The start of a new year is a great time for small-business owners to make tax-related resolutions. Rather than wait until year-end, you can take some of the stress out of tax season with advanced planning, organization, and a deep understanding of industry changes. So as you toast to a profitable 2015 for your small business, take the following four tax resolutions into account.
Tax Resolution #1: Get Yourself Organized
The beginning of a new tax year is the best time to organize your filing system for expense receipts. Try categorizing your incoming (and existing) receipts according to tax filing conventions such as advertising, business meals, professional fees, and others.
Tax Resolution #2: Research New Tax Regulations and Credits
Even if you enlist the help of a certified public accountant for tax preparation, it's a good idea to do some independent research. As tax laws change, there may be opportunities specific to your business that are worth discussing with your tax preparer. The start of the year is also a good time to look at existing business tax credit programs offered by the IRS and put a plan in place to capitalize on available incentives. For those who self-prepare forms, many small-business development centers run tax workshops to help inform small-business owners of their tax-filing responsibilities. The IRS also maintains a video series of online tax seminars that cater to new small-business owners.
Tax Resolution #3: Keep Up With Industry-Specific News
If you're seeking to expand your small business, you need to stay on top of industry-specific trends. The IRS maintains tax-specific trends and statistics for many industries in its Industries/Professions Tax Center. To stay informed of tax and legislative changes in your industry, try joining professional associations, attending trade shows and conferences, and making strong industry networking connections. Sometimes, the simplest of personal communications with your peers can lend itself to the most profitable best practice recommendations.
Tax Resolution #4: Welcome Technology
The beginning of a new year is the best time to convert to a cloud-based accounting system, especially when a business outgrows hard-copy records. Implementing cloud-based accounting can provide time-saving tax advantages such as: built-in accounting requirement updates, instant financial reports, double-entry accounting, and cloud-based collaborative capabilities so you and your accountant can work in tandem in real time.
For small businesses, each New Year brings the potential of growth and improvement; 2015 is no different. So beyond the diet and fitness resolutions that we inevitably break, take the time this New Year to organize your financial records and educate yourself on industry and tax-filing trends. With organization, knowledge, and the cloud on your side, 2015 can be the year of decreased tax stress.