The tax deadline for 2017 is right around the corner, and no amount of free coffee and donuts makes filing taxes any less taxing. (But you should enjoy the freebies anyway!) Let’s face it –filing business taxes is never going to be a walk in the park. However, these tips for preparing for tax season can help simplify the process.
Organize your files
Whether you are filing on your own or using an accountant, you will need to track down a number of documents before getting started. Gather your bank statements, business credit card statements, payroll documents, tax forms from last year, receipts from any assets purchased, depreciation schedules and any partnership agreements. Having these files in hand makes the process faster. Check out this small business tax preparation checklist at H&R Block to get started.
Double check your records
Running a business is hard work. You may keep records of your income and expenses, but it’s easy for a couple things to slip through the cracks. Make sure you include checking and savings account interest in your income records. For your expenses, don’t forget transportation, phone bills and any fees associated with using an accountant.
Look for deductions and tax credits
Deductions and credits are your friends. Brush up on any tax code changes to make sure you are maximizing your deductions. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider hiring an accountant to help with your taxes. The money they can save you with deductions often outweighs the cost of using an accountant. Also, QuickBooks compiled a list of common expenses and tax deductions for contractors.
Prepare for years ahead
Were you organized this year or has getting your records in order been a massive headache? Consider what changes you would like to make for next year and implement them now. Still tracking down paper receipts from the bottom of a stack of papers on your desk? Consider using a scanner and scanning in all paper documents on a daily or weekly basis. Do you need better recordkeeping? Look into software that will streamline the process or hiring someone to help with the recordkeeping and accounting duties in your company. If you do the work to get organized now, you will thank yourself this time next year.