There are a lot of difficult and not-always-enjoyable aspects to operating a small business. But the more you know about them, the less intimidating they become. They may not become any more pleasant, but at least you’re better able to successfully resolve them and get back to the many, far more enjoyable parts of being an entrepreneur.
A good example is paying taxes. Every small business is subject to federal, state, and sometimes local taxes. And it’s not something you can simply put off until April 15, along with your personal taxes. Many small businesses pay estimated taxes four times a year, based on the income received during certain periods. If you have employees, you need to pay taxes on their wages and make the appropriate withholdings for Social Security and Medicare.
But as you learn more about small business taxes, you’ll find that managing them can be no more onerous than other routine administrative tasks. And a great source of information is the Internal Revenue Service’s Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center (www.irs.gov/smallbiz).
There, you’ll find everything you need to know about small business taxes. The “Starting, Operating, or Closing a Business” section, for example, provides information on tax requirements for the various stages of a business’s life cycle, while the “Deducting Expenses” section guides you in determining what does and doesn’t qualify as a business expense.
You’ll also find sections dedicated to self-employed individuals and businesses with employees, an A-to-Z topic index, and links to downloadable IRS small business forms and publications. And, you’ll find the latest news on tax issues that can affect small businesses, plus a detailed explanation of tax provisions related to the new Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) is another good online source for tax help, including determining state and local tax obligations. You’ll also find links to tax departments, business registration agencies, and related resources in every U.S. state and territory.
Even with so much tax information at your fingertips, it may still be a good idea to consult with an accountant or tax attorney on specific issues. You may also consider outsourcing taxes and other accounting duties to a qualified accountant, putting this all-important requirement in the hands of an expert.
To learn more about tax matters facing your small business, contact SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 12,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners.