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Welcome to the MLM Tax Helper Website


How to Start Using the MLM Tax Helper PRO Like a Seasoned Pro in 30 minutes or LESS...

I highly recommend that you spend 7 minutes and read through this page completely. It will save you a LOT more time in the future and help eliminate some costly mistakes.  Feel free to print this page for your review.


This is the Getting Started page for the MLM Tax Helper PRO version. For the Basic version page, please click here.

First, if you have not already done so, download the MLM Tax Helper PRO version by [Clicking Here].  You will need the download password provided to you in your order information.  

Second, after you have installed the program to your computer, you will find it located in a folder called "MLMTaxHelperPro" in C:\ Program Files folder as well as a "shortcut" to the program in your Start menu -> Programs folder.  If you accepted the default installation instructions, you should also have an shortcut on your desktop that looks like this: . I recommend opening the program by either double clicking on the MLM Tax Helper Pro desktop icon or going to Start menu -> Programs -> MLM Tax Helper PRO . 

Are you upgrading from the Basic version of the MLM Tax Helper?  If you previously used the Basic version, click here to jump to instructions on importing your old data.

Now, using the "File" pull down menu in the upper left corner, choose the "Save As" option and save your file, using a name that will be meaningful for you. The default full name for this data file is 'data.xml', and the default location is:

  • For pre 2.4.6 versions: the program folder for your MLM Tax Helper program
  • For version 2.4.6 and newer:
    • Windows: a folder called "Tax Helper" under the username folder in Documents and Settings
    • Mac: the root drive (we hope to have a better path on future upgrades); you should browse to your Documents folder and create a new folder for saving your .xml data files (Tax Helper folder, etc.)

However, I strongly suggest that, rather than use the default 'data.xml' data file name, you give each year's data file a unique name that means something to you, and that the name also include the year in it, such as 'taxinfo2007.xml' or 'MyBusiness2007.xml.' It is much easier to manage your data files if you organize them this way.

You can also choose to save your .xml files in another folder - just remember where you put them if you do! A new feature with version 2.4.6 and later is that the current file you are working on is displayed in the application's title bar, along with the file path. This is especially helpful to make sure you are working on the correct year and business (if you have multiple businesses saved into separate files). And always be sure to use the "Save As" method above whenever creating a new copy (new year, new business, etc.) - you do not want to accidently save over another year or business's data file.

Okay, I value your time, so I'm going to keep this as short and to the point as possible so you can focus on building your business.  If after reviewing this page you still have questions, please visit the FAQ page

If you are brand new or not very familiar with how software or spreadsheets work then I recommend purchasing one of the "Computers for Dummies" books that covers basic computer skills and spreadsheets.  If you are a new computer user and need to learn the basics, I highly recommend Web Site Tricks, "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide"  by Marlon Sanders. He explains all the essentials that you will need to know if you want to learn how to use your computer fast.  He makes confusing and intimidating things easy to understand.  However, to use the Tax Helper, you will not need to know how to do anything complicated other then just add and enter numbers. 

I also recommend checking out the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website. You will find all of the commonly asked questions and their answers and if you can not find your question, you can submit it to us and we will email an answer back to you.

Next, from within the MLM Tax Helper program click on the "Get Started" tab along the top.  You will see that you need to enter four different items in the first section, your income sources in the next section and expense categories for your business in the last section. All items that you need to enter or change are in dark blue boxes. Any items in light blue boxes or the descriptions off to the side of the boxes can not be changed.

If you try and change or enter something in a box that is not set up for you to enter information, you will not be able to, as the field is protected. This just means you do not have to enter anything in that field of the program.

The 4 Items in the Top Section:

The first of the four items in the top section of the "Get Started" page is simple. It is the name of the MLM company you are with, or your business's name. Whichever one you use for tax purposes.

The next item is the particular tax year you are entering data for.  Be sure that you save a separate file for each year so that you do not lose the previous year's data: use a unique name for each year as outlined above.  Later on, we'll talk about how you can compare data from one year to data from another year to review your business results.

The next two items you need to enter are for your Home Office deduction. First, enter the total square footage of your home. Next enter the total square footage of your home office. This will then calculate your home office deduction for all 12 months.  For your reference, square footage can be calculated by measuring the length and width of a room in feet (you'll need a measuring tape for this one!).  Then multiply the length and width together.  For example, a room that is 20 feet wide and 10 feet long has a total square footage of 200 square feet (20 x 10 = 200 SF).

The last of the first four items to enter is the mileage reimbursement rate for the current year. This will be used to calculate any business mileage expenses for using your vehicle. You should enter this mileage rate BEFORE you enter any mileage transactions on the Transactions tab; if you change the mileage rate after you have entered mileage transactions, you will have to go back and edit any transactions entered previously so they recompute using the new rate you entered (see the discussion on editing below). (Also note: This only applies if you use the simple mileage deduction. If you use the actual expenses of your car's upkeep and depreciate the cost of your car then this is not required.  Simply enter $0.00 for the mileage deduction rate.  I recommend consulting with your accountant or checking out the tax tips section for more detailed information on this.)  Please refer to your order information for the Mileage Log bonus download information. Note, the IRS standard business mileage rate for 2007 was 48.5 cents per mile; the 2008 rate is 50.5 cents per mile.

Backing up your data

I can't emphasize enough the importance of backing up your personal data on a regular basis. With all the virus problems these days, I hear too many unfortunate stories about computers crashing and people loosing their MLM Tax Helper program AND data files. While I can easily send links to redownload and install the MLM Tax Helper software again if this happens, there is nothing I can do about lost personal data files. So, as with all important data files, please be sure to periodically back up your MLM Tax Helper data files.

As mentioned above, your personal data files are stored in a .xml file. These .xml data files can be managed (opened, saved, copied, etc.) like any other files (i.e., Excel spreadsheets and Word documents), and there are a variety of methods and options available for backing up: everything from using formal backup software at one end of the spectrum, to just getting in the habit of copying your files to a an extemal drive, flash drive or CDR at the other end. If you are still a bit of a novice when it comes to using a computer (and there is nothing wrong with that - we were all there at some point!), I encourage you read one of the many excellent books that are out that will walk you through the basics of using a computer, including file, directory and folder management.

Income List:

All of the items listed in the Income list and also below in the Expenses list may be deleted and replaced with whatever expenses you need for your specific business situation.  You can modify the list to exactly fit your needs.  The items listed are there as suggestions.  

To edit a category, simply click on the existing text and type in over it what you want it to be.  PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE A CATEGORY NAME (OR DELETE A CATEGORY) IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ENTERED TRANSACTION DATA FOR THAT CATEGORY; you may receive a Java error message the next time you try to run the software if you do so (if that happens, please let us know by submitting a support ticket and we will work with you to get the .xml data file corrected). The changes will now automatically show up throughout all the other sections of the software.


To add a new Income category, click on the #add# field and type in over it the title of the income category that you want to add.  For income, list the different sources of income you have for your business. Maybe you receive a regular commission check each month. In addition you receive weekly Fast Start Bonus checks and then you also receive a Leadership Over-ride bonus each month. You could list each one of these separately.

On the monthly tabs, you will notice that there is already a separate section for Retail sales so you do not need to enter Retail Income in the Get Started section (you can read more about how to handle retailed products further down on this page).

 

Expenses  List:

Just like the Income list, the Expenses listed are suggestions. You can delete and add whatever expense items you have for your business (BUT AGAIN, PLEASE DO NOT DELETE OR EDIT A CATEGORY THAT HAS ALREADY HAD TRANSACTIONS ENTERED FOR IT). The only ones you can not change are the Home Office deduction and the Mileage deduction. That is because these use specific formulas to calculate these items for you.

 

OK, now lets browse through some of the features of the program and how they benefit you.

On the top of the screen are a list of different tabs. There is an "Info" tab that gives you links to information contained at this site. There is the "Get Started" tab which you just went to (if you followed the instructions above!).  There is a "Transactions " tab and a "Search" tab.  We'll talk about those in much more detail below.  There is a "Year End" tab that combines all 12 months (and all 4 quarters) into one handy sheet. There is 1 tab for each of the 4 quarters and for each month of the year. If you are producing a net income in your business then you will need to submit Quarterly tax returns and pay estimated income taxes each Quarter of the year - consult your accountant or the tax tips section of this site regarding this.

Before we go any further, lets go over some simple terminology. Each "tab" is a worksheet that is setup much like a spreadsheet application would be. That means you have a worksheet for each of the 12 months, 4 quarters and the Year End. All of these worksheets are contained in one database (this entire program).

In each worksheet you have rows and columns. A ROW goes from left to right on the computer screen. COLUMNS go from the top to the bottom of the screen. Where a row and a column meet is called a CELL. These are the boxes (or grids) that make up the worksheet and where your information is displayed.  You'll notice that each cell is read-only on all of the monthly, quarterly and year end tabs.  You can not enter data directly into the cells, they simply display information.  You enter your data on the "Transactions" tab.

 

Entering Transactions

To enter new information, for both Income and Expenses, you will go to the "Transactions" tab.  Here are the steps to enter a new transaction:

1) Enter the Date.  
You should enter the date in a 'MM/DD' format ('MM/DD/YY' for pre 2.4.6 versions), with two characters each for the month and the date -- you already entered the year on the "Get Started" tab.  For example, if you have transaction dated December 15th, 2007, you will enter it as 12/15 (you should have enter 2007 on the "Get Started" tab).  You can only enter transactions for the tax year that you setup in the Get Started section.  

2) Enter the Payment Type.  
Use the drop down box to select the most appropriate payment type, as listed to the right.  If none of the items are applicable, select Other.  

3) Select the Category for the transaction.
Use the drop down box to select the most appropriate income or expense category.  This will give you a list, sorted by Income and Expense and alphabetically, of all the categories that you have listed on your Get Started section.  For example, if you are entering your monthly bonus check, select the '[Income] Monthly Commissions' category.  If you are entering your long distance phone bill, you would select '[Expenses] Long Distance'.  Note:  We'll cover Retail Sales and Mileage Expenses in more detail below.

If you do not see the income or expense category that you need, simply go the Get Started page and enter it.  The new category will then show up throughout the program.

4)  Enter the Description for the transaction.
Enter whatever description is appropriate.  For example, if I was entering my January commission check from XYZ MLM company, I would enter the Description as 'XYZ January bonus'.  If I was entering my travel expenses to the annual convention, I would enter the Description as 'Annual XYZ MLM company convention'.  The Description field is for you to use as you see best fit.  Keep in mind that the more specific you are, the better the chances are you'll remember the transaction at a later date.

5) Enter the Amount for the transaction.
Simply enter the dollar amount.  You do not need to use the $ sign, simply enter in the numbers.  For example, $129.72 can be entered as 129.72

6)  When you have made sure the transaction information looks the way you want it to, simply click on the 'Save' button.  Bingo!  Your transaction is now saved and will automatically be included in the total under the appropriate month in the Month, Quarter and Year End tabs.  


Retail sales:  Entering retail sales is slightly different than normal income and expense transactions, but just as easy.  You'll notice that the fields will automatically change slightly as you enter the retail sale.

1)  Enter the Date the sale was completed.
2)  Select the appropriate Payment type that your customer paid you with.
3)  For the Category, select [Income] Retail Sales.
4)  For the Description, enter the Customer's name.
5)  For the Amount, there are three fields to enter.  Sale is the amount of the sale to the customer.  Taxes is for any tax you collected from the customer.  COGS stands for 'Cost of Goods Sold' - that is the wholesale cost that you paid for the product.  
6)  Click on Save.  You'll notice that once you enter that data, the software may appear to only record the transaction Sale amount. For tax reporting purposes, the transaction ledger only displays the sale amount.  However, to view the Taxes and COGS data, simply click on the appropriate Month tab for the retail sale you entered.  You'll see the customer name, sale amount, tax, and COGS all displayed there. 


Mileage:  

Entering mileage is also slightly different than normal income and expense transactions, but just as easy.  You'll notice that the fields will automatically change slightly as you enter the mileage data.

There are two ways you can enter mileage, depending on how detailed you want to be.  If you want to be very specific, you can enter each individual mileage transaction.  The software will automatically total up the amount of miles and appropriate expense on the monthly, quarterly and year end tabs.  The quick and easy way is to simply enter your total miles at the end of the month.  You are free to choose whichever method you prefer.  Either way, here are the steps to enter your mileage (and, as mentioned above, please make sure the current mileage rate is already entered on the Get Started tab BEFORE entering the mileage transactions -- it will save you having to edit these transactions later if you end up changing the rate after they've been entered):

1)  Enter the Date the mileage was driven.
2)  For Payment type, you can either leave it blank or select 'Other'.
3)  For the Category, select [Expense] Mileage.
4)  For the Description, enter a description of the business use of the mileage.  You can get this information from your mileage log.  For example, if you drove to the bank, enter that as the description.
5)  For the Amount, there are two fields to enter.  First enter the Total miles that you drove.  And then enter the number of those miles that were Business related.   (If you are using the "once a month" method, simply enter the total miles you drove for the month, and the number of those miles that were Business related).
6)  Click on Save.  You'll notice that once you enter that data, the software will automatically calculate the dollar amount of the mileage expense based on the Mileage Rate you entered on the Get Started page.

NOTE:  If you are using Actual Expenses instead of the Standard Mileage deduction then you will need to compute that manually. This program will provide you with the percentage of miles driven for business use (be sure to enter 0 for mileage reimbursement rate in the top section of the Getting Started page of the spreadsheet). However you will have to create a separate Expense item called Driving Expense, total your actual expenses, depreciate the value of your car and then enter the correct percentage of this amount - as you can see this is a more advanced technique.)


Editing Transactions

To edit existing information, for both Income and Expenses, you will go to the "Transactions" tab.   You'll notice that all of the transactions are sorted by Date, with the earliest transactions appearing at the top, and the most recent records appearing at the bottom of the list.  

To edit a transaction that was previously entered, and if you know the date it was entered:

1)  Scroll through the list to find the record that you want to change.
2)  Click on that record to highlight it. 
3)  Click the Edit button toward the bottom right of the screen.
4)  The information for that transaction will now be displayed in the top transaction area of the screen.
5)  Make the desired changes to the transaction information.
6)  When you are done updating the record, click the Save button that is below the Amount field.  Your record is now updated!  

To delete a transaction:

1)  Scroll through the list to find the record that you want to change.
2)  Click on that record to highlight it. 
3)  Click the Delete button toward the bottom right of the screen.  A confirmation window will pop up.  If you do want to delete the transaction, confirm be clicking on OK.


Copying Transactions

A brand new feature with version 2.4.6 and later is the ability to copy transactions for faster and easier input. This works great for transactions that are similar to a previous transaction. Rather than entering all the data over again, just find the earlier transaction you want to copy, highlight it by clicking on it, and then click on the "Copy" button -- all the data will be immediately copied into data fields! Now, just change any fields as necessary (usually the date and maybe the amount), hit the Save button, and you're all set!


Searching Transactions

To find information, for both Income and Expenses, you will go to the "Search" tab.  You'll notice that all of the fields initially appear blank on the Search section.  There are several combinations of ways that you can choose to search through the records.

1)  If you want to look at ALL of the records, simply do not enter anything into any of the search criteria fields.  Then click on Search.  All of the transactions in your file will be displayed. 
2)  If you want to search for records by Date, enter your date criteria in the start and end date fields and then click on Search.  Leave these fields blank if you want to search by all dates. 
3)  To search by a certain payment type, use the drop-down box to select the payment type.  Leave this blank to search by all payment types.  
4)  To search by Category, use the drop-down box to select the particular  type.  Leave this blank to search all categories.  


You can also search for records by any combination of Date, Payment Type and Category.  For example, if you wanted to see all of your long distance bill transactions from January to June of 2001, your screen would look like this:


The Search function is a powerful tool that you can use to quickly and easily find previously entered information.  Also, be sure to notice that number of transactions found, and the total dollar amount, are displayed in blue in middle right-hand side of the screen. 

You can also delete a transaction from the search tab. Simply click on the transaction to highlight it.  And then click on the Delete button in the bottom right.

 

Search becomes very powerful when combined with Printing and Exporting.  For example, if you wanted to print a complete list of ALL your transactions, you would do a search with all of the criteria fields blank .  When the list is displayed, click on the Print button in the lower left.  Your complete transaction list will then be printed.  (NEW FEATURE: with version 2.4.6 and later, you can print all your transactions right from the "Transactions" tab -- just go to the "Transactions" tab and use File->Print -- all your transactions should be printed out in one report!). In any case, you can print any of your searches for your records or analysis.

Instead of printing, you can also Export the data.  This is a more advanced topic that we will cover in more detail at a later time.  Basically, when you select this option, it allows you to save your current search to what is called a 'comma delimited' or CSV file.  This is a format that can be opened using most applications and business analysis tools.  If you understand what I just said, the Export function probably does not need to be explained to you at all.  If you didn't understand a word of what I said, don't worry, you can come back here once you have some more experience with the program.


Comparing current data to a previous year.  

This a more advanced tool that allows you to compare the current year's data to a previous year.  Of course, this won't be very useful your first tax season using the Tax Helper.  However, once you have one year's worth of data entered and are starting on your second, you can start comparing your income and expenses to the previous year.  To start this tool, simply go to File -> Compare to Other Year.  A pop-up window will appear.  Use the Browse button to find the data file for the previous year that you want to run a comparison against.  This will show you how your income and expenses vary from year to year.  

 


What this program offers you?
And how to keep your tax records organized - the simple and easy way!

First, this program makes it very simple to keep your tax records up to date. One of the most simple (and very effective) ways to handle your taxes is to purchase a set of 12 folders, one folder for each of the 12 months to keep all of your receipts after you recorded them. You can also have another folder to hold the receipts that you have not yet recorded in your records. Then, once a month or a couple times a month you can take all of the receipts out of this "temporary" folder, record them in your MLM Tax Helper and file them away in the appropriate month.

Also, don't forget the items you do not have receipts for. Although it is very important to have a receipt, if you paid for a business expense and forgot it, or maybe you paid with it with your credit card or check. You will need to document that expense. I recommend in these situations writing on a sheet a paper what the item you paid for was, how it relates to your business, the amount paid and the date. This way you have a record of the expense.  And don't forget to record all of the items you paid with check or credit cards that you do not have a receipt for.  A word of warning though, to deduct expenses that you do not have a receipt you have to follow several precise steps which are covered in complete detail in the "Home Business Tax Survival Guide"

Just think, you no longer need to have nightmares every February as you try and figure up your taxes for your business at the last minute! That is because now you have the MLM Tax Helper to easily record all of your income and expenses and then you file them away in your folders in case you need the receipts. By taking a few minutes every couple of weeks throughout the year you can save hours (even days) of time and many headaches when tax time rolls around.

The other major benefit is that you can now see how well (or not so well) your business is doing.

  • What are your biggest expenses?
  • How much money are you REALLY making?
  • Where can you cut expenses?
  • Compare this year's figures to last year's figures.
  • and many more...

You can now quickly look and see how much money you made for each month, each quarter and year to date. This can (and probably will be) a major eye opening experience for you.  I know it was a real kick in the pants for me when I first looked at my data.  With a crystal clear picture of how your business is doing, you can make better business decisions and take new actions that will allow you to reach your goals.  

 

What to do next...

It is very simple to get started after you entered those 4 items, completed the Income List and Expense List on the "Getting Started" page. Now all you need to do is enter your income and expenses for each month. As you will see, these numbers are then automatically carried forward, to the Monthly, Quarterly and Year End statements. You do not need to enter anything into the Monthly, Quarterly or Year End statements, ONLY the Transaction area.

As you will notice, all of your Monthly, Quarterly and Year End statements are completed for you and all you need to do is print them out and take them to your accountant at the end of the year.  To print off a page, simply click on the tab for the page you'd like to print, and then select the File menu -> Print.  In the Print dialog box, select the printer name and the number of copies you want, and click on OK.  It's as easy as that!

If you have any other questions or feedback then please submit them to Support at this page and we will email you back. [CLICK HERE]

 



How to Upgrade your Basic version data

If you are upgrading from the MLM Tax Helper Basic version you can upgrade your old data into the PRO version with a few simple steps.

1)  Make sure you have downloaded and installed the PRO version. You can download the MLM Tax Helper PRO version by [Clicking Here].  You will need the download password provided to you in your order information.  Your Pro version software will be in a different directory than your Basic software was (C:\Program Files\MLMTaxHelperPro)

2)  Start the MLM Tax Helper PRO application.

3)  Click on File -> Open, scroll out and find your file that you used in the Basic version.  It should be under C:\ProgramFiles\MLMTaxHelper\yourfilename.xml  unless you saved it somewhere else.  If you did not change the filename, it should be saved as 'data.xml'

4)  An Upgrade window will appear like the one below.  Click on Yes.



5)  A Confirmation window should appear saying 'Your data has been successfully upgraded'.  If you have any problems with the upgrade process, please contact Support.

6)  Now save the new file under your MLM Tax Helper Pro directory.  Simply click on File->Save As, scroll out and go to your C:\Program Files\MLMTaxHelperPro directory. Then type in your desired filename, and click on Save.

7)  You're now all set to start using the MLM Tax Helper PRO.  Every time you start the application it will open with the last file that you used.  To start a new file at any time, click on File -> New.  If you need to open a different file for any reason, click on File -> Open.

8)  You will see that your converted data is listed under the Transactions tab with a Description of "IMPORT: Data imported from previous version".  If you'd like to change any of your old data, select the individual transaction with your mouse, and click on the Edit button.  The transaction info now appears in the entry fields. Change it to what you want it to be, and then click on the Save button below the transaction entry area.  This is how you can update all of the Descriptions if you wish.   

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