Options for Filing and Reporting Small Business Taxes

Large and small businesses all around the United States are required to file and pay taxes. Small business taxes are applied and determined differently than those of larger corporations. To accurately report and pay taxes business owners are encouraged to follow these helpful preparation tips.

Small business owners have the option of filing their own tax returns or they can hire the help of a professional. Professional tax help can come from a certified public accountant (CPA) or professional tax preparer. Each individual is likely to accurately prepare a small business tax return; however, many business owners prefer working with a certified public accountant (CPA). In addition to a filing a federal or state small business tax return, a certified public accountant is experienced in keeping all financial records in order. Having all financial records in order may allow business owners to claim additional tax deductions or tax credits.

It is possible for a small business owner to prepare their own returns; however, the process is often long and sometimes difficult. To make the process easy many people take a tax course or they purchase a tax software program. The majority of tax courses offer valuable information and helpful tips to those who may have to pay taxes. These courses are usually available at a local college or an establish tax preparation business for a small fee.

Since owning and operating a business is a large project there are many business people who are unable to find the time to take a tax preparation course. These people are likely to purchase a tax software program. Tax software programs can be purchased from a traditional retail store or they can be paid for and downloaded off of the internet. The majority of individuals using a tax software program to determine if they owe any money are required to use the premium software versions because they are usually the only tax software versions that supply the forms needed.

When preparing their own taxes entrepreneurs are urged to keep in mind all of the tax deductions that they qualify for. There are many business owners who do not realize that they could qualify for multiple tax deductions. The majority of office supplies and other equipment that is required to operate a business is tax deductible. It is also possible for the owner of the business to donate some of their old office equipment or supplies to a charity. These donations are considered charitable deductions. Many small business owners make the mistake of just tossing out their old equipment because they do not realize that they can receive deductions for donating old equipment as well as purchasing new equipment. Taking a tax preparation course, using a software program, or hiring the services of a professional are great ways for them to learn about the deductions that they may qualify for.

Many business owners decided to start preparing their own taxes only to later learn that figuring out small business taxes is more difficult than they anticipated. Those who are unable to complete their small business tax returns or feel that they made a mistake on the tax forms can take their partially completed tax forms to a professional tax preparer for assistance and further completion.

10 Tips Small Businesses Can Use to Avoid Viruses, Spam and Spyware

Viruses, spam, spyware and other malware cost small businesses billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, stolen identities and IT support costs.

What small businesses need to understand is that these gremlins are easy to avoid when common sense and some simple precautions are applied. And ‘avoid’ is the key word; your strategy should be to stay as far away from these things in the first place so that you don’t have to experience the lost time and cost associated with cleaning up the mess they leave.

So how can a small business avoid viruses, spam, and spyware?

The following is a list of 10 best practices for small businesses:
1. Use antivirus software that is automatically updated on all machines
2. Use a hosted spam filtering service that filters the spam before it ever makes it to your local network
3. Make sure employees know that you have a policy that work computers are only to be used for work purposes.
4. Don’t give your business email address to a non-business source
5. Don’t forward jokes, chain mail, etc. to other employees
6. Never open an attachment from an unknown source
7. Never open an attachment with an unknown file extension
8. Don’t download free toolbars, shopping assistants, weather bug, etc. on your work computer
9. Never give your information or download information from an unknown site
10. Never update banking or other sensitive personal information using a link sent to you via email – always navigate directly to the site and log in there.

As you can see, most of these tips don’t require you to buy anything or use any special technology. Viruses, spam and spyware prey on human nature – curiosity, laziness, etc. – to get past technology-based defences, so you must educate yourself and your employees to know what to avoid.

One last tip: if you do feel like you have a virus or something else attacking your computer, unplug it from your network immediately. The last thing you want to do is give it to everyone else in your office – that’s when things get really expensive.

Marketing Tip – Small Business Owners Need to Keep in Touch to Get More Referrals

The phone rings.  You answer it.  The person on the other line says, “Bob Smith suggested I call you.  He said you can help me.”  Ahhhh!  It’s a beautiful day!!!

How often does that happen to you?  Probably not often enough.  But with a little marketing planning, you can dramatically increase your referral business.  The result is bigger sales for your small business. The most important thing is to keep in touch with people on a regular, consistent basis.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Most small business owners know they need to do these things.  But few have any type of marketing system for keeping in touch with the right people.  Even fewer small business owners know the right way to ask for referrals.

Who should be on your contact list?  

EVERYONE!  Past clients, prospects, business associates, friends, neighbors, even people who at one point thought they might use your services, then changed their mind.

The biggest mistake we make is to think, “Oh, those people know what my small business is. I don’t need to market to them.” 

Yes, your neighbor, your banker, and the people in your Rotary group probably do know about your business.  But when they think of you, they think of you walking the dog, making a deposit, or organizing a meeting. 
Because they don’t see you in your professional capacity, they don’t think of you that way–unless you use a smart marketing strategy to remind them.  And, as much as we’d like to think we are unforgettable to our past clients, they start to forget about us in as little as six weeks!

Obviously, when making a marketing plan to keep in touch with your contacts, time and budget need to be considered.  You will want to see some people once a week.  Others will simply get a monthly e-mail newsletter.  No matter what, talking about your business, mailing personal notes and cards, and sending regular e-mail newsletters to all of your contacts is vital to building business. 

By marketing to your contacts on a regular, consistent basis, you will ensure these people think of you whenever they hear of someone else who might need your product or service. The result? More referrals, more business and more sales!