Four Essential Tax Prep Tips for SMBs

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Few of us get excited about tax season-- it can be nerve-wracking to try to stay on top of all of the rules and regulations that come along with filing taxes. Throw a small business into the mix and you may feel like you're struggling to stay afloat throughout the process.

But filing taxes as a small business doesn't need to be that way at all! Not everything is going to be clear-cut and easy, but implementing the tips listed below can help shift your situation from a sinking ship to smooth sailing. Take your time, double-check anything you're unsure of, and start early! Give yourself the space to make mistakes and arm yourself with the knowledge to correct them as they occur. 

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Four Key Tax Prep Tips for SMBs

Stay Organized

If you hold onto one piece of advice after reading this article, let this be it.

Getting organized is the key that will unlock every other tool and benefit you need to navigate tax season successfully. If your records and data are a wreck, you'll hardly be able to work with them efficiently. Start making estimated quarterly tax payments and ensure that your personal and business bank accounts are entirely separate to avoid confusion.

If you haven't yet, take a stab at digitizing your receipts! It's simple; some apps on the market today can even import them right into the appropriate spreadsheets. You can take pictures with your mobile phone or use scanners to get information digitized quickly. Keep detailed notes for anything that requires explanation or revisiting; a lot of spreadsheet software allows you to add hidden comments to individual cells.

Remain Informed

It's a little scary to try to stay on top of every change and bit of news in regards to tax laws-- but you really should do your best to keep abreast of current developments. You don't need to know everything (that's what your accountant is for!), but working with data and speaking to financial professionals is much easier when you have a leg to stand on.

Select a few trusted sources that you know will provide you with reliable, easy-to-digest information and make a point to check for changes to tax regulations and laws regularly. Follow your industry's news to see what other professionals are saying about their financials and learn from companies similar to yours.

Leverage Last Year's Return

Your previous year's tax statements can act as a roadmap as you work to navigate the current year's filing. Much of the framework from previous returns tend to remain the same as the years go by-- it's really not so different from personal filing.

In addition, taking a glance at previous returns will help keep you grounded and make it easy to see significant shifts in finances. If certain things stick out like a sore thumb after perusing last year's return, it might be a sign that you need to get back to the drawing board-- whether that be with your business as a whole or with your filing for the year.

Look for Specialized Help

Speak to trusted peers and colleagues to get a feel for who they're relying on to help guide them through tax time. There's no need to go poach accountants, but you should take time to consider the level of assistance you'll need to file and look for the best service provider you can find. Your tax preparer should, ideally, have extensive experience working with small business owners.

If there's something that makes you a standout-- maybe it's your industry, maybe it's your first year filing-- take that into account as you begin the tax preparer selection process. You may want to look for accountants who specifically work to help newer SMBs get off the ground; or maybe you want to work with a seasoned pro who can give you the same advice they're feeding to fortune 500 companies. Either way, know what sort of help you want and find out where to get it.

If you're eager to gain deeper insights into your business, customer behavior, and your opportunities, learn why millions have trusted Act! to run and grow their businesses. Our team will be happy to speak with you about your needs and address the issues you're facing to create individualized solutions tailored to your business.