It’s tax time again! Everyone’s favorite season of the year (after all of the other ones).
If you’re like most business owners, you probably started out small and have (hopefully) seen your company grow over time. In the beginning, you were able to file your taxes fairly easily by yourself.
Now that your business has (hopefully) gotten bigger and more complicated, your taxes may have taken on a life of their own. If that’s the case, and you’re ready to bring in a CPA to help you, this post is for you.
Keep reading to learn what to bring to your tax appointment in order to make filing as smooth and stress-free as possible this year!
What to Bring To Your Tax Appointment
In our 40+ years of helping small business owners with their taxes, we’ve seen it all. There have been times when clients come in with nothing and aren’t sure where any of their records are, and there have been other times when they come in with piles of paper and desperate looks on their faces.
No matter the situation, our tax pros are able to help sort through everything in order to file returns that are accurate and on time. (It may take longer depending on how deep the paper pile is, but we get it done.)
The process doesn’t have to be a mess, though. There are some simple things you can do ahead of time to make it easier for yourself and everyone involved.
Let’s take a look at what to bring to your tax appointment.
Things Needed to File Taxes
The basic things needed to file taxes are:
- Personal documents with information about who you and your family are.
- Income information showing all of your sources of revenue for the year.
- Expense records showing the money that you spent running your business.
- Last year’s return if this is the first year we will be preparing you tax returns.
For a typical small business owner, this is some of the information that will be needed:
- Gross Income
- Cost of Goods Sold
- Labor Costs & Salaries
Much of this information can be found in standard financial statements, so you should also be prepared to bring
- Cash Flow Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Income Statement
If you need more details on those statements and what they contain, take a look at this post we did on “3 Most Important Types of Financial Statements Your Business Needs.” They’ll help you tremendously in growing your business even beyond the topic of filing taxes!
List of Documents to Gather
Beyond what we’ve already mentioned, here are several additional documents to gather in order to make meeting with your tax preparer easier:
- Updated Mileage Records – If you use a vehicle (your own or one owned by the company) in the regular course of doing business, you can deduct that from your taxes. These days, it’s easier than ever to record mileage and maintenance electronically, so don’t leave good money on the table by failing to include this.
- 1099s You Sent – If you contracted with another company or individual during the year to do work related to your business, you need to include that when you file. It helps in a couple of ways: by verifying your reported expenses and by giving the IRS a way to make sure those contractors are reporting the correct amount of income on their returns.
- 1099s You Received – If your company provided services for another company as a contractor, you should have received a form 1099-MISC from them. Since this is part of your overall reported income, be sure to make those available to your tax prep person.
- Receipts For Large Purchases – If you purchased large assets for your business, these capital expenditures can be deductible over the next several years. In order to properly calculate that depreciation, your accountant will need to know exactly when the items were purchased and for how much.
- Loan Balance Information – If you borrowed money for your business, the interest paid is deductible…the principal is not. Your tax preparer will need to be able to separate the two correctly, so be sure to include all current loan balance sheets in your stack of documents.
- Legal Documents – Changes to your company such as adding or removing owners, moving to a different business structure, etc. can have a big effect on your tax situation. If that’s the case for you this year, make sure your accountant knows about it.
How to Prepare Receipts for Your Accountant
Most of the documents needed in order to file your taxes are designed to keep you out of trouble with the IRS. They mainly want to know that you are who you say you are and whether or not you are reporting the correct amount of income. Files related to those things are for their benefit.
Keeping accurate receipts of your business expenses, however, is for your benefit.
You deserve to be taking every single deduction that you legally can. In order to do that, though, you have to maintain accurate records and receipts.
We get it. Staying organized when you’ve got a thousand other things to keep up with every day is tough. So here are some ideas for ways to prepare receipts for your accountant before you file.
- Find a method and make sure everyone in your company uses it. It doesn’t do any good to be the only person in your business who is trying to keep up with receipts. You need to train your team to handle every receipt the same way every time. Once it becomes a company-wide habit, you’ll all be working together to cash in on those deductions at tax time.
- Make notes on the receipt. Many times, it’s tough to remember exactly what a particular receipt was for when you run across it several days later. If it’s something you’ve been saving for your tax accountant to refer to, it could even be close to a year old! No one’s memory is that good. So save yourself some headaches by simply jotting notes:
- about the item you purchase
- on the receipt itself
- at the moment you buy it (or as soon as possible after)
- Scan them when you get back to the office. Don’t try to hang on to paper copies of all those receipts! You’ll drive yourself (and your accountant) crazy. When you get back to the office, schedule a regular time to scan them into a folder on your computer or somewhere secure in the cloud. That way, when it’s time to do your taxes all you have to do is give your accountant a flash-drive copy or online access.
These are all from a post we did on how to keep up with receipts like a pro. Check it out for more details and inspiration.
What Does My Accountant Need to Do My Taxes?
The answer is pretty simple: gather the items above and schedule a call!
We’ve been making taxes as painless as possible for small business owners just like you for over 40 years, and we’d love to help you too.