As a business owner, you probably have a lot on your plate. Tax filing is just another one of those items, and there's only about a month to go before the April 15 filing deadline.
If you haven't already talked to your accountant or tax lawyer, you'd better get cracking on that. You have many reporting obligations and chances are that as a business owner, you'll be itemizing your deductions. So that being said, you don't want to be sloppy.
If you don't think you're going to make the Tax Day deadline, here are some tips on tax filing for procrastinators:
- Request an extension to file. The Internal Revenue Service give you the chance to to extend your time for filing by submitting Form 4868. But be careful: This extension is an extension to file, not an extension to pay. If you owe taxes, you still have to pay it by April 15.
- Set aside time to work on your taxes. Ask your assistant to schedule a block of your time, as if you were in a meeting. That way, you cannot be disturbed by any other fires to put out. Then, get cracking on your books and get all your documents together to take to your accountant. Sometimes, all you need is a little push.
- Read up on what's new. Sometimes, the fear of the unknown is what causes one to procrastinate. If that's the case, then read up on the issues that you're unfamiliar with. If you're not a tax specialist or think it may be well over your head, don't worry. It's not rocket science and there are some very user-friendly articles on tax law out there.
- Use a step-by-step guide. If all you need is some simple guidance, check out FindLaw's Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Your Federal Taxes. It's simple, easy and helps out with the basics.
- Hire some help. As a business owner, you should have a dedicated bookkeeper or an outside accountant. If you don't, then perhaps this is a good time to get one. If your tax issues are simple, then a good enrolled agent (EA) should suffice. But if your issues are more complicated, then an experienced tax attorney may be your best bet. Note, however, that most tax attorneys don't fill out tax returns. They merely give tax advice and help you deal with the IRS.
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- Tax Tips for Procrastinators (Detroit's WDIV-TV)
- Do You Need to Report Your Online Sales to the IRS? (FindLaw)
- Running Late? Submit an Extension to File Taxes (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- 5 Signs You Need a Tax Lawyer, Not a CPA (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)