Tag Archives: small business tax preparation

Small Business Tax Preparation: The Five Biggest Mistakes People Make

We have finally reached the fourth quarter of 2020.

2020 has been a year like no other, especially for small businesses. Tax deadline changes, COVID restrictions, added tax laws…it’s hard to keep up with it all.

AK Burton, PC specializes in helping our small business clients keep up with their taxes. Is October the time to think about taxes? Yes. Now is the time to get in touch with your CPA if you have had an abnormal business year and plan how to close out 2020.

As you and your accountant begin the tax taking a look at your small business taxes, keep in mind these five biggest mistakes people make in small business tax preparation:

  1. Misclassifying employees and independent contractors: Misidentifying a person as a contractor and not as an employee will lead to penalties and interest for non-payment of the employer share of employment taxes. The business must give every employee a W-2, and every contractor that was paid more than $600 gets a Form 1099-Misc.  
  1. Failure to pay “reasonable wages” to shareholders of an S-Corporation: The IRS states that for the 1120S income tax return that “Distributions and other payments by an S corporation to a corporate officer must be treated as wages to the extent the amounts are reasonable compensation for services rendered to the corporation.” The shareholder plays an active, day-to-day role in the business, so, they are an employee and have to be paid a market-based salary for that position.
  1. Missing valid deductions or overstating business expenses: If your business expenses exceed its income, you may get the unwanted attention of the IRS. All of your business expenses need to be considered. IRS rules are quite strict on home office expenses as whatever is used for business should not be used for any other purposes than business. The IRS is “generous” when it comes to some Schedule C expenses. Be sure to use the depreciation schedule that the IRS has for deducting business equipment, business vehicles, and buildings. ***
  1. Improperly mixing business and personal expenses: This is one of the most common business tax filing mistakes of all. Many business clients co-mingle their personal and business banking accounts. “Co-mingling” your personal and business checking accounts makes it hard to distinguish which expenses are tax-deductible. Please keep personal income and expenses out of business bank accounts.
  1. Failure to plan: Tax laws can be complex. Most business owners are too busy running their company to understand all of the tax law nuances. A CPA or tax attorney is experienced in these matters and can help the business properly manage their accounting and business processes. Tax advice can help businesses take advantage of their resources and avoid unwanted consequences that may unknowingly occur due to the complexity of the tax laws. If you are about to incur an unusual financial transaction such as a large asset purchase or sale that is not an ordinary part of your business activity, contact your CPA to discuss the tax implications of the transaction. There may be unforeseen and unexpected tax consequences.  

At A.K. Burton, PC, our specialty is assisting small business clients with their taxes. We are familiar with the tax laws and can advise our clients on being proactive in their tax planning for now and the future. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.

*** You can find the IRS Depreciation Form 4562 here.

Ten Tax Preparation Things Your Small Business Can Do Now

This year is almost over.

In fact, by the time you read this blog, 2018 may have already arrived. Christmas has passed, the New Year’s parties have ended, school has reopened and regular life has returned.

Ho hum…

Well, I hope you had a safe and enjoyable holiday.

But, now that the New Year has arrived, I am going to bring up a topic you need to consider and now: Taxes. Yes, taxes. Tax season has just begun for small businesses and you can do something you may have never done before as a small business owner or an employee who works the accounting department: you can get ahead of the game.

Helping you and your small business be smart and successful in your bookkeeping and accounting is one of my own accounting firm goals. So, here are Ten Tax Preparation Things Your Small Business Can Do Now:

  1. Create a checklist of what you need: This checklist can be shared, such as on Google Documents, among you and your employees. It is a good way to keep updated on each item. (An excellent tax preparation checklist can be found at H. R. Block.)
  2. Find last year’s tax return: This will help you with deductions and other facts. Some businesses have the same deductions each year. It is also a legal document that may help you stay accurate for this year’s return.
  3. Balance Sheet: Your IRS tax return is based on income and expenses. It is that simple. So, you will need a balance sheet showing gross receipts, expenses and assets. It is an excellent one-glance document summarizing your past year.
  4. Asset purchases: Your business equipment can be included in your return. Some assets may written off using depreciation deductions for a number of years. For instance, if your company purchased new laptops, printers and cell phones for employees, they can be added on your tax return. Use receipts for each purchase and have them available for your accountant.
  5. Payroll Records: Payroll is, for most businesses, the largest tax deduction of all. All full-time, part-time employees, temporary employees and subcontractors’ pay should be included.
  6. Asset Dispositions: If your small business sold any depreciable assets, you will need to calculate gainsor losses on the sales. You will need a description of the asset, sale date, asset price, sale expenses and accumulated depreciation.
  7. Business vehicle(s): This may be a crucial deduction as most small businesses have fleet and/or service vehicles. You will need to get the total miles driven for business and commuting miles. (Personal mileage is not allowed to be deducted.)
  8. Credit card statements: Many small business owners use a company credit card to purchase gas, lodging, office supplies, business meals and other pertinent business purchases. The entire statement of the year’s credit card purchases need to be submitted. (Make sure that if any personal purchases were made with that card that they are marked as “personal” and not included in the business tax return.

This is a great start! In fact, if you get these all compiled and sent to your accountant, you may be able to file your federal tax return early and know how much you owe. (You may have to pay in installments, but at least you will know how much you owe and can budget it.)

It seems too early, to many small business owners, to be tackling their tax records and preparation in January. Yet, most owners will tell you that getting their tax preparation done now is a relief. Then, they can get on with running their business.

A.K. Burton, PC, which serves the Washington,D.C. and Bethesda, Md area, has experienced and licensed small business tax advisers on staff. If you need more advice on business and individual tax planning, contact us at (301) 365-1974 for more information or email us at info@cpa-maryland.com.