Originally, this wasn’t a topic I wasn’t going to discuss. But the reality is tax season is almost here, and it’s time to prepare for it. Doing so can reduce the chances of it being a stressful time. When you factor in the new tax laws, additional tax credits and deductions, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the PPP and EIDL loans, then this coming tax season may become very overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a qualified tax preparer, agent, or accountant, you don’t have to be alone while you’re racing to meet this year’s tax filing deadline (which is back to April 15th in 2022). As a business owner who has over 20 years experience in the tax industry as well, I would like to speak to you about how you can be prepared for this upcoming tax season.
As a small business owner, you might be asking “What information do I need to give to have my taxes prepared accurately?” Well, you definitely DO NOT want to show up empty-handed. Get in front of this now and be prepared by getting your documents ready in advance. Since many financial professionals charge by the hour, with a little preparation on your part, you can help save time and money when you file this tax season.
APPLICABLE BUSINESS TAX FORMS
The forms your business will be required to file is entirely dependent on your business type and entity.
- Freelancers & Sole Proprietors: Forms 1040, Schedule C, Schedule C-EZ, 1040-SE
- Single Member Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs): Forms 1040, Schedule C, Schedule E, Schedule F
- Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs): Forms 1065, 1120-S, Schedule K
- Partnerships: Forms 1065, 940, 941, 943
- S Corporations: Forms 1120-S, Schedule K-1, 940, 941, 943
If you are unsure and would like to know more about which forms your business may be required to file, you can go to the IRS’ Forms, Instructions & Publications. Please note that your tax filing date may also be affected by your business type. On this site, you will find the forms with instructions for each business type.
PREVIOUS YEAR’S TAX RETURN
Submit your previous year’s return to your tax preparer. First, this helps the preparer gain a better understanding of your business. Secondly, it also provides them with information about any deductions you and/or your business has or hasn’t taken. This helps you as the consumer!
ANNUAL FINANCIAL BUSINESS REPORTS
There are three standard financial reports every business owner should know and provide to their tax preparer or accountant.
- Profit and Loss report (or Income Statement)
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow Statement
The Profit and Loss (P&L) report shows your business’ overall profit (or loss) for the year. The Balance Sheet shows your company’s assets and liabilities. The Cash Flow Statement shows all transactions affecting your business’ cash account. These three basic reports will also show how well your business is performing at any given time. You want to know them. If you use an accounting software program, you should be able to print them. If you have a bookkeeper, they should provide you with a copy for your records and for filing your tax returns. Contact your tax preparer or accountant to see if there are any other reports they may need or any they may deem helpful.
BUSINESS ASSET INFORMATION
Your tax preparer or accountant will need to know about any assets bought, sold, or depreciated over the last year. Submit all of your receipts, documents, and reports related to assets and fixed assets.
Tip: If you use an accounting program, check there. The program may have a feature which records your assets allowing you to run the report.
BUSINESS LOAN INFORMATION
If you’ve taken out any business loans over the last year, you will need to provide that information as well. Submit a copy of the loan agreement and any records of payments or interest accrued as well. This helps to ensure that your preparer is current with your business’ total assets and liabilities. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many business owners took advantage of the PPP and EIDL programs. Please keep the forms sent for your records and submit them to your preparer as well.
RECORD OF BUSINESS INCOME
Simply put, you have a business and you must show proof of income. To verify the income on your P&L statement, you need to provide income records. These may include bank statements, deposit slips, or sales invoices.
BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS & EXPENSE RECORDS
To verify your business expenses for write-off and deductions, you will need to submit expense records. These may include receipts, bills, bank statements, credit card statements, and/or mortgage interest & property tax forms. Please keep these expense records separate and organized. Keep in mind, as said previously, many financial professionals charge by the hour. Bringing a box or folder of unorganized receipts will cost you even more! Sometimes a business receipt will not be enough for some business expenses. The following deductions will require more information:
Home Office deduction: You may be eligible for the home office deduction if you use a separate area exclusively for business. Please make sure you have the proper documentation which may include the square footage of your home and the office. Also, the amount of mortgage or rent payments, insurance, utilities, and any repairs made to the home office.
Mileage Log: You may be eligible for vehicle deduction if you’re using a vehicle for business purposes. Track all of your mileage throughout the year then submit the mileage log to your tax professional, along with any receipts which are related to your vehicle expenses.
Business Travel: Business meals and travel expenses can be written off. However, this deduction can be a red flag to the IRS. Please be sure to submit all receipts, travel tickets, and itineraries to your tax professional for eligibility and verification.
Charitable Donations: If your business makes any charitable donations, submit the statements you receive. Working with a tax professional will ensure that you are given all of the deductions your business is eligible for. Tip: Using an accounting software program can alleviate much of this distress. Some even have a ‘scan receipt’ function or app which will come in handy throughout the year.
BUSINESS PAYROLL INFORMATION
Your tax preparer or accountant will need any payroll information that occurred during the year. Submit copies of your employee’s or subcontractor’s W-2s, W-3s, and 1099s. Also, provide health insurance records and bonuses because these can count as business deductions.
OPENING & CLOSING INVENTORY TOTALS
Several forms require Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) ending balance for the year. You should have already recorded the opening balance at the beginning of the year. Now perform another inventory count and submit the totals to your tax professional.
BONUS TAX PREPARATION TIPS
- Communicate with your tax professional – they may have a checklist which can help
- Submit any information related to stocks and bonds that your business has purchased and/or sold during the year. You will also need to submit a record of any owner’s investment and withdrawals during the year.
- Start early! – Do NOT wait until April 1 to submit your documents to your tax professional. If so, don’t be surprised by the extra fees or the need to file an extension.
- Perform bookkeeping regularly – Stay on top of your bookkeeping throughout the year. Better yet, outsource it and hire a bookkeeper! It can make tax preparation much easier and efficient.
- Organization! – Being organized can save you not just time, but money. Having your information organized is good. But being able to UNDERSTAND the information is even better.
Routinely perform these tasks on the first of the month. If you find that is too much for your liking, schedule yourself to review once per quarter. I have seen it over and over again that in the beginning of the year (during tax season), everyone becomes more diligent with recordkeeping. After or during the summer months, the tasks become tedious and tend to slide off our calendars and delay the inevitable. Taking the extra time to review and organize your financial information will make all the difference in your next tax season. Have questions, let’s connect! If you are a business owner and are ready to move your business forward and become unstuck, check my services page and book a no-strings attached call HERE.