Sunday, January 23, 2011

Printing Reports From Paypal

**This is a re-post from We Sell on eBay

So far, we've discussed what you should be writing down every day. Now, I'm going to show you what to do with all that information at the end of the month.  This is where the right side of page 2 in our Dome book comes in.

We're going to total up everything from the Expenditures page and write it in the write spot on this page. But first, let's print some reports from Paypal to make it easier.

Here is what you'll need to print, and where to find them (bookmark Paypal's Transaction Finder - it's about to become your best friend):

Payments Received. In the Transaction Finder, leave the Search Keyword(s) field blank. Choose your date range (the first of the month through the last of the month). Choose "Payments Received" from the drop-down menu. Click on Search. This will take a few minutes to generate.
Once the report has been generated, you'll want to download it to your computer. On the right, next to the Printer icon, chose Excel from the dropdown menu, and then choose Download. (Obviously if you don't have Excel, you'll have to do a PDF. I prefer Excel, because I often have to modify these reports. More on that in a bit...) It will ask you if you want to Open or Save the document. I don't bother saving, because I usually make my modifications and print immediately. If you don't have time to do that, then go ahead and save.

Once you've got your Excel document open, you'll want to delete the blank columns and shrink the other columns so that it's only one page wide. Now, there's two more very important things to double check before you print. You'll want to go through this document and delete any personal transactions (Aunt Jane sent you $50 for your birthday - you don't have to pay taxes on that). You'll also want to double check for duplicate transactions. See this example?

Leonardo bought 5 items from me on November 1. The total of ALL 5 transactions was $20.81. But because it was 5 separate items paid in one transaction, for some ridiculous reason Paypal shows that as 5 transactions of $20.81. I need to delete 4 of those, because they are DUPLICATES. This is very important. Unless you want to pay 5 times the income tax that you need to. So go through your Payments Received document and delete personal transactions and duplicate transactions. Once you've done that, go ahead and print that spreadsheet. 

eBay Fees. This one's an easy one. I pay my eBay fees weekly, and every week, I save my Paypal receipt that comes to my email. I just print out those emails. But if you only pay once a month, you should be able to find this number in your eBay account (probably by printing the month's invoice?)

Paypal Fees. You can get this from the Transaction Finder. Leave the search field blank, choose the date range, and choose "Fees" from the drop-down menu. Go ahead and Search, then download as an Excel document just like you did for Payments Received. At first glance, this report is going to look exactly the same, but this report shows any fee reversals (from refunds). You'll need to double check this report for duplicates and personal transactions. Also make sure you delete any empty columns and shrink the other columns down to fit on one page across, then go ahead and print.

Shipping Paid. In your Transaction Finder, there are 2 different reports you'll need, depending on how you print your shipping labels. If you ONLY print through eBay, then enter "eBay" in the search field, choose your date range, and choose "All" in the drop down menu. If you ONLY print through Paypal, then leave the search field blank, choose your date range, and choose "Shipping" from the dropdown menu. If you do a mixture of both, as I do for various reasons, you'll need to do both of those reports. Once these reports have been generated, download the Excel version, just like you've done for the other reports so far. These shouldn't need double checked for duplicates, but they may need double checked for personal transactions - if you shipped something to a friend, or if you shipped books for Paperback Swap, for example.

Insurance Paid. This one will depend on who you insure your packages through. I use the Shipsaver application through eBay, so all of my insurance payments go to InkFrog. To find that report, I type "inkfrog" into the search bar, choose my date range, and choose "All" in the drop down menu. Same as above - download as Excel, make sure it fits on one page across, and print.

Refunds Given. Another easy one. In the Transaction Finder, leave the search field blank, choose your date range, and choose "Refunds Sent" from the dropdown menu. You know the drill. Create the report, download as an Excel, print.

Inventory Purchases. You won't find this in Paypal. This is just on the list to remind you to gather up all of your receipts from the month, which you SHOULD have already entered into your Dome book. You just want to have them so you can double check your entries and then add them to your monthly bundle of papers.

Supplies. When you order supplies (boxes or bubble wrap on eBay for example), save the order confirmation email that you get. I have a "Print for December" folder in my email (which I obviously change with each new month). All my eBay related expense emails go in that folder until the end of the month. If I print them as I go through the month, I'll lose them. So as you're printing your other reports, you'll want to go into that folder and print any of those emails. If you don't have them, hopefully you've written them in your Expenditures section in Dome, so you'll be able to easily find them in your Paypal history. Just print that page instead.

Road Trips. Gather up your food/toll receipts. I have an EZ-Pass, so I go into my EZ-Pass account and print a statement from the month, highlighting the relevant toll charges.

Commissions. If you sell for anyone else, you'll need a record of how you've paid them. I send my sister-in-law her payments through Paypal, so I just print the Paypal receipts from each time I pay her. Other people that I just sell for here and there, I have a receipt book. I save the carbon copy for myself and give them the original. Gather all of these receipts now.

Miscellaneous. If you had any expenses that I didn't already mention, print those receipts. This might be a 3rd party listing service subscription, or a book you bought about selling on eBay, or a book about a specific topic (glasswares, Pez dispensers, whatever other research topics...).

Ok, I have given you a TON of homework in this post. I know I promised that my way of doing paperwork will be quick and painless. Honestly, this step is the hard part. It takes me about an hour to get all my reports printed for the month. But it's better to spend an hour a month printing reports than to be scrambling around in March trying to find a YEAR's worth of reports. So now you've done the hard part. You've gathered all your reports and receipts. Staple each type of report together (all your Payments Received pages, all your Shipping Paid pages) into its own package and tuck them in the back of your Dome book. Tomorrow I'll teach you how to use these reports to reconcile your books for the month.

Other posts in this series:


  1. Jessica, my wife and I are new to this record keeping and tax stuff, and I had a question about the PayPal reports that I didn't see addressed here. We shipped for a time this year with UPS, which eBay made us go directly through PayPal to make those transactions. However, looking at the reports, I am not showing any of the UPS shipping costs we paid out. It's also difficult to make heads or tails of the information PayPal provides. There seem to be 3-5 transactions with each UPS label we printed, and the recipient is blank. If I do a keyword search of UPS, I get no results. Thoughts on how I should pull this out other than poring over the "All" category report?

  2. Hi David - have you tried using the actual Transaction Finder through Paypal? I haven't used UPS at all this year, so I can't really test it. Give it a try and see what comes up.

    The transaction finder is about halfway down the page on the right side.