The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

Archive for October, 2016

What Is Your Self Employment Worth?

This looks like a strange question being asked, especially if you’ve been thinking about going into business for yourself or you’ve been in business for a while, but it’s got a big meaning. Moreso for those new to business than those who’ve been in business for a long time, it seems most people have a problem in figuring out not only how much they should charge for services but how much their worth… aka, what their value is worth.

Premier Wynne announced the successful completion of Project Advantage; a program that enabled a group of four medium-sized, family-owned bakeries to collaborate to increase production and create new jobs.
Premier of Ontario Photography via Compfight

Even though every business is different, there needs to be a starting point one should look at when they first get into self employment, and then try to grow from there. We’re going to offer a few things to consider.

The first thing to consider is how much you’re making working for someone else. If you’re making at least 25,000 a year, your initial goal should be trying to earn at least 50% more than you’re making now, with your goal within a couple of years to be making at least 100% more.

Why? You have to consider what you’re losing by working for your present company. The cost of health insurance, even if you’re paying some amount for coverage at work, is going to go up drastically, at least 50% over what you’re presently paying. You’re also expected to pay it in a larger lump sum monthly as opposed to paying a little bit every week or two weeks. True, you’ll have options for coverage, and in most states there are multiple choices based on your state’s ACA (affordable care act) exchange, but it’s something to consider.

While we’re on insurance, if you had dental, vision, or any other type of insurance that’s now coming out of your pocket as well. These aren’t overly expensive to buy on your own unless you have a physician you already like, which can be problematic in some states or smaller communities; then you’ll likely have to pay more to keep that person.

The second thing to consider are office supplies and other equipment. You don’t have an employer to rely on for these items, and even though you get to write them off on your taxes, the amount up front doesn’t benefit you.

The third thing to consider is time off. Right now you probably get vacation and sick pay; that’s not happening when you work for yourself. This means you’re going to have to be disciplined enough to put some money aside for those rainy days unless you can work from home, possibly in bed via a laptop or tablet… although you might not feel like it.

All other bills aren’t mentioned because if you started off making the same amount of money you were making while working for someone else you’d probably already figured out how to pay those bills while still being able to eat and put gas in your vehicle.

Now, notice we started talking about making more than 25K. If you’re making less than that, or not even close to that amount, you’re going to want to think about making at least 75% to 100% more up front to cover those same items as above. The difference maker is that you’ll probably qualify for a bigger subsidy from the ACA, thus you won’t have to worry about paying for health care, and you might even get a reduction on dental coverage; vision care is still on you.

These aren’t set in stone, but it’s a pretty good guide to start with. What you have to do if you consider working for yourself is change your mindset from employee mode to professional mode. Professionals have the right to make more money because they have more expenses. As long as you have a place to start, you can determine what you want to make from there for your products or services.

Writing Off Home Office Expenses

Most small business owners working out of their home knows they can write off expenses for their home office. Still, not all that many of them do, and they might not know how it all works. We’re going to offer a few bits of information that might help you save money on your taxes.

The first thing you should know if that you have write offs based on the dimensions of your office. If your office is 10×10 as an example, you get to write of $5 per square foot, which in this case comes to $500. There’s a maximum level of 300 square feet, or $1,500. This is called the “simplified method”. A more technical method involved figuring out the percentage of your house you’re using for work, such as if you’re running a day care out of your home or you have a studio where you work on projects that you want to claim. If you have extra complications like that it’s easier to work with an accountant to help you figure it out properly.

The qualifications for doing this is that you do a substantial amount of work from your home office, but it’s rare that anyone will check to see how much work you’re doing from your home. It’s supposed to only be used for business, but the definitions would be hard to prove either way. For instance, if you allow your children to use your office to do their homework it’s technically not allowed. If you use the room for other purposes, such as a laundry room (although no one would do this; just an example) then technically you’re not allowed to claim the deduction unless you have some kind of defined border showing which part is office and which part is home use.

By the way, if you’re an employee who works from home, you get to use this deduction as well. The same space rules apple as above. Strangely enough, you also get to write off expenses as it applies to your mortgage or if you rent an apartment.

Did you know if you decided to paint your office or change the flooring exclusively in there, you get to write off some of the expenses for this (you get to write off painting in full). Also, if you have a dedicated phone line for your business that counts as a write off.

If you have to store any type of inventory in your home and that room is used exclusively for that purpose you get to write that off. However, you can also write off some expenses if you use a portion of a room like a basement, as long as your home is the only location of your business.

There are a lot more exemptions you might qualify for, but truthfully it’s probably best to talk to a tax professional or your accountant to help you calculate these things and keep yourself from going crazy trying to figure it all out.