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2014 Tax Checklist for Small Business Owners

April 10, 2014

Tax deadlines are quickly approaching. If you find yourself scrambling to get your records together to file your tax return at the last minute, you may be wishing that you had been better prepared. It is true that keeping your tax documents well-organized can make filing your tax returns simpler and less stressful, and it can also help to reduce your tax liability. Use these tips to help keep your small business more organized and prepared for tax season.

Records Keeping

At the end of each year, you should store away that year’s files and start new files for the New Year’s transactions. Prepare your records as if you knew that you were going to be audited. You should keep any records and receipts related to anything that will be listed on your tax return. In addition to your bank records, vendor files, and customer files, you should also retain your appointment book. The appointments and meetings illustrated in your appointment book will verify your participation in business events as well as your vehicle use. It is a good idea to record your odometer reading for the beginning and end of the year in your appointment book. This will help you to prove your total miles driven and total business miles driven to the IRS.

You should also retain print outs of your financial statements. Before you go to see your tax preparer, all of your accounts should be reconciled and statements ready. Have a balance sheet and profit and loss statement as of the year end ready to go. In addition, you should print a general ledger for the whole year, including each expense category (and its contents) that you intend to deduct on your tax return. Basically, you should have records of anything that you might need to reference in the event that you were audited.

Any files that you need to keep permanently, like asset listings, loan agreements, and insurance policies, should be kept in a place where you can easily access them. Don’t shove them in a box in a corner of a storage unit where you will never find them.

Estimated Tax Payments

You will be required to pay the fourth installment of your estimated tax payments by January 15 if your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or S corporation. In order for the payment to be on time, it must be postmarked by January 15. You are liable for an additional 0.9% Medicare tax if, in 2013, you earned more than $200,000 as a single person or $250,000 for a married person filing jointly. In order to remain in compliance, you must increase your estimated payment to include this amount. If your business is a C corporation, check with your tax preparer to find out when your estimated tax payments are due.

Payroll

If you use a payroll service, your documentation and records are taken care of for you. If your business does payroll in-house, then you have some extra work to do. You must file W2s and Form 940 by January 31. Check your state’s local requirements, too. Compare the total wages on the W2s to the total in your ledger, and make sure that those numbers match up before you mail out the W2s. Verify your employees’ mailing addresses and Social Security numbers, too.

These steps will help you to stay more prepared for tax time. If your business could use some tax advice, contact Acceler8. We are your business, tax, and accounting advisors.

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