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Ok, just kidding on that one. Hopefully the returns haven’t been too bad for you.  Now that we’re into January, it is time to think about 2014 plans, taxes and more taxes.  In other words…the party’s over and it is time to get a broom and trashcan and start cleaning up. Regardless of when I file my federal taxes, I always pull all my information together early in the year so I know if I need to save up to pay taxes.  Just like your personal taxes, you can extend filing your taxes if it makes sense to do so.

As I prepare all my reports and finalize my 2013 bookkeeping for my CPA, I thought I would share a little sunshiny moment that I had recently.

Long-time readers of mine know that I use ScanPower for my listing and scanning.  One of the features they offer is the ability to capture my cost while I’m pricing.  All this year I’ve done that. As I was listing I had my receipts in front of me and I recorded the amount I paid. This has helped me in repricing later. In 2013 I asked the guys there to allow me access to the data in other ways (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!).  In particular, my CPA asks me every year to provide the value of the inventory I have up at Amazon.com.  What I was hoping ScanPower would provide was a report I could download on 12/31 with my actual costs added in. Then all I would need to do is go back to some of the older inventory (pre-2013) and add their costs, add it up and be done.  Considering that I have several thousand books in my inventory, this is no small task.

Well, it is a much smaller task now!  I’m happy to say that the new Unity offers access to all my data including what I paid.  It is not obvious how to use it (yet) so I created a 14-page Step-by-Step for my readers who use ScanPoweron how to find and use that data.  I am currently using Scribd to store my Step-by-Steps and it may require you to register in order to download it. It is free. Please note that while all the images do not show up on Scribd (I can’t figure out why), if you download the PDF file to your computer, it is just fine. I’m assuming this is a Scribd issue.

If you were fortunate enough to sell more than $20,000 on Amazon.com in 2013 and/0r have more than 200 transactions on Amazon.com, be aware that Amazon will be reporting your gross sales to Uncle Sam. This 1099-K form will be available to you on January 31st and Amazon will send you an email. If you don’t see it, you can check your own SellerCentral. Go to “Reports” and “Tax Document Library” to see your 1099-K form when it is available. You will file this form with your federal taxes for your business (or you personally if you are a sole proprietor). You can also download your sales tax reports here. Please be aware that even if your sales are lower and Amazon is not reporting you to Uncle Sam, you are still obligated to report your sales.  No free rides from the IRS.

Sales for most people drop in January, it is normal to feel bummed about this – but it doesn’t mean we stop selling.  If you are following Steve’s Retail Flipping strategy, then you should be busily buying for maximum returns later in the year. I’m currently selling cookbooks, exercise books, exercise VHS (yep, VHS) and other self-help books. My textbook sales are up. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Next will be Easter, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, new babies, birthdays, weddings, backyard BBQs….there is a reason for people to buy stuff all year round and we need to lay our plans now to take advantage of these occasions.

Early in the year is also a good time to reflect on the overall profit and loss of my business.  How did I do compared to previous years? What were my successes? My failures? Where do I want to focus my attention this year? How can I efficiently increase my sales? I’m still time pressed and I’m still taking out a fair amount of my profits for my family so my growth is slower than I would like.  This year I’m planning to put a greater percentage of my checks into inventory in the hopes that a year from now I’ll have doubled my monthly income (on average) in about the same amount of time.  If my plans are successful, I’ll share in a future blog post. If they fail…I’ll share that, too.

In these quiet, cold days of January, let the warmth of your dreams keep you inspired and may 2014 be the best year ever!

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