This is the first year that I did taxes on the earnings for my writing. It was hard not to, with the 1099-MISC staring me in the face from Writers of the Future. But aside from legal obligations, 2010 was the first year where I earned enough more to cover more than a couple of dinners or maybe a convention membership.
I don't expect 2011 will be better (it's hard to top the WotF grand prize), but I'm hoping for some decent pocket change.
What I did learn though, from doing my taxes, is being organized!
At the WotF workshop Tim Powers told us to start counting everything related to our work as expenses. Meals while traveling. Books for research. SFWA membership. I kept all my receipts. But keeping all my receipts didn't mean that I had them all in the same place.
Sadly enough, I had receipts inside of books (if I bought a book from a physical bookstore, I tended to use the receipt as a bookmark), receipts tucked off to the side on my computer desk, receipts still inside my wallet...
I found them all. I can't think of a one that's missing. But not only did I have to find them all, I had to organize them into different categories because they can't all be lumped together. (For instance, food expenses count differently.)
This year I plan to do better. I have my receipt drawer already prepared. Receipts aren't wandering away without a fight!