6 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make on Their Taxes

Filing your small business’s tax return may be a dreaded task you’re tempted to put off until April 14, but we advise that you don’t. That’s because mistakes are made when you’re in a rush, resulting in interest charges, penalties or unwanted attention from the IRS. Mistakes can be avoided by being prepared and planning ahead. Here are the 6 most common tax mistakes business owners make:

Mistake #1: Filing late

It’s important to file your taxes on time to avoid a 5 percent per month penalty by the IRS (that increases until the return is filed), a 6 percent interest penalty and a late payment penalty. You can request a filing extension, but you will still need to pay a portion by the original due date. It’s better to avoid the headache, be organized and file on time.

Mistake #2: Not paying estimated taxes during the year

If you are a sole proprietor, S corporation, are self-employed or a partner and you expect to owe $1,000 or more when you file a return, you are required to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. The same is true if you are a corporation expecting to owe $500 or more in taxes.

Mistake #3: Not having organized, visible financials

Using Excel to track your income, expenses and receipts might suffice when you are first starting out, but once you get bigger you will need a program that is more robust. Your financials need to be up-to-date, accurate and all in one place so you can make good tax and cash decisions.

Mistake #4: Intermingling personal and business expenses

It’s important to keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones. You can do this by having a separate bank account and credit card for your business, and always use your business credit card for business expenses. Even if you purchase both personal and business items at an office supply store, use different credit cards to pay for them so you can keep those expenses separate.

Mistake #5: Not tracking expenses

Throughout the year you need to save receipts, log the business miles you put on your car and track your expense categories. Did you know that only 50 percent of certain business meals are deductible? Platforms like QuickBooks and Freshbooks can help you keep track of expenses, and apps like MileIQ can track your business mileage.

Mistake #6: Not getting professional help

It may be tempting to save money and do everything yourself, but unless you know what you are doing, it could cost you time, money and headaches in the end. Consider consulting with a bookkeeper or accountant throughout the year to make sure you have good processes in place come tax season.

Donohoo Accounting Services has more than 20 years of experience helping clients with their tax and financial issues. Advising small businesses on their taxes is what we do best. If you have any questions about preparing your taxes or would like to know more about the services we provide, please call us at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation.

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Year-End Tax Moves To Make Now

Most people don’t think about taxes when it’s not tax season, but you absolutely should. 2020 has been unusual in every way, and the upcoming tax season will likely follow suit because there are tax moves you can make before the end of this year that will benefit you once you file. Here are a few that we suggest:

Track receipts

If you are self-employed and working from home, you can deduct your office space (it has to be used just for work) and any expenses you incur. If your income was lower than usual but your medical expenses were higher, you might qualify for deduction. Best practice for 2020? Save your receipts.

Don’t forget about other taxable income

Many people were furloughed or lost their jobs this year because of the stay-at-home order. If you picked up a side hustle to make ends meet, your earnings are considered taxable income, even if you don’t have official paperwork that details the money. Unemployment benefits are taxable, too. If you received any of those, you’ll have to fill out a 1099-G form and enter those amounts on your tax return. If withholdings weren’t taken out of those payments, you’ll have to make up for it when calculating your 2020 estimated tax payments.

Max out for retirement

If your income went up this year, it’s the perfect opportunity to reduce your tax liability by increasing your contribution to your retirement account.

Conversely, if your income went down and you had to borrow from your retirement account, you won’t pay penalties but you will have to account for that on your taxes for the next three years.

Make the most of your savings

If the stay-at-home order resulted in prepaid vacation refunds, fewer travel expenses or less spending in general, you may find yourself with a slightly larger wallet. If that’s the case, make the most of that money by investing it now in a long-term savings account, such as a 529 or Roth IRA.

Check your withholdings

If your income has changed, check your paycheck to make sure you are withholding enough for federal taxes to avoid penalties and interest to the IRS. The IRS has a tool to help you do this, but you will have to manually calculate it for your state withholdings.

Revisit your stimulus eligibility

If your income decreased in 2020, you might qualify for the stimulus payment made available from the CARES act, even if you didn’t qualify in 2019 or 2018. There will likely be extra documentation to fill out with the IRS Form 1040. The credit will automatically be applied if you are eligible.

We understand that tax filing can be overwhelming in the most normal of situations, so it will be especially challenging when filing for this year. We also know you have a life to lead and business to run, so let us handle your accounting issues and headaches. If you have any questions about what you should be doing now for the upcoming tax season, please reach out to Donohoo Accounting Services today at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation.

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Tips To Get The Most Tax Deductions For Your Business

What could be difficult about filing your business’s 2019 income tax return? Plenty. Not to worry though, Donohoo Accounting Services is here to help! Every business has unique needs and you’ll need an experienced professional to help find all your deductions, but here are some tips about the three kinds of records your accountant will definitely need.

Income/Earnings Records

Because most businesses use electronic means to capture every transaction of the sale of goods or services, income records should be easy – though perhaps voluminous – to collect. Be sure to review your business’s income records, however, to look for any obvious errors such as missing information. Complete income records should include:

  • The gross amount of each individual sale,
  • Any returns or discounts credited against your business’s income,
  • Interest earned from business bank accounts (from your year-end bank statement or Form 1099-INT) and,
  • Any other income from non-sales sources.

Documentation of Expenses

Perhaps the most documentation required for your business tax filing falls into the category of expenses. You must account for more than a dozen different kinds of expenses on your tax form. These include all employee wages, rent or lease payments (including vehicle leases), insurance, travel, office supplies, and advertising and communications (such as telephone, fax and Internet).

Additionally, within these expense categories, there are sub-categories. Be sure to consult with a tax professional for a complete list of expense categories to be sure you don’t overlook any potential deductions.

Inventory Details

If your business maintains a physical inventory of goods, you will need to have documentation of your inventory totals at the beginning and end of the year along with its dollar value. As well, be sure you also have records of any inventory purchased over the course of the year. Remember to account for any inventory items that were used for business or personal needs, and the value of any supplies or materials on-hand that were purchased to operate the business.

For businesses that track inventory electronically, these records should be easy to access. But again, remember to check – and correct – any errors or irregularities between your inventory records and your actual physical inventory.

Additionally, some forms of taxable business income now have a lower rate, thanks to a new deduction for qualified business income (QBI) worth up to 20 percent. Be sure to check out the details in our blog.

The professionals at Donohoo Accounting Services have been helping small businesses file annual tax returns for more than 20 years. For a free consultation, call Donohoo Accounting today at 513-528-3982. Check us out on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for our latest updates and tips!

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5 Tips to Lower Your Tax Bill

As tax season approaches, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most on your return. If you think you’re paying too much on your taxes it may be because you may not be taking advantage of the available tax credits and deductions. Because your taxes are based on your taxable income rather than your gross income, there’s plenty of ways to use standard deductions or “write-offs” to pay less taxes. These 5 tips can help you reduce your bill and get the most on your refund this tax season.

Claim the Right Credits

Claiming tax credits is one of the best ways to help lower your tax bill and there’s a number of options available to claim. The IRS offers a number of credits for individuals and families ranging from credits for dependents, earned income and savings, housing, as well as healthcare and education. Finding the right credits and taking advantage of them helps you reduce what you pay and maximize your return.

Check Your Deductions

Unlike a tax credit which is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill, a tax deduction reduces the amount of tax you are liable for, lowering your taxable income. The money you spent contributing to healthcare savings accounts or an individual retirement account can be deducted from your taxable income. There are also specialized deductions, including deductions for self-employed individuals and teachers for out of pocket expenses on supplies.

Contribute to Your Retirement Fund

One of the easiest ways to reduce your tax bill is with contributions to your individual retirement account or IRA. Individuals can contribute up to $6,000 to their retirement account per year. Any money you add is considered a pre-tax contribution, which can be deducted from your taxable income, helping to lower your tax bill. Additionally, most IRAs are tax-deferred, which means you won’t have to worry about paying taxes on them until you’re ready to withdraw the funds.

Donate to Charity

Volunteering and giving to charities are more than just a way to give back to your community. In addition to monetary donations, clothing, toys, books and other goods are considered charitable deductions that can go towards reducing your tax bill. And while your time spent volunteering isn’t eligible for a deduction, certain expenses are including purchasing supplies and travel costs.

Invest in a 529 Plan

If you have children, investing in their education not only benefits them, but your contributions can help lower your tax bill. Current 529 college savings plans are one of the easiest ways to save money for college and in many states, you can deduct your contributions off your taxable income. While these deductions aren’t allowed on federal income returns, they can be applied to your state income taxes.

The best way to lower your tax bill this season is with the help from knowledgeable professionals. For the last 20 years, Donohoo Accounting Service has been helping businesses and individuals in the greater Cincinnati area find the most deductions and maximize their tax returns. Contact us today or call us at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for our latest updates!

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