The IRS gives us until April 15 to turn in personal tax information, however for businesses, March 15 is the date they are due to be filed. It's time to get moving. If you want to make this year's tax season easier, start getting organized. There are many things you can prepare ahead of time to get yourself, and your business ready to file and prepared for tax season.
1. Send Your Own 1099s
If you work with freelancers or other contractors that you paid $600 or more to in 2014, you need to file the 1099 IRS form. The deadline to get this form to your contractors was January 31, while the IRS doesn't need it until February 28.
If you're scrambling to gather addresses and social security numbers for the people you need to create 1099s for, make it easier on yourself for next year and ask them to fill out a W-9 now so you have that information ready in 12 months.
2. Start a File Folder
If you're a contractor and expect to receive 1099 or other tax forms from clients, started to trickle in this month. By law, you're supposed to receive all 1099s by January 31, but it's not uncommon for some of those to come in late.
Label a file folder "taxes" so you have an easy place to store these forms as they come in. You'll add to this folder in the coming weeks, so keep it accessible.
3. Print a Profit and Loss Statement from Last Year
Even if you're a couple of weeks away from filing your taxes, you can still get a sense for how much income you'll be taxed on, as well as how much you spent on tax-eligible expenses like payroll, office supplies, and business travel.
You should be able to create this report for 2014 from your accounting software. Once you print the statement, stick it in your tax folder.
4. Start Thinking About Your Payment Plan
You likely will have to pay something for your small business taxes, so consider whether you've got enough money in savings to do so. If not, get a plan to set aside a healthy chunk between now and when you file your taxes. If you can't pay the full amount you owe in one payment, don't sweat it. The IRS is willing to work out a payment plan with you.
5. Meet with a Tax Professional
For incorporated businesses, taxes are a bit more complex, so it would be wise to find an expert in the field who has experience in small business taxes. They will be able to give you the best guidance for deductions or income adjustments so that you may actually have a lower payment than you originally thought. March is coming fast; so don't procrastinate. If you need to file personal taxes as well, make sure you are prepared for that, unless you are a sole proprietor. Get yourself organized now and save yourself some grief!
Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through The Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.