Taxes never seem to end, do they? And when you’re running a small business, it’s a year-round issue, complete with multiple forms, filings, and records.
It can be exhausting.
Fortunately, small businesses have a wealth of resources available to them when it comes to tackling their taxes. There are plenty of options available for handling your small business taxes yourself or hiring experts to help out.
You just need to know where to find them. And we’ve made that a little easier by listing some of the best resources available to you here.
Where to start
The very first thing you should do—and this is something you can do right away—is go through your files and make sure you have a complete set of financial records for the entire year.
This is more than just your account receivables and rent receipts. This includes every financial record: anything payroll or insurance-related, marketing expenses, inventory, mileage, utilities, maintenance, repairs—everything.
You should always know where these files are located in case you get audited. The other benefit is all about the bottom line. You stand a greater chance of finding deductions (which save you and your business serious money) with a clear, accessible paper trail.
Go through your files and make sure you have a complete set of financial records for the entire year.
We recommend electronic copies (provided your data storage is secure and compliant) for as many of your records as possible. Scan paper documents such as receipts and invoices. Store documents in the cloud. Not only does that make access easier, but it also means you’re not subject to file loss or damage due to local dangers such as fire, flood, or catastrophic computer failure.
While there is still value in saving paper copies of important documents (such as tax records), electronic copies are extremely convenient.
With more and more individuals e-filing their taxes, it makes sense to consider e-filing options available for small businesses.
That said, the number of online tax filing services available can be a little dizzying. Here are the top three online services to consider.
Probably the best-known online tax filing service, TurboTax is often the priciest option. But it’s also the one with the most useful features such as multiple checks for accuracy, maximum deductions guarantee, income and expense account importing, and more. TurboTax fits a lot of small business needs. And while the cost may be off-putting, you may find many of the extra services worth it.
Having been around for over 60 years, H&R Block has the most experience when it comes to serving people’s tax filing needs.
They’re perfectly suited for small businesses that have a lot of complex issues when it comes to keeping track of expenses and deductions. They also offer consultations, free audit representation, and easy integration of past tax returns—even those prepared by a competitor.
Depending on the nature and size of your small business, eFile.com could be your best option. They have straightforward pricing that is lower than most and a professionally informal and humorous approach meant to set clients at ease.
They offer tax estimation calculators, personally assigned expert support, and free audit assistance if needed. The only real drawback is that if your business is registered as a C corporation, you won’t be able to file Form 1120.
The IRS is invested in working with small businesses and has a number of tax resources for small business owners. Depending on the complexity of your business, you may not even need to hire a tax accountant as the IRS resources are very comprehensive.
Some of the best small business IRS tax resources include:
If you’re exploring the possibility of handling your own taxes this year, this is the page you’re going to want to start with.
As the title of the page implies, it’s the central location for everything the IRS has to offer when it comes to taxes—both personal and business. There’s also a host of other important tidbits about everything from how to run a business to foreign banking rules.
This is an amazing resource for any small business owner who has a hard time keeping up with what to file when.
In addition to outlining all of the important due dates, you can subscribe to RSS notifications and receive email reminders up to two weeks in advance.
You can also import the year’s tax calendar directly into your Outlook or iCal programs to receive automatic updates straight to your computer.
Everything you could possibly need to know about running your small business can be found here.
It would be easy to get lost for hours just browsing all of the different topics you can find on this site. Whether you’re just building your business or you’re trying to keep up with the latest changes, this site will have valuable information you can use right away.
Need a form? Need detailed instructions and tax tables? This is where to go.
Every conceivable form or reference for filing small business taxes can be found here or through this page. You’ll want to keep this page bookmarked so you have quick and ready access to any forms and filing instructions you may need.
Finding an accountant
Sure, it’s possible for small business owners to file business taxes on their own, but aren’t you busy enough?
Seriously, growing and managing your business is more than a full-time job. You may not want to spend the rest of your waking hours wrestling with business taxes.
So… don’t. Instead, hire an accountant to assist you.
You may be inclined to start with a Google search, but we think there’s a better way. We recommend asking around for referrals. If you have a business advisor or lawyer, you could start by asking them. Likewise, you could approach your local bank or small business association for some quality suggestions.
You don’t have to tackle business taxes on your own. Maybe it’s time to hire an accountant.
Some business accountants have gone through a rigid pre-screening and qualification process to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Check with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and consult their listings of CPAs, vetted accounting companies, and local accounting organizations.
When it comes to making your final choice for an accountant, be sure to ask these questions:
- Do you have experience in my area of business?
- Have you worked with businesses similar to mine?
- How did that go?
- How often will we communicate regarding my business account?
- What is the most reliable and quick way to get in touch with you if I have a question or problem?
- How much is all of this going to cost?
If your prospective accountant can answer these questions, you may have a winner on your hands. Just remember, a good accountant should be willing to work with you year-round. Make sure they’ll be there for you both during and after tax season.
Handling taxes for your small business can seem like a big headache. But it doesn’t have to be.
While potentially overwhelming, the right resources will make handling your business taxes much easier.