Here are three things you should never say in an eBay Listing:
• Thank you for looking at my listing – This is obvious – people are busy – get to the point.
• Please accept my apology for any typos– People are more forgiving than you think. Also – they tend to scan listings pretty quickly and don’t necessarily spot typos —so don’t bring their attention to it. Having said that, take some time to re-read your listing carefully and remove any typos you see.
• Supply is limited, so order now – Whenever I see this, I automatically think the seller is lying. Instead, say something like, “Don’t miss out to another bidder, place your best bid now..”
2016 was a great year for all four of our businesses
Writing and training business – This was one of our best years in the past five years for our training book sales
Our Amazon Business – Amazon has continued to grow. As we have gotten older, we have scaled our business back to carry fewer SKUs (Down from 900 to less than 300), but our business is still profitable –partly because we have stressed Private Label
eBay Business – Our eBay business has struggled for the past 7 years, but is now coming back. It is nowhere as profitable as Amazon, but much better than it was a few years ago.
Affiliate Marketing – Again – this business is nowhere near as good as it was a few years ago, but it really bounced back this year- and is now almost 15% of our income.
We sincerely hope 2017 will be great for you Our desire is for all of you, to have a happy, successful and profitable 2017 !!!
As you go into the new year, keep it in mind that you only live once, life is short, rules are meant to be broken, and having fun and creating memories are what really matters.
My New Year’s wish for you is: For days that are hassle free, a mind that is burden free, and love that is condition free.
Before I get started let me point out that I am NOT a tax professional, or licensed to give tax advice. I am, however, an experienced business person, who has dealt with tax issues for over 20 years. Nevertheless, before taking any of my advice, you should consult a tax professional.
It doesn’t matter whether you sell on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, your own website –or all of them. If you sell online, then you are a business –and that means you owe Federal Income Taxes on your profits. I put that in boldface because many new sellers think you owe taxes on your sales, or on the amount of the 1099 forms you get from Amazon or PayPal. That is NOT the case –you only owe federal income tax on your profits, after you deduct the cost of goods sold and ALL your business related expenses.
There is an old saying among tax professionals – Taxes delayed are taxes saved. That is especially true for this year. With the election of Donald Trump, he has promised steep tax cuts starting in 2017. (Of course, he has to get those through Congress, which is not a sure thing).
Since tax rates may be lower in 2017 –any expenses you can prepay in 2016, will reduce your taxable income in 2016 –and increase it in 2017 –but hopefully the tax rates will be lower in 2017, so if that happens, you will save substantial amount taxes in both 2016 and 2017 taxable years.
(Note – This post is only about income taxes –not state sales taxes. That is a completely different subject).
Here is how you calculate your annual profits:
(Please Note – This is a simplified method to help you understand the concepts. The actual methods are slightly more complicated, which is why you want some professional help with your taxes)
Calculate your total sales for the year
– subtract any returns you get.
– Add in what you charged buyers for shipping.
This will give you your Gross sales
– Add up your shipping costs (both to customers and Amazon, if you use FBA)
– Add up the wholesale cost for everything you sold
– Subtract both of these numbers from your gross sales
This will give you your net sales
3. Now add up your business expenses. These include things like
office in the home expense
If you plan to purchase a computer, printer or Fax machine – do it now.
legal, accounting or tax help
car expense (If you are using your personal car for business, then you have to keep a log of business miles driven)
labor or any independent contractors you hired during the year
Educational expenses including any courses you bought (Such as my course The Complete Amazon Marketing System)
Note – these do not have to be courses you attend – self study books, DVDs etc. are allowed as long as they relate to your business.
Any subscriptions or dues related to your business (This includes any business magazines [online or hard copy] you subscribe to such as Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, Wall Street Journal, etc.
Any third party services you subscribe to such as Inventory Lab, TaxJar, Sellers Toolbox, Merchantwords, Refunds Manager and so on
Monthly ISP and email fees
Telephone service (including cell phone if you use it for business)
Advertising (for example money spent on Amazon, Facebook or Google PPC ads)
Office supplies, labels, shipping supplies and tools (tape guns, label printers, etc.) and any printing you do. Note – one of these items is shipping supplies. All the major carriers have announced that shipping rates will go up in January or February 2017, which will make your shipping supplies even more expensive –so it’s best to buy now.
Bank fees or service charges
Interest expense on any money borrowed for your business (including any credit cards used for business)
Fees for licenses or permits
Professional fees (webmaster, etc.)
Any State or local business taxes
Once you add up all these fees – subtract them from your net sales, and you will have your profit before taxes. (This is the amount you will owe taxes on –not the amount listed on your 1099.
Now that you understand how profit is calculated –lets look at some end of year tax planning.
Basically anything on the expense list that you can prepay in advance (By Jan 31st) is a good idea to do.
This would include, purchasing the yearly (instead of monthly), subscriptions to business magazines, third party services and pre-purchasing several months of office and/or shipping supplies. Also, see if you can prepay any website hosting fees (Many hosting companies offer 3-year deals that come at a good discount), ISP or domain fees.
If you plan to buy any training courses – buy them now before the end of the year.
If you haven’t incorporated (or set up an LLC), then late December is a great time to do it. This way you can start running all the business through your corporation from January 1st. And, if you incorporate in the last few days of 2016, your tax expert (I recommend a CPA), can show you how to take some other deductions retroactively. Also, all the fees to incorporate can be taken off your 2016 income –even if you don’t start running business through the corporation until 2017. [If you incorporate, and plan to buy a new vehicle soon, then wait until January 2017 to that. [I don’t have tine or space here to explain, but your tax professional can show you why].
If you owe money for tax prep, or legal and/or accounting fees incurred in 2016 – pay them now.
You may think you only want to do these things if you made a hefty profit in 2016, but you should also do this if you had a loss. Why? Remember – any business losses you have can offset any other income you had in 2016, including W2 income from a job.
One thing you need to be careful of, is the IRS rule, that you must make a taxable profit in at least 2 years out of 5, or the IRS will define your business as a “Hobby Business.” If that happens, the IRS will not allow you to carry losses over to your other income for any of the 5 years –but, you will still owe taxes for any year you made a profit.
So there you have it – my tips to reduce your federal income taxes in 2016. Please remember what I said about this being a simplified explanation and about consulting a tax professional.
This will be my last post for the year, so From my family to yours, for this holiday season,we wish you every blessing that the Lord can bestow on you. May your health and your family’s health continue in strength and endurance. And may the love that binds families together continue to grow and strengthen in your family.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of you.
Through the end of this year (12/31/16) I’m offering $20 off most of my products! (Products costing less than $20 are excluded from this offer.) Use this coupon codeSAV20SKIP to get the discount. After you enter the coupon be sure and click the button that says APPLY.
PLEASE NOTE – If you want to buy more than one book you will need to buy them separately because my shopping cart will only discount the last item sold.
That coupon doesn’t work on the shopping cart on my UK site. However I have lowered the price on all my UK products by £10.
Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web – stocking stuffers at Amazon, stocking stuffers at eBay, save $20 on my books, take great product photos and more
Finding the Perfect Product for Amazon FBA Sellers – So what is the perfect Amazon FBA product? The short answer is, “Anything I can make a decent profit with.” For more specifics, check out this article.
How to Prevent Your Chinese Supplier From Sharing Your Product’s IP – Protecting your IP in China is as simple as executing an NNN agreement. What is an NNN agreement you ask? It’s a Chinese legal agreement that applies to three basic rules . . .
Lawsuits Against Amazon, What Their Settlements Mean For Third Party Sellers – There is now legal precedent showing that despite Amazon’s reputation for being above the law, they can and will be held liable if they infringe on their third party seller’s intellectual property.
How to Negotiate Exclusive Selling Arrangements for eBay and Amazon – So how do you go about finding and negotiating such a deal? Let me give you a real example of one of these deals I am involved in now . . .
Pricing To Win The Buy Box on Amazon – I’ve written about this before, but it’s a topic that I get a lot of questions about.
New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers – We’ve got a new batch of resources for you including collectables, remote control toys, socks and more.
If you missed this issue, don’t worry!I keep a newsletter archive with two to three year’s worth of newsletters just for this situation. Click here to go to the newsletter archives.
Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web – One of the items is a $20 off coupon on many of my products! Through December 31st I’m offering $20 off most of my products! (Products costing less than $20 are excluded from this offer.) Use the coupon code SAV20SKIP. After you enter the coupon be sure and click the button that says APPLY .
When Does It Make Sense to Create a Private Label Product? – Private Label (PL) is all the rage now on eBay and Amazon, but it may not make sense to create a private label product.
Amazon Bans Seller Incentivized Reviews – Amazon Vine Continues- We’ve seen it coming through the last year of Amazon-initiated litigation against review clubs, membership sites, and even individual Amazon sellers who pay or provide free products in exchange for product reviews.
Don’t Let These ‘Silent Assassins’ Put Your Amazon Business Under – Amazon Sellers! Are you overlooking any of the “6 Business Killers” on your listings?
The New Old Age of Craigslist – There have been many companies who have tried to unseat this simple website, but few have come close to succeeding. There are some who are starting to
make strides into their domain.
Determining Your True Selling Costs on eBay and Amazon – What are your true selling costs? Knowing how to determine that is the difference between profits and losses.
New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers – We’ve got a new batch of resources for you including clothing, seasonal decor, surplus tools and more.
Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web – Check out the special discount to my readers on the 2016 Toy Guide.
eBay Fall Seller Update
Online Auctions Aren’t Over
Amazon Cuts Delivery Times in Threat to Alibaba, EBay, Wish.com
Making Sense of the numbers for your Online Business
2016 Critical Calendar Deadlines for Amazon Sellers
New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
Do you want to read one of the articles, but you’ve missed this issue? No worries! I keep a newsletter archive with two to three year’s worth of newsletters just for this situation. Click here to go to the newsletter archives.
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