The Washington Post

Five tax season tips for small business owners

Stress levels are skyrocketing, files are misplaced, and you’re scrambling for receipts and documents. That’s right, it’s tax season – the time of year when employers prepare for the dreaded April deadline.

This tax season, don’t forget about some of the provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act, which offer several tax breaks.

Be sure to track itemized deductions, like assets

Running a business can be expensive, but with Section 179, small and medium-sized businesses can expense most capital purchases in the year of the purchase. Now, some of the most important items like office supplies, equipment and even software, which help your business run daily, can be added to your taxes as itemized deductions.

Don’t overlook the computers, printers, licensed software, delivery trucks, wich can result in a large return. Keep track of these items during the year to help you stay organized when it comes time to list them.

Go mobile for organization

Check out some of the most popular smartphone apps to help simplify the tax season, including offerings like H&R Block Mobile, TaxCaster, Tax Tracker and Receipt Filer Liter. Some operate on Android, others on iPhone devices, and some of them are free. Tax Tracker and Receipt Filer Lite also allow users to take and store photos of receipts to stay organized during tax season.

Keep your records organized

Find a filing system that works for you, such as an accordion folder separated into the months of the year. Be sure to file your receipts as soon as possible after making a purchase to ensure your taxes are filed accurately and that you have paperwork if needed.

Or, consider e-form filers. The IRS offers a list of approved e-form filers who offer web-based services and firms near your area to help store tax information. These services offer full-service or particular forms depending on your specific needs.

Utilize the Small Business Jobs Act Tax provisions

If you are looking for great savings for your business this year, take advantage of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 signed President Obama. This law has more than a dozen provisions decreasing tax burdens for small businesses.

Keep contractor names and addresses up to date

It is important to obtain an updated W-9 tax ID form when it is time to begin filing your taxes. Verify the names and addresses of all contractors you have worked with throughout the year and note the total you paid each contractor. Double check with your accountant to confirm your expenses are being tracked properly. Tip for future tax seasons: Save contractor information with your e-form vendor, allowing next year’s filing to be less stressful.

Brian Sutter is director of marketing for Wasp Barcode Technologies, which provides barcode and inventory management software.

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