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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

How Entrepreneurs Can Make Tax Season Less Stressful

Written By: Carol Roth | Comments Off on How Entrepreneurs Can Make Tax Season Less Stressful

Shaking handsAs we inch closer to April 15th, you may become more stressed as you have to figure out how to finalize your tax filings while you run and grow your business. Plus, with changing tax laws, the filing process can create extra confusion.

That’s where we come in – there are ways you can make this tax season less stressful for you as a small business owner, as well as tactics that you can implement yearround to help you tackle your taxes (and maybe even enhance your refund). I recently moderated a Google Hangout presented by Bank of America*, which included CPA and Author Ebong Eka, Small Business Expert and USA Today Columnist Steve Strauss, and Bank of America National Sales Executive David Solis. We generated a bevy of tips to help save you time, maximize your deductions and avoid penalties.

You can watch the full event here, but some of the key takeaways included:

Get Help – and The Right Help – As Ebong Eka, CPA said, “Do not step over dollars to pick up pennies.” That means that while being frugal can be great for small business owners, there are times when being cheap is very costly. You want to make sure, though, that you have the right accountant that specializes in working with small businesses (instead of just your Uncle Ira, the accountant) and possibly even in your industry vertical to assist you – not just with getting your taxes filed, but with planning and decision making in your business all year long.

You should also use your small business banker as your key advisor to help put together your small business “dream team” of advisory professionals to get you the help that you need.

Get Organized  Help your service providers help you. Instead of being one of those business owners that comes in with the shopping bag filled with a year of receipts, digitize your receipts throughout the year. Better yet, use an online accounting program to keep track of all of your revenue and expenses. This way, your accountant’s time can be spent doling out mission-critical advice instead of wading through papers.

Embrace Technology – As alluded to above, one of the best ways to get organized is by going digital. Use accounting software like QuickBooks and apps like Hurdlr or Falcon on a daily basis to get the habit formed and your information together. Also, consider using just one bank account or credit card so that you can have one place to go online to view and download all of your transactions. Also, for interim questions, check out the app from the IRS, IRS2Go.

Know Key Rule Changes  Each year there are new issues to contend with as a small business owner. Add to your list of questions for your accountant to inquire about impacts of changes related to the ACA (Affordable Care Act), retirement plan deduction caps, deductions allowed for the purchase of small business equipment and withholding changes for employees due to the recognition of same-sex marriage. These are some of the key areas that can impact your business.

Take Advantage of Retirement Planning  Talk to your small business banker, your accountant and/or a TPA (“third party administrator”) about revamping your retirement plan. Setting up a retirement plan or revising an existing one, whether you are self-employed or have employees, is a fantastic vehicle for all. Not only can you put up to more than $200,000 away per year on a tax deferred basis, but you take an active role in preparing for your retirement, and can give employees an important and valuable perk as well.

You can get more details on these tips and some additional tactics to help you gain even more momentum in your own business by watching the 20-minute video of the event. Invest just a few minutes to get huge returns for your business – and make filing your tax returns much less stressful.


*Disclosure: this company has a client relationship with or its affiliated entities

Article written by
Carol Roth is a former investment banker, entrepreneur and author of the new book, The War on Small Business and the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth