5 Things You Should Do Before You Have Your Taxes Prepared

Last year was a prosperous year for some, while a struggle for others, but one situation remains certain: it is time to prepare for tax season.

Getting your small business taxes prepared can be a chore. There is much to do and organize, and if you are not familiar with the stacks of tax codes and small business tax laws, you would do well to have a professional accountant complete your business tax returns.

What do you need to do before you hand over the tax reigns? Here are 5 good tips to get prepared for your accountant:

  1. Gather and Organize Receipts

    You did keep all your original expense receipts, right? Although the IRS is not likely to request a formal audit, they do know that small business owners try to deduct as much as possible from their small business taxes. This means you must be able to show your expense trail.

    All receipts should be original, not copies. One way to keep them organized and easy to file is by taping them to an 8-1/2″ by 11″ paper. Organize receipts according to the expense category. Don’t mix supply receipts with fuel receipts.

    Total up each category. Your accountant can double check, but he shouldn’t have to add up hundreds of small numbers for a total supply expense line.

  2. Check Your Inventory for Write-offs

    If your accounting method allows it, you could write-off inventory that has been damaged or even become obsolete. Also check if the market value has dropped. These can add up to extra deductions on your small business taxes.

  3. Depreciate All Equipment

    You can add up further small business tax deductions by depreciating all your equipment. Be sure you take an inventory of every printer, computer, and even desks, chairs, and lighting fixtures that can be used as depreciating equipment.

    If you purchased equipment in 2009, you can benefit from both the tax code and the stimulus bill passed this last year. You may deduct the full value of new equipment up to a total of $250,000. “New” also includes equipment that was first placed in service in 2009.

  4. Tally Up the Miles

    If you used your automobile in 2009 for business purposes, tally up the miles. Each trip you make should be logged and the miles recorded. Provide your accountant with the total mileage so you can receive the full small business tax deduction allowed by the IRS.

  5. Consider a Tax Specialist Instead of a CPA

    If you are handing off your small business tax material for preparation, a CPA will certainly get the job done, but will also charge you CPA rates. A professional tax specialist who is trained in preparing small business taxes can save you a lot of money and get the job done equally as well.

Remember to get your 2010 income and expense recording system in order as well. The earlier you begin preparing, the lower the stress you will feel when April arrives. Happy tax season!