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How Do I pay Taxes on my Business?

You now are the owner of your own business. You have a business name, a tax ID number for the state and an EIN number for the IRS. Now how do you figure out how to pay your taxes?

Uncle Sam always wants his fair share so the plan is not too hard. First you need to keep good records of every dollar you make in your business and every dollar you spend in your business. I HIGHLY recommend a separate checking account, debit card and credit car that is only used for your business. In your checking account you want to deposit every sale, whether cash or credit card or paypal. Be sure to label in your checkbook register what the customers name was for that deposit. Keep a written receipt of that sale as well. For every expense for your business, use only your business checking account or debit card or credit card. Keep receipts for all expenses.

At the end of each month after you have paid all your bills for the business you can take out a personal draw and pay yourself. You do not take taxes from this. Simply write yourself a check and enter it in your checkbook as owners draw. That is the profit on your business. In the beginning of your business you may not have any profit or you may choose to keep it in the business to buy more products or use for advertising or other business expenses. The owner’s draw is not an expense but rather just a way to take out your owner’s equity of the business.

A good soft ware program will help you track all of your finances. You can use Microsoft Money, Quicken or QuickBooks. There are also other good ones out there. The main thing is to enter in your income and expenses and print a monthly report. At the end of the year print a yearly report too. This program will give you most of the numbers you need for taxes.

You may have other expenses for your business that were either paid out of your home account (not a good idea) or on a credit card or that you paid cash for. (PLEASE DO NOT PAY CASH for business expenses. IRS wants a paper trail.) Enter those in your software program too. IRS prefers to see a clear separation of business money and home money.

Remember things like travel expenses, your Internet Service Provider if you have an online business, long distance, ink for your printer, a second phone line to run your online business, postage, printing, etc.

Another big deduction is the miles you travel in your car for your business. Keep a log in your car listing the miles on your car on January 1 and on December 31 of each year. List each day you drive where you went for business and how many miles it was. The yearly deduction for miles varies from 32-37 cents a mile so this deduction adds up. I learn to plan some business activities, purchases or contacts whenever I am out driving. (you can also deduct volunteer miles (church, scouts, PTA, etc at 15 cents a mile on your personal taxes - not business).

Remember to keep track of all the products you donate for advertising, prizes for contests, samples, etc. You want to deduct those items at your cost. Also deduct any bad debt, bounced checks, returns and bank fees. And printing, postage, advertising, internet connection, web page hosting, office supplies, etc.

If you carry inventory of products then at the end of the year you need to take an inventory count of what you have on hand. If this is your first year in business then your opening inventory would be 0. If you had inventory at the end of last year, then that becomes your beginning inventory this year. You count inventory by your COST. If you carry inventory you can deduct the space of the room where you keep them (as a home office deduction-even if the room is used for other things).

For your business you will fill out a Schedule C on your federal taxes. On that form you will enter

  1. Your gross sales (income) for the whole year minus
  2. Your cost of good sold (inventory bought) PLUS
  3. Your inventory at year end minus
  4. All your expenses

Your mileage expenses will be figured on another form and then entered on your schedule C as a dollar amount.

If you have profit at the end of this form you will enter that number on the front of your 1040 Tax form (which will increase your family income). You will also have to figure the self-employment tax on that profit. If you have a loss on the Schedule C then that negative number is entered on your 1040 Federal form (which reduces your family income). Then as you complete your 1040 Tax form you figure your taxes due for all your family income. This way Uncle Sam gets taxes on your business income.

I personally like to use software like Tax-Cut or Turbo Tax Home Business to figure all this out. It makes it easy and asks you all the right questions for your tax forms. You do still have to have the income and expenses numbers for your business and the mileage numbers.

If you owe more than $500 in taxes after all this, you may be required to do quarterly tax payments the following year for your business. Be aware to watch for that. You can do voluntary quarterly payments if you are making profit too. Figure 15-28% on federal depending on your tax bracket.

If you live in a state with a sales tax (I do not) then you will probably have another form to complete yearly or quarterly for all the sales you make and sales tax your collect to your customers in your home state.

Remember IRS wants you to make a profit in 3 out of 5 years. If you do not make a profit this often then they may not let you take the business deductions - counting your business as a hobby instead of a business. Make sure you make your business look like a business. Get business cards, business license, advertising materials, EIN etc.

PS.  I am not a tax account or CPA. I am simply a business owner. So please make all tax and legal decisions with the help of a professional. You may want to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to check things over when you are done. And that would be a write-off too.




This article was written and copyrighted by Kay Green
 
 
 
 
 

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