a weekly basis. Would you suggest using a different spreadsheet for each activity/business? Of course there is mileage, expenses and earnings as well as donations of time, goods and money.

    Any suggestions you have are much appreciated. Thanks!

  72.  Carol, what ever makes you think that God does not care about finances? Financial decisions are ethical decisions. If not the Bible, where would one get their ethics? Additionally, God has placed laws into His creation, such as gravity, and free market economics. When when someone violates gravity, they fall under the law. When a nation violates Biblical economics, they suffer they fall under the law. God is no respecter of persons. Money worship is wicked, wealth is not. Look at Job’s wealth. Even the rich man in hell, who forgot the poor, was speaking to Abraham (wealthy man) across the gulf. I highly recommend RC Sproul Jr.s Biblical Economics study course and the book “Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulation” to gain a better understanding if you are interested.

  73. Thank you so much for sharing this spreadsheet. I have started a home based alterations business and this is perfect for tracking my business.

  74. Hi, I’m adding to Jill’s question above from Mar/14/2011 … As the only employee of my own business, just need to confirm that your suggestion is that I do not list my salary and benefits with the other biz expenses, but rather that I withdraw the full “net profit” – and use that to pay my own wages, inclusive of health, pension and other benefits … is that what you are saying? Second question, as I have determined to give a certain percentage of my income to the Kingdom, please advise if my giving should be based on the net profit that I withdraw or on the gross income of the business. This issue has always eluded me, and many Christian self-employed persons I know.

  75. im excited to start using this! i think it will really help me out. when putting this all into the spreadsheet, do you think it will be better to sort everything in order by date,(as i go through my receipts) or would it be better to sort by the category?? (or doesnt it matter..)
    also, I am a stylist and pay a weekly booth rental, should i enter that under rent/lease?
    one last question, I purchase products for the shelf for resale, is that an expense and what category??

    thankyou!!!!

  76. HI!

    I am starting up my first business as a nail salon. Thank you so much for your spreadsheet. I thought I needed to list the Vendors name, but your sheet doesn’t have a column for that. Is it not necessary?

    I’m the only one in my nail salon with no employees. I am having a tough time, categorizing my expenses. You have listed office expense supplies and other expense. I’m not sure where to put my manicure table, pedicure chair, reception desk, nail polish, scrubs, lotions, wall racks, lamps. What category is furniture? How about decor? And cleaning stuff is that under maintenance? Water, tea, sugar, would that me other expense? Sorry to ask you so many questions!

  77. Hi Paul…I realize that you posted this spreadsheet quite a while back, but I wanted to let you know that I just ran across it. It is EXACTLY what I needed to get keep track of the income / expenses for my wife’s psychological practice. Thank you very much for making this available.

  78. Thank you for this awesome spreadsheet! I’ve waited until the last minute to prep for my tax advisor (meet with her tomorrow…yikes!). Thanks to your spreadsheet, I was able to calculate my business income/expenses in less than four hours! Whew! Thanks again.

  79. The spreadsheet looks amazing. However, I’m wondering how to get a drop down list of the other’s category.

  80. Karolyna Ybarra April 19, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    EXCELLENT!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH , great spreadsheet, thank you so much, for sharing.

  81. when I download the spreadsheet it tells me it is corrupt and it can’t be opened. Any advise?

  82. Can anyone explain to me why there is a separate tab for mileage as opposed to just adding it to the main sheet under “travel?” Thanks for any advice.

  83. Hi, this is great and im new to excel and bookeeping, when i went to sort the way my boss asked me to, everything changed on the ytd column? is there a way to prevent that?

    Thanks,
    Bridget

  84. Omar S. Anderson March 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    This link will take you to the website of the Company that has the Tax Bot App which can track all your personal and business driving miles. Press this link and scroll down to Tax Bot where it says “Stop Leaving Money On The Table http://osaman4.wakeupnow.com/product

  85. Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for to keep my records. I have other spreadsheets to help me break it down to help me see what areas to work on for improvement. But this will make it super easy at tax time. I’ve used others services and software, but none of it presents it the way the schedule C requires it, and this really does.

    Thanks again.

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