While our neighbors in hurricane ravaged Florida, Houston and beyond are focused on getting their lives back on track, many of us may be addressing a storm of a different nature… the upcoming tax filing deadline! Tax returns for those who had filed an extension are due by mid-October. Hopefully your business and personal information is organized and the ball is in your tax preparer’s court!
Creating easy-to-follow processes that keep all your key company, financial, and tax-related information organized for both your business and yourself will provide year-long benefits – not only during tax season. As the 2016 tax season is winding down, this is the ideal time to assess what is working/not working with your current system for managing your tax related documents.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having effective systems in place especially for small businesses. As I feel strongly about this issue, I collaborated with Sallie Mullins Thompson, a CPA financial planner and tax strategist to draft guidelines to incorporate in your process. Here is a sampling of what we suggest. For more in depth information, please read our 2-part article on LinkedIn.
- Setup separate credit card and bank accounts for your business so that the interest and fees can be fully deducted. Be sure to reconcile all statements monthly and promptly file them in the appropriate digital or paper file folder.
- You can maintain either paper or digital files based on your preferences, type of business and size of your company. In either case, be sure to set up the appropriate file folders at the beginning of the year so that the documents can be accessed in seconds. Your files should be archived at the end of each in an accessible location.
- Deductions for personal property, like your car, computer or cell phone, which you may use for business are limited to the percentage of time used for business. Be sure to have a process that keeps track of this usage. Your accounting software or even excel can be used to record this information
Here’s a sampling of the type of documents that you may receive. As with all other financial information, a filing system should be established.
- Gross receipts and sales with discounts allowances and returns deducted
- For the self-employed or a single member LLC: 1099-MISC
- If there is income that should be reported on your 1040 from partnerships, S Corps, and trusts: K-1s
Here are some of the expenses that may have to be tracked during the year regardless of whether they can be deducted.
- W-2/3 forms for yourself and employees as appropriate
- All state and federal (941-940) payroll filings as well as tax deposits
- All health and long term care insurance premiums for yourself, partners, employees and family
- All costs associated with your home office. For example: internet; insurance, maintenance, utilities, etc.
- All expenses related to your car if used for business. These can include: when it was first used for business; monthly lease payments; purchase price, maintenance costs, etc.
After you have taken a day or two to regroup after your taxes have been filed, I urge you to make evaluating your current procedures for managing all the relevant information a top priority for the fourth quarter. If you need a customized tip or two, please reach out to this NYC Professional Office Organizer.