These Nine Things Are Essential to Preparing Your Tax Return
For most businesses, using an accountant to prepare their tax return is the best option. Tax mistakes can be costly, and many business owners simply don’t have the time to become tax experts on the side. What you can do is have all of the required information gathered prior to your meeting. Below, we’ve shared our list of what to have readily available for your accountant or tax preparer.
Last year’s tax return. This will not only help your accountant become familiar with your business but will provide an overview of what deductions your business has (or hasn’t) been taking previously.
Year-end account statements. You probably have at least one main checking account, but savings, reserves, credit cards, loans, and even PayPal, all must be considered and tracked throughout the year. Be prepared to provide statements for all accounts showing the balance as of 12/31, or statements from the entire year if they will be updating your bookkeeping.
Year-end financial reports. If your bookkeeping is current, provide the P&L and Balance Sheet as of 12/31. Sales reports as of 12/31 for payment processing systems used to determine income, such as Point of Sale, are also needed.
Assets. Make a note of any new assets, a description of the asset, the in-service date, and the cost. Did you buy a few new stoves for the restaurant, or maybe sold an old machine to afford a new one?
Employee and non-employee compensation. Often time’s payroll is the largest expense for a small business. This makes it even more crucial to keep copies of submitted W2s, and even better, any federal and state payroll returns/reports (Form 940, Form 941). Subcontractors 1099s sent or received by/to your company are also essential to include.
Petty cash records. If you keep a log of petty cash transactions (which you definitely should be), submit it with the transaction receipts to be included in your books. Although the petty cash is typically set at a low amount, the fund consistently being replenished throughout the year can accumulate.
Contributions. Provide verification and specifics of any contributions, gifts, or charitable donations. Keep receipts or acknowledgement letters received from the organization, which should list the name of the organization, the date, and the sum or value of the donation.
Receipts. Receipts are perfect to keep on hand because they will show the what, when, and where of the purchase. If your accountant is also updating your books for the year, it is imperative that they have them to reference. Your bank statement will show that on 6/8/2017 you spent $357.18 at Target. What it can’t show is that you spent $245.89 of that on a new office tablet, $50.00 for a gift card to raffle off, $48.00 was for office cleaning supplies, and $13.29 was for personal use.
A copy of your file. If you are currently using a software, such as QuickBooks, provide a copy of your most current file. Your accountant can then review the accuracy of your data, generate customized reports, and have access to more data if needed.
Lastly, be sure to ask questions! Regulations can be complicated, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to taxes. Don’t hesitate to ask how you can improve receiving payments, record-keeping, or tracking possible deductions.
Still need to get started on filing your taxes? Then It’s Time to Start With the BOSS!
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