April 15 may be closer than you think. Though tax preparation may not be the best aspect of owning a business and many businesses do pay quarterly, Spring is definitely the time of year that most small business owners start to think (or worry) about their personal taxes.
Before the idea of tax time makes you nervous or anxious, keep in mind that there are some simple things you can do to make this inevitable process easier.
- Shop around for help. There are many vendors that offer professional tax assistance. Some might be CPAs, while others will be specialists dedicated to handling only tax-related issues. Shop around, and compare the various offers and the reputations of any possible vendor. Check references, and pay heed to any personal recommendations you might receive from other business owners. Reputation is an important indicator of the level of service you might expect to receive. Find someone who has experience, especially if your situation has any specific complications to consider. The most important thing to remember here is that you do have many options to choose from and it is up to you to find the vendor that best fits your particular needs.
- Compile relevant documents. A major part of being prepared for tax-time is having all your “ducks-in-a-row.” This means that you will need to spend time to compile and organize all of the relevant documents and receipts. You know that your tax preparer and the IRS will be asking for them, so you can reduce stress and increase your feeling of control by taking the initiative to have all of this information collected, organized, copied, and ready to go.
- Review any applicable tax law changes. Tax laws change every year and there might be new deductions or rules that apply to your situation. While tax professionals can help you to understand these implications, you can also take the initiative by reviewing the helpful information offered by the IRS. On the IRS website, there is a section dedicated to business, which can be found here: www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html. Having a better idea of what to expect will help you to relax and take the necessary steps forward.
Taxes may be inevitable, but they don’t have to be a source of anxiety and frustration. Take a deep breath, and try to relax. Take the time to prepare your documents and to find the help you need. Organize your approach and ask specific questions to get a better understanding of your responsibilities. While these simple steps won’t serve to reduce your personal tax obligations or those of your small business, they will help to give you, the business owner, a better sense of control.