Tax season is coming up, and if you’re a small business owner and haven’t been keeping careful track of your business expenses this year, you could have a lot of work ahead of you. As you gather everything for 2012, you should also take the time to get 2013 on the right track and get yourself organized. A little bit of planning now will go a long way when next January rolls around.
Keep all Business Receipts
As a small business owner, it’s absolutely imperative that you keep every receipt connected to your business expenses. Looking at old bank statements, trying to remember why you spent seventy dollars and eighty-three cents at Home Depot a year ago, and if it was a business expense or not, is frustrating in the extreme. Keeping a file for receipts for all business purchases you make throughout the year will allow you to start 2014 without the anxiety. On top of that, if you can do a once a week categorizing of all of the receipts will help you keep organized, and at the end of the year, will give you a list of total expenses, rather than having to go back through all those receipts. If you want to get really high tech you could try using the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner and Digital Filing System.
Small Business Tax Deductions- Vehicle and Property Costs
If you use a vehicle for work or have an office or storefront from which your business operates, you’ll also need to keep track of all the expenses pertaining to them. Gas and repairs for the car, as well as how many miles you drove, should be tracked. Utilities for the property can also count as part of your write-offs if you keep careful track of exactly what’s used for the business itself. Referring to the current tax deduction guidelines provided by the IRS may also reveal tax deductions you were unaware of.
One good way to get organized is the Adams Business Forms provide the tools to help keep track of messages, finances, transactions, employees, taxes, and customers to businesses throughout the world. These products are the perfect way to create and maintain a professional image for small businesses and service providers. The Adams Tax Preparation Organizer helps you maintain and organize documents for tax preparation.
Personal vs. Small Business Taxes
Whatever expenses you have throughout the year, be sure to carefully separate out your small business costs from personal costs. By keeping these transactions separate you can itemize all expenses if necessary. If the IRS decides to audit you, you want to have everything documented with proof (receipts, bills and invoices, etc.) This will help reduce confusion and make the process run smoother.
Talk to a Professional Tax Preparer
As a business owner, you want your taxes to be done right, and unless you have a background in accounting, you should get a professional accountant to work with you. It’s worth the small expense to ensure that you’re getting everything in to the IRS that you need. Trying to do your own taxes can be penny wise, pound foolish, as you might miss some deductions or not correctly report things.
Your accountant can save you more money than they cost you, leading to a net gain in your bottom line. Don’t just talk to your accountant during tax season, but keep in touch throughout the year. They can help clarify what does and what does not count as a business expense so you know what you need to keep track of for expense reporting purposes.
Taxes can be an onerous, frustrating task. However, if you take the time throughout the year to stay organized and get yourself a good accountant to help you, it can be relatively stress-free and will allow you to get back what you deserve. Take a look at your current filing system and determine if it is the best way to track your expenses before the next tax season.
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About the Author:
Tara Daines is a financial blogger for small businesses. If you would like to help small businesses keep their profits, a master’s in accounting from New England College may be the right choice for you.
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