If you own or work for a small business, you’re used to doing more with less—like calculating and paying taxes. But preparing and filing business taxes can be daunting, whether you’re experienced or just starting out. You want to maximize your deductions and credits, but there are a number of forms to think about and tight deadlines to meet. Miss a critical tax date and you’ll get hit with a late penalty. Claim too many business expenses and you may be subject to an IRS audit.
Needless to say, tax time can be stressful. And because the 2019 federal tax filing deadline was postponed from April 15, 2020, to July 15 (or October 15 for those who filed for an extension), many business owners are left feeling like they just resurfaced from last year’s tax season—only to dive right back in.
Fortunately, there are a number of useful tax resources available to you. These resources are intended to help small businesses file taxes on their own and avoid an IRS audit. Let’s take a look.
1. The IRS
If you’re unsure where to start, it’s a good idea to go straight to the source. The IRS has compiled easy-to-navigate tax information for businesses on its website. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), learn about estimated tax payments, and see if your business is eligible for tax credits.
Taxpayers who file Form 1040 and Schedules C, E, or F, and small businesses with assets under $10 million can find helpful resources at the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. Learn more about filing and paying taxes, set calendar reminders for important tax payments, and find out which deductions your business may qualify for.
2. The Small Business Administration
You may know the Small Business Administration (SBA) as the organization behind Paycheck Protection Program loans. But they offer so much more than small business funding. The SBA is a free and vital resource for entrepreneurs. Its online learning platform is designed to help business owners navigate the ins and outs of running a business—and that includes filing taxes. Visit the SBA’s tax page to determine your federal and state tax obligations and choose your tax year.
If you need more help, the SBA offers free and confidential business counseling through resource partners like SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and Women’s Business Centers. Find local assistance with free face-to-face or online mentoring through tax season and beyond, or check out a tax planning workshop in your area.
3. Accounting and tax software
Tax preparation is easier when you use accounting software for your business. Come tax time, you’ll need to compile income statements, expense reports, receipts, and more to file your business taxes correctly and maximize your deductions. Your accounting software organizes that information for you, and it likely has a tax component built in. An upfront investment in accounting software can save you time and money when you file taxes.
If you use QuickBooks, you can sync Amazon Business transactions automatically using the Amazon Business Purchases app. This tool helps to reduce manual data entry by allowing users to review and reconcile purchases from Amazon Business directly in QuickBooks. Preparing your books for tax time is easy when you can review everything in one place.
When it’s time to file, intuitive tax software like TurboTax can walk you through the tax filing process step-by-step, pointing out deduction opportunities and crucial write-offs. When you’re ready, a tax expert can review your return (for a small fee) to ensure you’re filing correctly and maximizing your refund.
4. Turn to a tax professional
Your accountant or financial advisor could be your most beneficial tax resource. If you’re new to business taxes or feeling uncertain, it’s always a good idea to invest in the help of a dedicated tax expert. Taking a do-it-yourself approach to taxes might be more inexpensive in the short term, but even a minor mistake could land you with hefty fees down the line.
An accounting or tax professional can help you prepare and file your taxes, make the most of your deductions, and take advantage of applicable tax credits. The money you save on tax payments will likely cover the cost of professional help. In the event of an audit, your accountant or tax preparer can guide you through it.
If you don’t work with an accountant or tax preparer already, find a tax professional near you through the National Association of Tax Professionals. Check if your preferred accounting software offers financial help, or get tax help through the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program.
Tax season can be, well, taxing. But with the right resources in your arsenal, you can file with confidence.
Myranda Mondry is a senior content creator for the QuickBooks Resource Center. She graduated with a degree in English and Journalism from Boise State University. Her work has been published in Forbes, The Huffington Post, and other top-tier publications. Myranda currently resides in Boise, Idaho, where she runs an Etsy shop selling handmade heirloom quilts. She’s passionate about her dogs, '80s rock music, and helping small businesses succeed.
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