5 Tips for Small Business Owners to Survive Tax Season

Spring Past Tax Day

Spring has sprung across the US – unless, of course, you’re digging yourself out of the snow in the northeast. Over the next couple of months, we’ll see a jump in construction projects, restaurants will fill their tables, and office workers will finally stop complaining about the cold – and complain about the heat instead. As we prepare for a lucrative spring/summer season, the team at Orion Labs has put together five tax-day tips to get you through April 18th. From small businesses to medium-sized contractors, these tips will ensure you make the most of your taxes.* Let’s grab those receipts and go!  

1. Find a Professional

When you work in a small team, everyone wears many hats. Each employee has to be a technical expert, marketer, receptionist, IKEA builder, and window-washer. For something as important as your taxes, your best bet could be a tax professional from a firm like H&R Block. To find the right tax preparer for you, check out this slideshow. If you’re not anticipating a difficult tax season, TurboTax and TaxAct are two tax programs that can help you file for a lower price than hiring a professional.  

2. Deduct It

Oftentimes, business owners forget about all of the deductions that are in place to help small biz. This goes way beyond deducting travel and business meals. Did you buy a new suit for that new client meeting? Are you deducting reimbursements you made to your employees? How about the cleaning supplies you need to keep your office client-facing? Perhaps you ran an advertising campaign on social to get more feet in the door? Even if your office is virtual, expenses like rent and Internet can be deducted from your taxes. If you popped a tire on the way to client’s house, that’s one, too. Finally, if you’re not offering them already, think about offering fringe benefits like vision and dental insurance instead of a raise. Pay close attention to make sure you’re getting every deduction that you’re entitled to. For more ideas, visit FitSmallBusiness.com.  

3. Give Often

We all want to be better world citizens, helping those in need and supporting causes we care about like fighting poverty or saving the environment. Charitable giving, although a deduction, deserves its own section as we’re all responsible for the world we live in. Of course, most people think of a monetary donation when they think of giving to charity. However, money isn’t the only thing you can donate. Are you a summer business that pays to store inventory over the winter? How about donating unsold or unused inventory instead of storing it? Giving doesn’t always have to be about donating to charity. Education classes and seminars for your employees can also reduce the amount you pay each year.  

4. Avoid Penalties

Deductions sure are nice. But penalties? Not so much. It’s pretty obvious that the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, is likely to penalize you and your company for inaccuracies and late filings. As a small business owner, it’s your job to know your local and national tax laws. In the end, you’ll be the one to sign your filing that says everything reported is correct. Check this site out for more information on common tax penalties faced by small businesses. Lastly, the IRS has a Small-Business and Self-Employed Tax Center that includes many tips, tricks and, yes, penalties that are useful for any small biz owner to know.  

5. Extend It

One of our tips was going to be to file early. Remember that tip for next year. Since the time to file early has passed, and you don’t want to skip paying taxes (see #3), you’re probably thinking about a tax extension. Well, that’s a little tricky. For most businesses, the deadline has already passed to file for an extension. However, some business can extend their deadline by filing the appropriate forms by April 15th. This one’s a bit too complicated for us to give blanket advice on, so check out the guidelines set forth by the IRS and consult with a tax professional.   Any tips we missed? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. If you’re looking to upgrade your team’s communication, check out Onyx today.   *This post does not constitute financial advice. Work with a certified tax professional to stay within the letter of the law.