It’s true; tax day is near! Filing taxes isn’t fun; it’s true. However, filing them correctly can save you a big headache in the long run. If you’re a small company, you may be doing your taxes yourself. Larger companies typically leave tax filing to the professionals–just like I leave irrigation work to the professionals after digging up enough sod that a mole would be proud of my handiwork.
I grew up doing all my individual taxes since I had my first job at a video rental store when I was 15. Although it was a single-page form for each state and federal, I poured over every digit. The first thing I learned was to do my taxes with a pencil so that if I made mistakes, I wouldn’t need to start over. I’d then fill in all my pencil marks with a black pen once my dad had gone over them. Today there’s a lot of great products available to do taxes online, but it’s important to remember to “do it with a pencil.” In this case, I don’t mean literally. Be aware that just because you are using a product doesn’t immediately mean your accounting is perfect. You know your business better than software. so if something stands out to you as odd, look into it. Keep your “eraser” handy.
Keep in mind that taxes aren’t stagnant year to year–even if your income was exactly the same, your taxes would vary. If the task of doing your own taxes seems daunting, an accountant is your friend. Late to the game for an accountant? Consider filing an extension so that your taxes are done right, not haphazardly. April is an entirely too-stressful month for a lot of small business owners, and if it’s overwhelming for you, give yourself the peace of mind by having someone else take over.
Are you filing your taxes via mail? Don’t wait until the last minute to get to the post office. Avoid lunch hour rushes by going mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and know that Monday (tax day this year) is going to incredibly hectic. Thursday will be the best day to avoid circling the post office parking lot.
I’m not an accountant, so my take away isn’t “do your taxes like this…” but rather, be aware there are products that can help you, as well as free resources online. Use common sense, and don’t stress more than is necessary. If you need to find an extension, you may find yourself breathing a huge sigh of relief. Consider what your company does-be it plumbing, irrigation, or fire safety, it’s probably not accounting as full time profession–and it’s okay for someone else to take tax day off your plate.