3 Reports You Can’t Live Without at Tax Time

September 12, 2017


Tax time is the dreaded time of year for small business owners. Luckily there are reports that can help.

You can use these as a jumping off point to get familiarized with your taxes—and tackle them a little earlier this year.

You may be asking yourself why your expenses were so high in a certain month, or why you have expenses categorized a certain way.

Profit & Loss Report (P&L)

The king of all reports, your Profit & Loss lists all the money you’ve brought in this year as well as all of your expenses—giving you a net profit or net loss. This is an essential report come tax time, as it contains the information you’ll need to report on for your tax returns.

In Your FreshBooks Account, Follow These Steps

  • Go to the Dashboard and scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Select Profit and Loss from the list – this will generate a report based on the data in your account
  • Adjust the filters at the top so your report matches the date range you need; you can also organize income by Billed or Collected
  • Hit the Apply button

And there you have it! A snapshot of your business over the last year.



Expense Report

While the Profit & Loss report is perfect for an overview, sometimes you need to really dig into the numbers. You may be asking yourself why your expenses were so high in a certain month, or why you have expenses categorized a certain way. That’s where the Expense Report will come in handy.

In Your FreshBooks Account, Follow These Steps:

  • Go to the Dashboard and scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Select Expense Report from the list – this will generate a report based on the data in your account
  • Adjust the filters at the top so your report matches the date range you need; you can also group expenses by Category, Vendor, Author or Client, and exclude Personal Expenses
  • Hit the Apply button

The Expense Report gives you a master list of all the expenses you have listed in your account between the dates selected. It’s a great report for making sure you’ve categorized everything correctly and that you’re not missing any potential tax deductions.

Hate Paperwork? You'll Love FreshBooks

Payments Collected

Now that you’ve looked at your expenses, you can focus next on money that’s flowing into your business—your income. The Payments Collected report gives you a breakdown of all the payments you’ve received, when they occurred, which client they came from and the method of payment.

In Your FreshBooks Account, Follow These Steps:

  • Go to the Dashboard and scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Select Payments Collected from the list – this will generate a report based on the data in your account
  • Adjust the filters at the top so your report matches the date range you need; you can also narrow down to Client and Method of Payment
  • Hit the Apply button

You can use the Payments Collected report to dig into your billing income for the year and make sure all the information is correct. Do your dates match up to bank statements, and have you recorded all of your payments?



A Few Other Reports to Consider at Tax Time

There are a few other reports worth looking at in relation to filing your tax return. The Tax Summary report is helpful for looking at sales tax you’ve collected over the course of the year. Additionally, the Invoice Details report is handy if you want a detailed summary of all the invoices you sent over a period of time.

This is an optimized post and was originally published on the FreshBooks blog on February 3rd, 2015.


about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.