Taxes are a special challenge for the small enterprise. You must meet the rules the tax code has for business filers, but you don't have a large (or any) finance department to plow through the numbers for you.
You also have to consider taxes you must collect, such as payroll taxes on your employees or sales taxes on your merchandise.
You do, however, have several handy and accessible resources to help you get a handle on your business tax responsibilities. Basically, there are three main sources of tax help:
- The Internet
- Online calculators
- Business tax books
Small business tax Web sitesOnline tax resources come in two forms: free advice and tax guidance for a fee. Start with the freebies, as many of the tax programs available for purchase simply recreate documents already available as free downloads.
IRS small business and self-employment section, where you'll find handy links to forms, documents and news for companies of any size. Plain-English tax help is also available at CCH's Business Owner's Toolkit tax section.
Find it Fast!For fast tax answers to specific issues, the Find it Fast tool at the IRS site can help.
Find it Fast! Some of the main choices include: Business Types, Closing a business, Contractors, EINs, Employees, Expenses, Industries & Professions, Retirement Plans and Self-Employed.
Calculators you can count onThe Internet if chock full of tax calculators. Unfortunately, most of the free ones are designed for individual, not business, taxpayers.
Get W-2, 1099, 941 and other tax forms out fastOnline e-filing solutions can help any small business get 1099 and W2 tax forms out quickly and easily.
Falling back on old-fashioned resourcesOnline resources are often lifesavers. But when it comes to taxes, sometimes you need a tome you can bookmark and come back to for repeated reference.
- Do your research. A basic understanding of your tax obligations and saving options will help you meet and make the most out of your business tax situation.
- Spend some time surfing tax Web sites.
- Learn what your state and local taxing jurisdictions require. Mistakes here can be as costly as those on the federal level.
- Don't try to cut corners when it comes to taxes. If you need the software upgrade, but it. It will be worth it in what you save in taxes or by not owing any penalties for filing mistakes.
- Similarly, if your company needs personal professional tax help, hire an accountant to get your business taxes in order.