Top 15 IRS Resources for Small Businesses

Sat, Mar 20, 2010 by

IRS Tax Return

Only 26 days left until the IRS income tax return deadline! This is my second post in this year’s tax season series.

The IRS website has a lot of useful information for small business owners, but they don’t make it easy to find. Here’s a list of the top 15 IRS resources for small businesses, all in one place.

  • Tax Guide for Small Business – General information about the federal tax laws that apply to small business owners who are sole proprietors and to statutory employees. Contains information on business income, expenses, and tax credits that may help you file your income tax return.
  • Starting a Business and Keeping Records – Basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business, including information on keeping records and illustrates a record-keeping system.
  • Business Expenses – General rules for deducting business expenses. Common business expenses, and what is and is not deductible.
  • Business Use of Your Home – Information on figuring and claiming the deduction for business use of your home, including unattached structures such as garages, studios, and barns.
  • Accounting Periods and Methods – Information on figuring a tax year (accounting period) for your small business. The calendar year is the most common tax year, but other tax years, such as a fiscal year and a short tax year, are allowed by the IRS. Each small business must also use a consistent accounting method, which is a set of rules for determining when to report income and expenses. The most commonly used accounting methods are: the cash method, and the accrual method.
  • Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax – Information on both the Withholding method and the Estimated Tax method of paying income taxes to the IRS. If you did not pay enough tax during the year, either through withholding or by making estimated tax payments, you may have to pay a penalty.
  • Tax Issues for Limited Liability Companies – Federal income, employment, and excise tax information for limited liability companies. It does not address state law governing the formation, operation, or termination of limited liability companies, or any state tax issues.
  • Tax Calendars – Three 12 month IRS tax calendars (General, Employer’s, and Excise) divided into quarters, and giving specific due dates for filing tax forms, paying taxes, and taking other actions required by federal tax law.
  • How to Depreciate Property – Explains how to recover the cost of business or income-producing property through deductions for depreciation. Explains how you can elect to take a section 179 deduction, instead of depreciation deductions, and the additional rules for listed property.
  • Basis of Assets – Discussion on cost basis, adjusted basis, and basis other than cost. Basis is the amount of your investment in property for tax purposes. The basis of property you buy is usually its cost. Use the basis of property to figure depreciation, amortization, depletion, and casualty losses. Also use it to figure gain or loss on the sale or other disposition of property.
  • 2010 IRS Tax Calendar — The 2010 IRS Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and the Self-Employed. Each month highlights a different tax topic. Tax reminders and instructions are shown by date, and you can add your own notes, such as state tax dates or business appointments. In addition to the monthly topics, look to the last few pages for Tips for Business Success, a list of Forms and Publications, and a tear-out sheet of quick reference items. You can also order a free copy of the 2010 tax calendar from the IRS website.
  • Partnerships – Supplemental federal income tax information for partnerships and partners. It supplements the information provided in the instructions for Form 1065, U. S. Return of Partnership Income, and the Partner’s Instructions for Schedule K-1. Generally, a partnership does not pay tax on its income but “passes through” any profits or losses to its partners.
  • Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses – You may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary business related expenses you have for travel, entertainment, gifts, or transportation. Explains what expenses are deductible, how to report them on your return, what records you need to prove your expenses, and how to treat any expense reimbursements you may receive.
  • Independent Contractor or Employee — For federal tax purposes, this is an important distinction. Worker classification affects how you pay your federal income tax, social security and Medicare taxes, and how you file your tax return.

The bonus resource below identifies IRS sponsored services, most of which are free, that can guide you through both your individual and small business income tax responsibilities.

  • IRS Guide to Free Tax Services – Identifies the many IRS tax materials and services available to you and how, when and where you can get them. Most materials and programs are free and available year-round.

Hope you found these resources to be useful. What other IRS resources have helped you?