Kindle Unlimited Pages Read Rate for August, 2015

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KINDLE UNLIMITED PAGES READ

Amazon paid $0.00514 per KENP read in August, 2015.

Compare that to the $0.005779 pages read rate in July, 2015.

That’s a drop of 11%. If you had 10,000 pages read in July, would earned $57.79, but for the same 10,000 pages read in August, you only earned $51.40.

On the one hand, an 11% drop is significant, but on the other hand, unless you had a million pages read through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime, that 11% doesn’t amount to a whole lot.

And if you had a million pages read, you’re thriving in the program (compared to most authors).

But the concern really isn’t over one drop in the payout of 11%.

The concern extends beyond that. 11% is a pretty sizable change. It’s not a small fluctuation.

So one concern is stability.

If it drops 11% in August, another 11%…

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4 Last-minute tax tips for writers #taxes #author

4 Last-minute tax tips for writers #taxes #author

Panicking because you aren’t ready for tomorrow’s tax deadline? Here are some last-minute tips to make the process a little less painful. To get all the deductions you deserve and plenty of tax planning and prep advice, check out EM Lynley’s book Tax Tips for Authors.

If you try to rush through a Schedule C in a day or two, I guarantee you will miss deductions and end up paying more tax than you really owe, especially if this is the first or even the second year you are filing a Schedule C as a writer. There are a lot of specialized deductions you may not know about, and it’s worth the effort to keep good records and allow enough time to properly prepare your tax return.

1. Didn’t get organized in time? File an extension. If you haven’t got your expenses tallied in time to get all the deductions on your Schedule C, don’t worry. You can file an extension that gives you until October 15 to file your return: another six months to get your act together. Most tax software has an extension option, or you can go to the IRS website and download the PDF at the link below. Fill it in and mail it to be postmarked by April 15.

The caveat here is that the IRS expects you to pay what you owe now, even if you haven’t completely figured it out! If you have a refund coming, don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything. But if you have a balance due, or you aren’t sure, make sure that between withholding and other tax payments that you pay as much as your tax liability from LAST year. Then you won’t get an IRS penalty. You may owe interest on the difference, but it’s far less than the penalty for under-withholding during the year and not paying anything by April 15.

Form 4868 Extension Request

Tax liability is on Line 61 of Form 1040 for last year.

2. Owe money to the IRS and you can’t pay it by April 15? That’s not as big a problem as it sounds. Go ahead and file your return on time, and send what you can afford now, even if it’s just $10. The IRS is happy to send you a bill for the remainder, and that letter will have instructions for setting up a payment plan. You can take up to 5 years to pay any balance due, at a monthly payment that’s affordable for you, as low as $30 or $50 a month.

Remember: the penalty for NOT filing is 5% of the balance due per month, up to a maximum of 25% of the amount you owe. But the penalty for paying late is only 0.5% per month, just one-tenth of that amount. File, then figure out how to pay later and you will save yourself a lot of money and a lot of stress.

3. Realized you forgot to claim something after you filed, or are you missing a vital receipt for a deduction? Not a problem. You can file an amended return up to three years after the due date. For 2013 returns you have until April 15, 2017 to correct anything you forgot to deduct. You’ll file a Form 1040X (Amended Return) for the specific year you need to correct, after you’ve redone your return with all the deductions you are entitled to.

4. Want to reduce your 2013 tax liability? The only way to fix what you owe for 2013 now is to put some money in a traditional IRA account by April 15. You can deduct up to $5,000 of traditional IRA contributions, depending on your income level and whether you or your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at your day job. Roth IRAs aren’t deductible. They are made with post-tax dollars, so they’re completely tax free when you take the money out in retirement.

NOTE: IRA contributions only reduce your income tax liability, not your self-employment tax liability.

Get more useful tax prep and planning advice in my book Tax Tips for Authors. It will help you get all your deductions for 2013 and get organized in advance for 2014 tax filing, with lots of essential bookkeeping advice.

(Available from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords and AllRomance/OmniLit and in print)

Want even more information? Sign up for my Tax Tips Newsletter, or visit the Tax Tips for Authors website. Best of all, pick up a copy of my book Tax Tips for Authors 2014. It’s got new information for filing 2013 returns, a Schedule C walkthrough, chapters on self-employment taxes and quarterly payments, and a whole lot more.

Available from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords and AllRomance/OmniLit and in print

 

EM Lynley is a former investment analyst and White House economist. For the past five years she has been much happier writing erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. Her Precious Gems series is best described as “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone”—only gayer. The Delectable series is Gay Romance with Taste. Her books are available in print and e-book from Amazon & other book distributors.

 

Visit EM online Website Blog FacebookTwitter

 

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5 Things Authors Miss on their Tax Returns #taxes

 

taxtipscover200In my real life I’m a tax and finance professional and I’ve been sharing my knowledge with other writers for the past three years. I find many people have problems with the same issues year after year. Are you making these mistakes? If so, you’ll find more ways to solve these problems (and more) in my book Tax Tips for Authors 2014. (Available from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords and AllRomance/OmniLit and in print)

 

1. Calling your hobby a business – or vice versa

The IRS has a pretty strict line between hobby and business, because businesses get to write their losses off against other income (W-2 or investment income) which lets them lower their taxes. To be considered a business you need to have profits in 3 out of the past 5 years. It you’re having more years of losses than profits, the IRS may want you to prove you’re a real business, which means show that you are trying to make money. They look at the ratio of expenses to earnings and the type of expenses you claim: advertising and other promo help you, but travel to conventions may hurt you if you’re not earning enough to justify the expense.

Businesses that claim to be a hobby are seen as avoiding self-employment tax, so if you have increasing hobby income, the IRS may force you to file Schedule C and pay SE tax. Make sure you classify your writing correctly.

2. Not filing quarterly estimated tax payments

This is one of the most confusing aspects of self-employment and for authors it’s even more complicated: earnings and expenses fluctuate wildly during the year. Some people just ignore it, then get both a big surprise balance due in April, plus a penalty for not paying quarterly. There are ways to avoid this, the easiest being to pay at least 110% of last year’s tax bill in quarterly installments. If you overpay, you’ll get a refund, but you’ll definitely avoid a penalty. I go over how to calculate the correct quarterly payments in my book, Tax Tips for Authors 2014.

3. Paying too much self-employment tax

How do you pay too much? By not taking all the deductions you can, and by not keeping a careful running balance of profit and loss during the year. You only pay SE tax when you have over $400 of profits, so if you can reduce profits (by increasing legitimate spending during the tax year) you can save some money. Make sure to do a tentative P and L calculation in early December. It may make sense to register for expensive conventions then rather than waiting till January. Buy a new computer or pre-pay for advertising. Shift only planned spending rather than simply spending down your profits carelessly, so you can build your business rather than just avoid taxes.

 

4. Missing out on deductions

Most authors I work with don’t keep good records of their spending. This includes mileage driven for “business.” Did you write down every time you drove to the library, book store, airport, etc.? Get in the habit of writing down your mileage and other expenses every day or two—before you forget—and you’ll see how much more you are able to claim. Keep receipts for books, index cars, notebooks, stock photos, domain names, lunch with your writing partner, swag, etc. This will also help you keep a running P and L for filing quarterly payments and making good year-end spending decisions. I have much more information on proper recordkeeping and deductions in the book.

5. Mixing business and personal expenses

Along with the hobby/business issue, this is one of the things IRS loves to investigate. The best way to keep everything separate—even for sole proprietors—is to have separate bank accounts and debit or credit cards. It’s easy to have a separate PayPal account just for your writing business, and you can get a PayPal debit card. An Ally bank account is free and requires no minimum deposit and they issue debit cards as well. Have all your payments made into the separate accounts, and spend only from the business PayPal/Ally debit card. If you need to use a credit card, ask for an additional card from your credit card company and use the new one only for business. At the end of the year you can get a separate statement of your business expenses, which makes recordkeeping and organizing deductions a snap.

 

Want even more information? Sign up for my Tax Tips Newsletter, or visit the Tax Tips for Authors website. Best of all, pick up a copy of my book Tax Tips for Authors 2014. It’s got new information for filing 2013 returns, a Schedule C walkthrough, chapters on self-employment taxes and quarterly payments and a whole lot more.

Available from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords and AllRomance/OmniLit and in print

 

 

OutoftheGate_FBThumbThe author is a former investment analyst and White House economist. Now she writes erotic romance under a pen name. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. Her Precious Gems series is best described as “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone”—only gayer. The Delectable series is Gay Romance with Taste. Her books are available in print and e-book from Amazon & other book distributors.

Visit her online Website Blog FacebookTwitter

 

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Last-minute tax advice for writers #taxes #author

Panicking because you aren’t ready for tomorrow’s tax deadline? Here are some last-minute tips to make the process a little less painful. To get all the deductions you deserve and plenty of tax planning and prep advice, check out my book Tax Tips for Authors.

coverTaxTips_thumb_EM

1. Didn’t get organized in time? File an extension. If you haven’t got your expenses tallied in time to get all the deductions on your Schedule C, don’t worry. You can file an extension until October 15, which gives you six months to get your act together. Most tax software has an extension option, or you can go to the IRS website and download the PDF. Fill it in and mail it on April 15. The caveat here is that the IRS expects you to pay what you owe now, even if you haven’t figured it out! If you have a refund coming, don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything. But if you have a balance due, or you aren’t sure, make sure that between withholding and other tax payments that you pay as much as your tax liability from LAST year. Then you won’t get an IRS penalty. You may owe interest on the difference, but it’s far less.

Form 4868 Extension Request

Tax liability is on Line 61 of Form1040 for last year.

2. Owe money and you can’t pay it? That’s not as big a problem as it sounds. Go ahead and file your return on time, and send what you can afford now. The IRS is happy to send you a bill for the remainder, and that letter will have instructions for setting up a payment plan. You can take up to 5 years to pay any balance due, at a monthly payment that’s affordable for you. Remember: the penalty for NOT filing is 5% of the balance due per month, up to 25% of the amount you owe. But the penalty for paying late is only 0.5%, just one-tenth of that amount. File, then figure out how to pay later and you will save yourself a lot of money.

3. Realized you forgot to claim something after you filed or missing a vital receipt? Not a problem. You can file an amended return up to three years after the due date. For 2012 you have until April15, 2016 to correct anything you forgot to deduct. You’ll file a Form 1040X for the specific year you need to correct, after you’ve redone your return with all the deductions you are entitled to.

4. Want to reduce your 2012 tax liability? The only way to fix what you owe for 2012 now is to put some money in a traditional IRA account by April 15. You can deduct up to $5,000 of traditional IRA contributions, depending on your income level and whether you or your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at your day job. Roth IRAs aren’t deductible. They are made with post-tax dollars, so they’re completely tax free when you take the money out in retirement.

Get more useful tax prep and planning advice in my book Tax Tips for Authors. It will help you get your deductions for 2012 and get organized in advance for 2013 tax filing, with bookkeeping advice.

Available from Amazon and Smashwords.

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5 Top Tax Tips for Writers #taxtips #taxes

coverTaxTips_thumb_EM

As both a published author, and a tax preparer, I know exactly the worries and frustrations my fellow authors go through every year. If  you use tax prep software, you’re never sure what’s allowed or where on Schedule C to put the cost of your website and cover art–or you pay through the nose for an accountant to do your return. Kayelle asked me to offer a few tips to help you feel a little more confident about your taxes, whether this year as you rush to finish by April 15, or pick up some advice to help you out when you file next year.

1. You can write off that whip you bought while researching your BDSM story! There’s quite a bit of latitude for authors to deduct research expenses. Just ask yourself: “Would I buy this if I weren’t writing a story about X?” If not, then it’s a legit research expense. I write off reference books, library fines on research books, and trips to visit a location. I even wrote off some wine I bought while writing a novel about a winemaker. You can also deduct some of the fiction you buy, if you call it market research. Just don’t abuse that one. If you make $500 on writing and spend $1000 on books for “research” you’ll find it difficult to defend if the IRS asks any questions.

2. Document, document, document. This is the magic word for the IRS. Keep records of everything you buy or spend related to your writing business. You can do a spreadsheet or write notes in a desk calendar. If the IRS happens to audit your return, they’ll require this level of documentation, even if you don’t have original receipts. You can even show them the scribbles in your calendar.

3. Other deductions you might have missed: swag for conventions, fees for online classes, contest entry fees, airfare and hotel for conventions, mileage for trips to the library, bookstore, stock photos for cover art, your domain name, RWA meetings (and the fees!), membership fees for any and all author organizations. If you bought it for promotion, report it as “advertising” expense. Anything that doesn’t fit into a standard category on Schedule C goes as “Other.” Just document how the item was used for business purposes: “RWA dues and meeting expenses” or “Books for research”

4. Even unpublished authors can take these deductions. If you had expenses in 2012, but your book won’t be released until 2013, you can and should file Schedule C to get the deductions for 2012. Don’t worry about a loss on your business return, as long as 3 out of 5 years show a profit, the IRS won’t question the occasional loss. And you can’t take the deductions in a later year, only the year you actually spent the money.

5. Missed some of these deductions? If you’ve already filed, but didn’t take as many deductions as you’re legitimately entitled to, it’s not too late. You can file an amended return. It’s  a correction to the original, and if you are owed an additional refund, or have a smaller balance due than on your original return, the IRS will send you the difference.

6. Bonus tip: Like most of you, I get paid from many publishers through PayPal. I signed up for a PayPal debit card, which I use for as many of my expenses as possible, so I can keep personal and business expenses separate. Only use this card for business expenses, and pay for personal items only from your personal bank account or credit card. This will help with recordkeeping. Then, at the end of the year, print out the statement and make a note what each item was for. Save that with your return in case two years from now the IRS asks you to substantiate a particular item. You won’t necessarily remember later on.

I teach an online course each spring, covering these topics and a lot more. I do a line-by-line Schedule C walkthrough and home office deductions, and explain self-employment taxes as well as the dreaded estimated quarterly tax payments. The course content is also available in a book, Tax Tips for Authors, from Amazon and Smashwords. (Use coupon code VU67J to save $1.00 at Smashwords).

By night NS Smith writes erotic romance, but by day she’s a financial writer, editor, and tax professional. She holds a MS degree in Financial Economics from the London School of Economics and is a former staff economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Visit her online: www.emlynley.com, www.smoothdraft.com and https://taxtipsforauthors.wordpress.com/

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Still procrastinating on your 2012 return?

Writers, if you’re still holding off filing your taxes because you don’t know whether something is deductible, or you’re worried about self-employment tax, breathe a sigh of relief. It’s too late to sign up for one of my online courses before you need to file (or at least file an extension) but you can get a copy of my book, Tax Tips for Authors, which is a compilation of the 10-lecture series with additional details, plus a FAQ section of questions other authors have asked in the past.

It’s available at Amazon for just $4.99. The online course runs $20-40, so it’s really a bargain! It’s $4.99 you can’t afford not to spend.

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Welcome

taxhelpI’m N.S. Smith, a published author and a registered tax preparer in the state of California.

As an author I know what a hassle doing taxes can be, from knowing what you can write off–and what you can’t or shouldn’t–to understanding whether or not I need to pay estimated taxes or not and how the heck am I supposed to fill in that form? I’ve struggled through every one of these questions for myself at  one point or another.

As a tax preparer, I know the answers to these questions or how to find out. I can walk you through the forms you need and help you determine which forms you’ll need to file and how to fill those forms out.

I’ll be doing weekly posts here, but I also offer a Tax Tips for Authors course with lectures and plenty of Q&A in the group as well as privately if you don’t want the others to know your business.

And I’m writing an upcoming book incorporating everything, plus a lot more. Stay tuned for updates about that.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments, subscribe to this blog and consider signing up for one of my very reasonably priced courses.

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