The Tax Fairy

When they ask you at kindergarten what you want to be when you grow up, most kids respond with something like "nurse", or "fireman", or "teacher", right?

Well this little girl wanted to be a fairy. Solid career choice. 

The funny thing is, at 14, I had actually achieved my life goal of working as a fairy. With my background in acting and dance, I scored a spot on the books at a talent agency, and got my very first job working at a kids function as a fairy.  That meant I needed an ABN. I was officially a business woman. At 14. I was more excited about being a fairy to be honest.

So at the very young age of 14 I registered for an ABN, and bought my first invoice book. My Dad was helping me along the way of course, but he was great and taught me a few key things that I probably took for granted:

  • Read all contracts. Even the fine print. And read them before you sign them. 
  • Keep track of your income (and keep a copy of those invoices you sent in a safe place).
  • Record when invoices have been paid... you'd be surprised how often people don't pay you, and you would hate to miss out on that money just because your records weren't in order and it slipped past you right?
  • Also keep track of what you spend on things related to earning that income... and keep the receipts!

All of this comes in handy for tax time and it can be a massive pain trying to pull it altogether at the end of the year. Trust me, it just gets harder and harder each year as your business grows! So, start with good habits early on.

I've been doing my own tax for over ten years now. It started with just the little bit of income from performance work. Then I got a job in retail so I then had two streams of income to worry about, and a few expenses. Fast forward a few years and now I have a mixture of income from dividends, and from my business, I'm also still employed full time, and I have a range of different expenses to claim from business set up costs, to subscriptions, studio hires (dance school), contractor wages, and professional body memberships. It's getting more and more complex, so I need to be more and more organised.

I'm thankful that I learnt good habits early on!

That said, I am not perfect. Usually I tend to put all this tax stuff off until the last minute... they say that's pretty common right, we're all good at telling others what to do, but terrible at putting it into practice ourselves. A client of mine actually taught me the lesson of "eat the frog first". It just means, do the thing you've been putting off, first. Get that out of the way. Stop procrastinating. And you know what!? I did that this year. I got on top of my books and was ready for tax on 1 July. I've never felt more organised. 

On that note my friend...

Enough procrastinating. Enough reading. Time to get back to whatever you are meant to be doing... eat that frog. Do your tax!! 

xx

Lauren

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