A small business owner often wears many different hats. They might have to wear their boss hat one day, and the employee hat the next. When tax season comes around, it might be their tax hat.
They may think of doing their taxes as just another item to quickly cross off their to-do list. However, this approach could leave taxpayers open to mistakes when filing and paying taxes.
Accidentally failing to comply with tax laws, violating tax codes, or filling out forms incorrectly can leave taxpayers and their businesses open to possible penalties. The IRS encourages small businesses to explore using a reputable tax preparer – including certified public accountants, Enrolled Agents or other knowledgeable tax professionals – to help with their tax situation. Filing electronically can also help avoid common errors.
Being aware of common mistakes can also help tame the stress of tax time. Here are a few mistakes small business owners should avoid:
Underpaying estimated taxes
Business owners should generally make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed. If they don’t pay enough tax through withholding and estimated tax payments, they may be charged a penalty.
Depositing employment taxes
Business owners with employees are expected to deposit taxes they withhold, plus the employer’s share of those taxes, through electronic fund transfers. If those taxes are not deposited correctly and on time, the business owner may be charged a penalty.
Just like individual returns, business tax returns must be filed in a timely manner. To avoid late filing penalties, taxpayers should be aware of all tax requirements for their type of business the filing deadlines.
Not separating business and personal expenses
It can be tempting to use one credit card for all expenses especially if the business is a sole proprietorship. Doing so can make it very hard to tell legitimate business expenses from personal ones. This could cause errors when claiming deductions and become a problem if the taxpayer or their business is ever audited.
Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
Publication 15, Circular E, Employer’s Tax Guide
Choosing a Tax Preparer
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