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There are many reasons for closing a small business. It may no longer be profitable to continue, you may have found an enticing job offer, or you may just want to cut your losses and avoid incurring additional debt. Whatever your reasons may be for taking down the "open" sign, by the time you are sure you want to call it quits, you are likely looking for a quick and painless exit strategy.
The good news is that you are not alone. You just have search online to find dozens of tips, checklists, and notes of advice to guide you through the process. No matter how you choose to approach it, remember that just as setting up your business takes planning and legal forethought, so will closing it. Here are our picks for top checklists for closing a small business.
1. IRS Checklist on Closing a Business (IRS): Brought to you by the federal government, this checklist links to pertinent forms that you will have to fill out in relation to your business's annual tax return. It also links to forms for reporting disposing of business property, reporting exchange of like-kind property, and changing the form of your business.
2. Closing Your Business: What You Need to Do (FindLaw): This provides a legal how-to for closing a small business. It introduces key legal concepts such as dissolution, license cancellations, tax considerations, and who you will have to inform about your closing.
3. How to Close a Small Business - A Personal Experience (HubPages) : Written by a small business owner who had to make the tough decision to close, this article and checklist offers a personal account of the thought process, the research, and the detailed steps taken to shut down. For any first-time business owner, this read may demystify the process and provide you with concrete things to do.
4. A Chronology: A Road Map to Closing Down Your Business (FindLaw) : Reviews the legal, tax, and financial issues that must be addressed when closing a small business. It gives an overall view of the process of closing shop in a list of straightforward steps, starting from voting to dissolve the business to how long to store business papers for tax audit purposes.