How to survive tax season as an independent contractor

tax seasonBy Maddie Jostol

As an independent contractor, you’re running your own business – and you experience all of the perks and challenges that come with that. Tax season isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s particularly frustrating as a 1099 independent contractor.

We all experience the same thing year over year. Tax season arrives, and it’s all you can do to pull everything together to file, let alone do it in a way that will save you money. You work through the endless forms, attempting to find all of the information you need. You get to the part where you need to fill in your Schedule C deductions… and… nothing. Another year went by and you don’t have the necessary documentation to deduct most of your business expenses. “Oh well” you think to yourself, “it’s not worth the time anyway.”

Here’s the deal: real estate agents are losing serious cash by neglecting to take advantage of available deductions.

The truth is, it’s incredibly time consuming to track your expenses, mileage, and deductions all year-round. And guess what? It isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you start early in the year. Below are a few things you can do to help yourself survive tax season as an independent contractor.

1. Know what deductions you should be looking out for.

The first step is knowing what deductions are available to you – and there are more than you might think. Things like your home office or software subscriptions are deductible expenses that you shouldn’t let slip through the cracks. Know what you should be looking out for, so you can get a system in place to track them year-round.

For a comprehensive list of deductions and information about each, click here to download our Guide to Stress-Free Taxes for Agents.

2. Track your expenses as they happen.

Receipts are every independent contractor’s worst enemy. Paper or digital, they’re a pain to keep track of and they’re difficult to organize when it comes time to file those taxes.

Consider a simple personal accounting system like QuickBooks Self-Employed. This app lets you snap a pic of a receipt from directly within the app and it automatically categorizes and stores that receipt. It then matches the receipt with the expense when it comes through as a bank charge. When it comes time to file, all of those business expenses have been tracked, categorized for your Schedule C, and documented appropriately. You can officially say goodbye to that mismanaged shoebox of receipts.

Mileage tracking is one you definitely won’t want to miss. You’re always on the go. Some days it feels like you live in your car – you’re running errands before an open house, picking up signage, meeting with clients, and having coffee with prospective clients.

When you have the QuickBooks Self-Employed app, it tracks your mileage every time you get in your car (seriously!). You can then go into your app, view your recent trips, and swipe left or swipe right to designate those trips as business or personal. Yes, it can be that easy (we didn’t believe it until we tried it either). Easier than a dating app, even.

3. Don’t do it alone.

Get a reliable system in place. As much as we’d like to do it all ourselves, the reality is it takes time and energy that we’d rather put into closing sales. At the same time, there are thousands of dollars to be saved by efficiently managing your business finances. When you get technology on your side, it takes away the weight and frustration of accounting and tax filing.

The best part of this is that you don’t need a complex, expensive system, you just need one that is designed for 1099 independent contractors. That’s the key. Use an accounting system that fits your unique needs as a realtor and helps you run your business more smoothly.

Want to give QuickBooks Self-Employed a try? We’re offering 50% off your first 12 months (that makes it just $5/month!). Click here to try it out!

Posted on February 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Partners, Open Platform, Productivity | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Automatically Track Your Mileage and Save Hundreds on Taxes

mileage tracking with QuickBooks SEBy Maddie Jostol 

Taxes are a pain. Real estate agents face unique challenges as independent contractors because you’re running your own small business. This makes taxes an even bigger pain.

It’s really common for agents to miss out on deductions because the tax filing process is so time consuming and frustrating. Especially when you file on a quarterly basis, the accounting responsibilities of running your small business start to take over. Have you ever thought about how much savings you’re missing out on because you didn’t take full advantage of the deductions available to you?

A few of the many deductions to look out for:

– Mileage tracking

– Business-related technology subscription fees

– Meals and entertainment when you meet with clients

– Home office (or desk fees)

We’re going to focus on mileage tracking because that seems to be a common one for agents to miss out on. We understand why… it’s a huge annoyance to write down your mileage and then remember what that trip was for later on. We all end up with endless images of our car dashboard on our phone. That’s not exactly what you want to see as you’re scrolling through photos of your niece’s soccer game last weekend. When it comes time to file your taxes, it isn’t even worth trying to sift through pictures and records of trips you took for business. That means you’re missing out on some hefty deductions, though.

The good news? There’s a better way. We came across QuickBooks Self-Employed a few months back and realized it’s the perfect tool for busy agents. It’s an accounting tool built specifically for independent contractors, so it tracks your mileage for you so you don’t miss out on any deductions. Tracking your mileage and filing your taxes has never been easier… trust us.

When you have QuickBooks Self-Employed downloaded on your smartphone, it will track your trip every time you drive (yes, it knows when you’re in the car). Go into your app, scan your recent trips, and simply swipe left for business or right for personal. QuickBooks Self-Employed will categorize those expenses accordingly, making tax filing a piece of cake.

It also tracks and categorizes your expenses, making filing Schedule C deductions easy, you can also snap a photo and file away receipts, and see a snapshot of your business finances at any time.

Want to try out QuickBooks Self-Employed? Users are finding an average of $4,340 in tax savings per year. Since they’re a partner of ours, we’re offering you 50% off your first year. Click here for more details and to get set up!

You can also find out more about QuickBooks Self-Employed below:

Posted on December 28, 2017 at 3:41 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Partners, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Introducing: PadStyler, Virtual Home Staging Experts

PadStyler virtual home staging

By Tiana Baur 

Moxi Works has partnered with PadStyler to give agents another way to boost their selling potential by helping buyers visualize the home in a better light. As visual home staging experts, PadStyler truly is the quintessential addition to the home staging efforts agents are currently doing.

Sell the vision

PadStyler isn’t necessarily meant to be a home staging replacement – although it can be. It’s meant to help agents up the game of their listing with amazing virtual staging. Why is this so necessary? It’s often hard to envision what a home could look like with different furniture or even a remodel. PadStyler brings the buyers’ visions to life in more ways than one.

Virtual furniture replacement

PadStyler can transform poorly or outdated furnished properties into stunning homes, so buyers can get a more realistic idea of what it will be like when they call the house “home.” This is especially good when trying to give the home a modern feel to it, without having to update the actual house.

Renovation vision

Kitchens might need a little updating and it could be a reason a home isn’t sold straight away, regardless of how amazing the in-home staging is. Some buyers just have a harder time then others when it comes to seeing what a house can be vs. what it is today. With PadStyler, buyers can visualize a beautiful renovated kitchen right in front of them. This goes for other rooms, paint color, flooring replacement – you name it.

Curb Appeal

Bad roof, dry nasty grass, or poorly tended to plants? No worries, PadStyler ups curb appeal in a major way by showcasing the exterior property photos in the best light.

Integration

The best part about this new Moxi Cloud service, is that it is fully integrated in a way that makes it a piece of cake for agents using it. All initiated via their Photo Gallery and Listing Management, here is what it will look like:

 

padstyler and moxi works integration

If it wasn’t obvious already, we’re extremely excited about this addition to the Moxi Cloud! We love PadStyler because it works for agents that are not currently doing home staging of any kind, but also for those that are home staging hooked. It is the perfect addition to all home staging efforts.

Happy to have you, PadStyler!

Posted on December 14, 2017 at 6:03 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , ,

Introducing: HomeDiary, Now Plugged into the Moxi Cloud

homediary 3D space planner

By Tiana Baur

Moxi Works is happy to announce our newest member of the Moxi Cloud open platform! FloorPlanOnline’s HomeDiary, a homeowner management platform that includes a free 3D space planner! HomeDiary enables agents to help their clients better keep track of everything going on in their homes; items, activities, and spaces.

A digital record of their home

With HomeDiary, your clients can log projects, photos, improvements, and documents for easy reference. They can upload photos and manuals, tagging items for a permanent record. They can clip images or upload snapshots of products or ideas, keeping a digital scrapbook. Finally, HomeDiary allows your clients to room plan and visualize their space in 2D and 3D.

Visualize & plan spaces in 3D

Draw a room or a whole floor plan! Design, plan, and view spaces in 2D and 3D. Plan furniture layouts, explore remodeling ideas, play with paint color palettes, and plan patio and landscaping ideas.

Store inventory & maintenance records

Find critical home information when you need it. Log paint colors and finally throw away those old cans. Find old receipts and purchase information, save and record every improvement, and easily story maintenance activities.

homediary platform

Clip ideas & create reminders

Save images from the web and upload or snap photos of products and ideas. Save purchase ideas, store decorating ideas, organize wish list items, and create maintenance reminders. Sort, filter, easily find!

HomeDiary helps agents stay connected to their sphere throughout the whole homeownership lifecycle. Through the Moxi integration, HomeDiary not only provides marketing tools for the listing side of the transaction, such as hands-free, automated, single-property websites and the free use of the advanced 3D floor plan engine, but it also enables agents to stay relevant with their sphere as they live in their home with the included HomeDiary sponsorship (for an unlimited number of clients). The HomeDiary system is extremely affordable—priced at less than the daily cost of a cup of coffee. Find out more on homediary.com!

Posted on December 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Introducing: CallAction, Now Available in the Moxi Cloud

callaction logo

By Tiana Baur

We recently added another best-in-class tool to the Moxi Cloud! CallAction instantly responds, engages, and tracks all inbound leads for agents. With CallAction, agents never have to miss another call or email lead ever again.

CallAction is the only marketing automation service that can be used with your offline or online lead generation efforts to respond to inquiries from phone calls, emails and texts. Their powerful integrations bridge the gap between agents’ top of the funnel lead generation and their existing lead nurturing CRM systems for increased productivity.

 

Here is how it works:

Answer every call

Agents no longer need to worry about rushing to the phone or nervously watching a call come in during a meeting they can’t step out of. With CallAction, agents can ensure they keep ALL of their inbound leads engaged with automated responses through SMS and email.

Building agent databases

Every inbound call is saved to a secure cloud-hosted database and appended in real-time with caller information aggregated from the world’s largest consumer profile databases. It is also passed into Moxi Engage, so the leads go directly into their sales flow. From there, they can nurture the lead and show their new prospect why they are the best in the business.

 

callaction

Track every inbound call

Agents can instantly create a local or toll-free phone number for each of their marketing channels to automatically track every inbound call that is seamlessly routed to their phone.

“50% of buyers choose the vendor or service that responds first, according to the InsideSales.com 2014 Lead Response Report,” mentioned Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at MoxiWorks. “In a perfect world, every call is answered right away, the first time a lead calls an agent. But with CallAction, all missed calls are automatically responded to with CallAction’s SMS responses to guarantee the lead stays engaged. All the responses are fully customizable so the agent can keep their own voice and style.”

We’re super excited to have this company in the Moxi Cloud! When we say we only let the best-in-class tools and services into the Moxi Cloud, we mean it.

For more information on CallAction, visit callaction.co.

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , , ,

Partner Spotlight: iTourMedia’s New Social Boost

social boost by itourOne of our fabulous partners has some new exciting features you have to see! iTour’s Social Boost allows agents to get the maximum exposure to social audiences, helping take their online game to a whole new level. Here is how it works:

1. Automate the process of uploading listings to your office Facebook account.

2. Expand the exposure for your listings automatically, without agent involvement.

3. Reduce the time you spend dealing with Facebook posting and boosting.

4. Create beautiful video posts in seconds that auto-play and engage the audience.

5. Know that your listings are receiving maximum exposure and you are benefiting from upcoming BoostBucks for social marketing credits.

social boost

 

Plus, with Social Boost, you can…

  • Access via an office dashboard account (web/mobile)
  • Manual Social Boost button for each office listing
  • Connect your office Facebook page / Business Facebook Account
  • Push, Push + Boost, Boost available for all office listings to an office FB page
  • Push automation through the Social Boost scheduler
  • Uses the clients’ Business Facebook Ad account
  • 100% of all Ad $ goes toward the Facebook advertising – no hidden fees
  • Audience targeting customization through Ad Settings

 

iTour prides themselves on creating tools that truly make a difference, and Social Boost is no exception. One of the many reasons why they’re a best-in-class tool on the Moxi Cloud open platform!

Posted on October 27, 2017 at 4:41 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Moxi Cloud Proudly Welcomes: AskAvenue!

askavenue chat toolOur open platform, the Moxi Cloud, is very excited to welcome AskAvenue to the team! AskAvenue is a mobile chat tool that integrates with agent’s websites, leveraging the power of one-on-one communication. AskAvenue lets agents engage with online visitors and chat with them directly from their Apple or Android phone, in real-time.

 

Capture Attention

Agents can capture the attention of online visitors by proactively contacting them with real-time online chat invites and respond conveniently from their mobile phones.

Qualify Prospects

Chat with and qualify prospects in real-time. Agents now can talk to their prospects live about their unique buying and selling needs, providing a higher grade of customer service.

Connect, Converse, Convert

AskAvenue helps agents convert more of their website visitors to leads and receive exclusive chat requests from their very own listings. Leads then go directly into their Moxi Engage account, providing efficient integration. From there, leads go into the agent’s pipeline and agents are prompted to continue the lead conversion process.

 

“The AskAvenue chat tool gives agents the ability to follow up with visitors on their website right away. We live in a mobile world and potential homebuyers expect answers in real-time. AskAvenue allows agents to accomplish this,” 

askavenue chat tool

said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships ay Moxi Works.

 

Adding the AskAvenue chat tool to the Moxi Cloud was a no brainer. Now agents can provide better, more meaningful communication to their prospects! Find out more about AskAvenue and their chat tool here.

 

By the way – the Moxi Cloud has almost 40 tools and services on it now! Check out more here.

Posted on October 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , ,

Introducing: Moving Offers Powered by MooveGuru

moving offers by moovguru

By Tiana Baur 

The Moxi Cloud officially has a new service provider! Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru. MooveGuru connects consumers to the marketer they need, when they need it. What’s that mean though?

Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru have been developed with a proprietary program designed to deliver exclusive discounts to movers for goods in a timeframe that they are mostly like to make a purchase. Fun fact: This was sparked by a study done at the University of Colorado in 2008.

Once the transaction of a home sale is entered into Moxi Cloud, Moving Offers becomes available. When activated through the Moxi Cloud checklist, Moving Offers sends automated discounts based on exactly what they’ll need in that specific phase of their move. For example, Moving Offers will provide a coupon for a junk removal service when the homeowners are getting ready to pack and move. Or when they client is all moved into their next place, but everything is in boxes, they deliver a coupon for pizza. Genius, right?

Brian Friemel, President of MooveGuru said, “We are very excited to partner with a great company like Moxi Works. Moxi Cloud is the industry leader in real estate technology integration. Their commitment to brokerage automation and customer engagement makes Moxi Works a perfect match for MooveGuru.”

When the Moving Offers are sent to an agent’s clients, they are notified of it within their Moxi Engage CRM and are able to see the progress of their client’s move. When the client receives the discounts, they are branded from the agent and their brokerage, not MooveGuru. This allows agents to continue their relationships post-sale, offering value coming branded from the consumer’s trusted advisor.

Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at Moxi Works said, “Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru are genius. It allows agents to maintain their relationship with their clients far beyond the sale of the home, cementing their role as the trusted advisor. It’s one more way agents can prove their value and get more repeat and referral business.”

We love Moving Offers and we know all of the hungry, packed up families out there will as well. Find out more at mooveguru.com.

Welcome to the Moxi Cloud, MooveGuru!

Posted on October 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , ,

Intuit QuickBooks: Our Newest Moxi Cloud Open Platform Partner

Quickbooks Self Employed for Real Estate Agents We have a new company to add to our best-in-class tools and services list! This time, the goal in mind is to help agents retain more of their hard-earned cash. QuickBooks Self-Employed puts the power back into the independent contractor’s pockets!

QuickBooks Self-Employed helps freelancers and independent contractors stay prepped for tax time––from separating business and personal expenses, to identifying Schedule C deductions. York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works said, “Moxi Works is all about helping brokerages and their agents make their business more profitable. Intuits QuickBooks Self-Employed is proven to save agents thousands of dollars on taxes, so this partnership will put a lot of money back into agents’ pockets.”

According to Intuit, 77% of all real estate agents don’t feel extremely confident about managing their finances. Today, agents are burdened by a variety of pain points, such as:

  • Taxes: Quarterly and annual tax obligations
  • Time: It’s the only thing agent’s control, and they want to save as much of it as possible, while using it wisely
  • Thought Leaders: Agents are becoming more digitally savvy & are looking for brokers who are just as updated
  • Cash flow: Inconsistent income but consistent expenses
  • Visibility: Agents want an easy solution to know how much they really made after each sale
  • Growth: Agents straddle the line between consumer & small business

QuickBooks Self-Employed includes a variety of exciting and extremely useful features, including Money Insights, Mileage Tracker, Receipt Snap, and Auto Expense. Here’s what they look like:

Money Insights

Money insights organizes accounts to show the agent’s income and expenses. This connects all accounts to organize the agent’s business finances in one place. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks and categorizes transactions as they come in. Agents can instantly see a complete picture of their business finances so they can plan for what’s next.

Mileage Tracker

Mileage tracker automatically tracks mileage and allows users easy categorization — creating an increase in potential mileage deductions. Agents’ mileage will be automatically tracked and trips can be categorized as business or personal with a swipe. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks their mileage whenever they begin driving. Every mile they log increases their potential yearly mileage deductions.

Receipt Snap

Receipt snap allows users to snap a photo of a receipt from the Self-Employed mobile phone app and automatically create a transaction with the receipt attached. If a transaction already exists, receipt snap will automatically attach the receipt to the transaction. Receipt data is auto-extracted and an expense transaction is created for the user. No more sifting through piles of receipts!

Auto Expense

Auto-categorization learns how agents runs their business, recommends categories, and allows users to accept transactions with a swipe. Agents can download all of their expenses, and with a swipe can accept them into their books. QuickBooks Self-Employed learns from past actions and automatically recommends categories. Transactions are organized based on IRS categories to save users extra work.

As it stands, 50% of agents save their receipts or use a spreadsheet to track expenses, leading to manual errors and loss of deductions as well as savings. We all know an agent that saves receipts in an old shoe box. The most shocking statistic is that 16% don’t track their expenses at all.

QuickBooks Self-Employed aims to eliminate these pain points, allowing agents to run their finances properly, while saving them precious time and money. Want to try it out? Click here.

Posted on August 21, 2017 at 5:51 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, Moxi Partners, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , ,

New Service: Comprehensive Moving Concierge Now Available on Moxi Cloud

MoveEasyWe’re happy to announce another service that has been added to our open platform ecosystem! MoveEasy is a comprehensive moving concierge service offered to clients directly from your website while saving you valuable time on researching post transaction tasks for them. Basically, MoveEasy does all the legwork while the agent can focus on creating happy memories for their client.

York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works said, “We’re delighted to have MoveEasy on the Moxi Cloud. They provide a unique solution to a common problem in the industry. It’s not an agent productivity app, but rather, a great app for agents to extend to their sphere of influence – keeping the agent in-flow and valued.”  

How It Works

1. Help organize the move. Clients can organize their move with a personalized moving dashboard, assign tasks, and get weekly email reminders, with your branding included!

2. Assist in completing moving tasks. From updating utilities and changing their address, to finding storage options and shipping their car. They manage this all in the same place!

3. Connect them with your favorite vendors. Add all your preferred cleaners, painters, and other vendors that you know will get the job done. Clients can find them easily without having to call you. Everything is accessible from the unique dashboard.

4. Stay on top of your client’s mind throughout the entire move. With the entire service branded for you, it’s easy to stay top of mind, even after the transaction has closed.

MoveEasy

 

Moxi Engage CRM Integration

MoveEasy is integrated into the Moxi Engage CRM. When a transaction moves from active to pending, MoveEasy pulls all the necessary details from Moxi Engage into the MoveEasy dashboard. The client can access the dashboard and keep up to date with everything going on and organize schedules for tasks. Everything done on the dashboard is sent back to Moxi Engage, within the activity section.

While the client can access everything on the MoveEasy dashboard, the agent can access everything they need right in their CRM.

Venkatesh Ganapathy, CEO of MoveEasy said, “We are extremely excited to be part of the Moxi Cloud. With so many different tools available for the real estate agents to help their clients, they have to constantly keep learning different systems. Our integration allows agents to continue using Moxi Engage CRM as they normally would, while MoveEasy operates in the background, guiding their clients through the stressful moving process.”

Discover more from MoveEasy and how it can keep your agents consistently top of mind, while saving them precious time when they need it most, by clicking here.

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm
Tam Nguyen | Category: Integration, Moxi Partners, Open Platform | Tagged , , , , ,