If you plan to start a new business, or you’ve just launched your business, it is important for you to know your federal tax responsibilities. Here are five basic tips from the IRS that can help you get started.
1. Type of Business. Early on, you will need to decide the type of business you are going to establish. The most common types are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation and Limited Liability Company. Each type reports its business activity on a different federal tax form.
2. Types of Taxes. The type of business you run usually determines the type of taxes you pay. The four general types of business taxes are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax.
3. Employer Identification Number. A business often needs to get a federal EIN for tax purposes. Check IRS.gov to find out whether you need this number. If you do, you can apply for an EIN online.
4. Recordkeeping. Keeping good records will help you when it’s time to file your business tax forms at the end of the year. They help track deductible expenses and support all the items you report on your tax return. Good records will also help you monitor your business’ progress and prepare your financial statements. You may choose any recordkeeping system that clearly shows your income and expenses.
5. Accounting Method. Each taxpayer must also use a consistent accounting method, which is a set of rules that determine when to report income and expenses. The most common are the cash method and accrual method. Under the cash method, you normally report income in the year you receive cash and deduct expenses in the year you paid cash for them. Under the accrual method, you generally report income in the year you bill it and deduct expenses in the year you received the bill. This is true even if you receive the income or pay the expenses in a future year.
Want to get more info? Visit the IRS Video Portal and check out the Starting a Business and the Small Business Taxes sections. There are a variety of videos that cover topics that affect small business owners and the self-employed. You can also contact me with any questions.
Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in English instead of “Accountant-ese”.
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and answers to tough tax questions posed to Jéneen R. Perkins, Owner of Eclat Enterprises, LLC