The tax deadline is right around the corner, and there are several things small business owners can do to not only meet the tax deadline, but avoid a visit from said taxman. I recently came across a great article in the Open Forum at American Express titled The Ultimate Small-Business Tax Season Survival Guide. In it, the author Kelly Spors lays out seven ‘smart strategies’ for organizing yourself and preparing for the tax filing season. I think they’re worth recapping. For detail on each, be sure to head on over to the article.
- Get organized. As the article mentions, get all your paperwork in order including bank statements, expense receipts, all employee records and other quarterly tax filings. Keeping all of this information organized is tedious but can be a lifesaver should the taxman cometh. There’s a new version of QuickBooks that is now out that has a smartphone app capable of capturing receipt images and automatically filing them. These time savers can really help a small business owner!
- Send income statements to employees and independent contractors. W-2s and 1099s need to be filed by January 31st, which has passed. A good bookkeeper can be a blessing here and doesn’t need to cost much. For about $100 – $150 per month, a bookkeeper can take care of these filings for you.
- Find the right accountant or tax preparer. A good CPA is worth their weight in gold, so to speak. Doing taxes yourself is not only time consuming, but much more likely to end up with costly mistakes. This is a place you do not want to bargain hunt!
- Be sure you haven’t missed deductions you qualify for. There are a lot of opportunities for a small business owner to take deductions. In fact, there’s a new simplified option for a home office deduction that may warrant your consideration if you work virtually.
- Take advantage of last-minute 2015 deduction opportunities. There are still ways to take advantage of potential 2015 savings, including a SEP-IRA, an individual 401k and funding a health savings account. Don’t leave money on the table!
- Consider filing a tax extension. You need to make sure you get your taxes done right, so either do it early or file an extension.
- Start planning for 2016 taxes and beyond. While all eyes are usually on 2015 taxes, you always need to keep an eye on future tax needs. This is where a good CPA can help you think ahead while taking care of your current tax needs.
Also, don’t forget that when you factor your invoices, all fees and charges can be written off as a business expense!