I\u2019ve been self-employed for over three years now, and while it comes with its perks, it can be stressful having a fluctuating income, managing expenses, and making sure that I handle my business finances effectively. Tax time can be especially trying for self-employed entrepreneurs, especially new ones who may not be familiar with specific tax laws. However, the more educated you become about your taxes, the better you can run your business.\r\n\r\nBelow are four tax tips that every self-employed entrepreneur should know.\r\nKeep Those Accounts Separate\r\nMost entrepreneurs know in theory they should separate their personal checking accounts and their business checking accounts, but sometimes it can be tricky in practice. Even something as simple as forgetting your business credit card when buying office supplies and using your personal credit card instead can throw off your organization and your balances.\r\n\r\nJohn McCarthy, president of McCarthy Tax Preparation, says separate accounts are also crucial for helping your CPA during tax time. He said, \u201cMy biggest tip for entrepreneurs is to keep a separate checking and credit card account to make year-end tax preparation easier. If all your income and expenses are separated from your personal finances, both you and your CPA will have a much easier time in April when you are looking for those last few deductions.\u201d\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t forget that you often pay your accountant based on the time it takes him or her to complete your returns. So, the more disorganized and complicated your accounts are, the longer it will take them to sort through everything.\r\nDon\u2019t Forget About Quarterly Taxes\r\nGenerally, self-employed entrepreneurs have to file an annual return and pay estimated quarterly taxes, which means that you should be paying taxes all year round. If you don\u2019t, you could be facing a huge tax bill. In fact, it\u2019s the tip accountant Mark Tew recommends the most. He says, \u201cDon't put your accountant or CPA in that awkward position of telling you that you owe $20,000-plus in penalties. Pay your quarterly estimated taxes!\u201d\r\n\r\nTo make things easier, I consult with my accountant at the end of every quarter. We go over the amount I have to send in and make sure everything is on track. Although it definitely hurts to send in big chunks of money to the IRS four times a year, it does help keep things organized and prevents large surprise tax bills in April.\r\nKnow What\u2019s an Expense and What Isn\u2019t\r\nI sure love business expenses, and I regularly ask my accountant what I\u2019m allowed to deduct. Just recently I asked him if I could deduct clothing purchases if they were used towards a blog campaign (he said no!).\r\n\r\nI know I\u2019m not the only one who does this. In fact, my accountant Eric Nisall said it\u2019s very important for entrepreneurs to know that \u201ccertain items aren't \u2018business expenses,\u2019\u201d such as owner draws, self-employed health insurance premiums, and 50% of meals, yet people incorrectly calculate their net incomes with those figures taken out and end up grossly underpaying their estimates.\u201d\r\n\r\nIf you have a question about a business expense or how much you\u2019re allowed to claim, whether it\u2019s your home office or your favorite drink at Starbucks while you work, be sure to ask your accountant ahead of time so you don\u2019t get a surprise when it comes to your tax bill.\r\n\r\n\r\nTake Advantage of Retirement Accounts\r\nAlthough entrepreneurs grumble about self-employment taxes, there is one huge benefit they have above the traditional work force: some nice retirement account perks.\r\n\r\nAccording to accountant John McCarthy, \u201cOne of the biggest benefits for entrepreneurs is the availability of Solo 401k\u2019s and SEP IRAs to save for retirement. Some taxpayers can sock away as much as $53,000 into their retirement accounts and help to reduce their federal tax liability.\u201d He also advises entrepreneurs to consider setting up a savings account early in the year and setting aside a small amount of earnings from revenue as they earn it.\r\nOrganization and Preparation\r\nUltimately, when it comes to tax time for those who are self-employed, it really comes down to organization and preparation. If you spend all your business income without setting aside money for taxes, tax time will be very stressful for you. If you don\u2019t double check your business expenses, especially unusual ones, with your accountant, you could owe more than you originally thought. And, if you mix your personal and business accounts, it can be hard to know how much your business makes every year and what you spend to keep it running.\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t forget that monitoring your personal accounts is just as important as keeping tabs on your business. You can use Personal Capital\u2019s free tools to track you whole financial life in one secure place.\r\n\r\nThe best way to stay organized is to start early and be conservative with your quarterly estimates. If you save all year long and pay taxes every quarter, you will not only have a more intimate knowledge of your business finances, but you\u2019ll also be on track to save, invest, and grow your business year after year.\r\n\r\nFor more tips on taxes and how to approach your taxes from a holistic point of view, download our free Personal Capital Tax Guide for Holistic Financial Planning.\r\n\r\nThis blog is for informational purposes only; we are not in the business of providing tax or legal advice and we generally recommend seeking the advice and counsel of a tax professional before taking any action that may cause a material taxable event.