Starting a Business? Helpful Tips for Things You’ll Need to Know.

businessAre you planning on starting a business?  There are some important things you’ll need to know about taxes, entity types, how to account for your income/taxes, etc.

Type of Business:
A business can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation, or limited liability company. There are pros and cons to each type (minimum tax, liability protection, etc) so you should talk with a professional about which entity type you should form.

Types of Taxes:
Typical taxes include income tax, sales tax, and payroll tax.  Depending on your entity, you may have a minimum tax due even if your business is not profitable.  Once an employee is hired, payroll taxes always need to be remitted.

Identification Numbers:
A business typically needs to get an Employer Identification Number to use as an identifier for federal tax purposes. If you hire employees, you will also need a state identification number.  If you remit sales tax, an account to file/pay collected sales tax will also need to be established.

Good records will help you keep track of deductible expenses and help your CPA prepare the tax returns. Proper bookkeeping will also help you monitor the financial success of your business and prepare your financial statements.

Tax Year:
Every business taxpayer must figure taxable income on an annual basis called a tax year. Your tax year can be either a calendar or fiscal year.  Keep in mind the due date of your tax return is dependent upon the end of your tax year.  Therefore, if you have a fiscal year that closes in any month other than December, your tax due date is not the typical March for corporations or April for proprietorships.  Failure to file returns on time can lead to penalties and interest if taxes were due.

Accounting Method:
Each taxpayer must also use a consistent accounting method.  Under the cash method, you generally report income and expenses when funds are received/paid.  Under an accrual method, you generally report income in the tax year you earn it whether funds have been received or not, and deduct expenses in the tax year you incur them even if they have not yet been paid.

It’s a good idea to talk to a CPA or tax attorney before beginning your business to find the best set-up for your situation.

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