ONE Record your mileage of your vehicle on December 31, 2016. If you’ve been keeping a log of your mileage for business trips this year, you will need to know the actual odometer reading for your tax calculations. You’ll need to document your mileage on business separate from the vehicle’s mileage used for personal purposes.
TWO Prepare a list of business expenses related to your work as an author during the past year. Postage, webhosting, submission fees, book purchases, subscriptions, professional memberships, library fees, computer software, print cartridges, paper, pens, conference fees, Facebook fees to boost posts, marketing collateral like postcards or bookmarks, etc.
THREE Think about the places you’ve gone as a professional writer during the last 12 months. Travel expenditures for the past year may include airfare, car rentals, gas, ferry or taxi fares, meals, etc. Collating this information now as you review your 2016 files will help you prepare for taxes.
FOUR Make a list of those whom you paid for services related to your writing this year. This list might include website designers, photographers, indexers, researchers, publicists, social media strategists, book cover designers, attorneys, and editors. Anyone you paid at least $600 to perform services who is not your employee will need to receive a 1099-MISC form before the end of February. In order to complete the form, you will need the service provider’s social security number or employer identification number. If you have not already asked each service provider for a W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, now would be the time to request that information. You will use this information to complete the 1099-MISC along with the total dollar amount paid from which no taxes have been paid. It is your responsibility to file this form with the IRS and penalties for failure to file to do so have increased and are subject to inflationary adjustments. Now is the time to order online the 1099-MISC forms from the IRS to be sent by U.S. Post.
FIVE Review your electronic accounts which you use for your author persona and update them. Has your address changed? New cell phone number? New headshot for your avatar? Review your user profiles and account settings.
SIX Look over your website and make the necessary updates to keep your electronic presence fresh and current. You might have a broken link or the sign-up for your blog may be broken and you don’t even know it.
SEVEN Create backup files of all your important electronic documents and put them in a safe place. This means more than your manuscript—private email lists, website files, contracts and correspondence.
EIGHT Put together a list of the sources of income from your writing during 2016. Did you receive an advance on royalties or royalty payments? Were you the recipient of a grant or cash award for a writing contest? Were you paid a stipend or speaker fee? Did you directly sell copies of your book? Teach a workshop or writing class for which you were paid? On your website do you have advertisements for which you receive passive income? Did you get paid for writing an article, essay, poem, or excerpt by a magazine, journal, or online blog?
NINE Change your passwords. Yes, all of them. I recommend using password vault software. There are several good programs which are free to use. I use It’s free. It will generate random passwords, save them, and keep them secure. You can use it on all your devices and has an auto form filling function. You need only one master password to remember and it takes care of the rest.
TEN Unsubscribe to mailing lists, blogs, and newsletters you are no longer interested in seeing. Eliminate some of the daily clutter in your inbox.