Tax Tips for Small Business Owners
We’re already a couple weeks into March and embarrassingly, I’m one of those stressed-out small business owners who still hasn’t started my taxes. Sheesh! Every year I aim to do my taxes in January, but hundreds of other things get in the way, and I end up rushed, confused and afraid that I’m making costly mistakes. Even though I’m already behind for this year, I’m resolved to do better at tax planning for the coming year, so I reached out to two trusted New Orleans tax professionals to get their tax tips for small business owners like myself. CPA Chris Kaupp from Cremaldi & Kaupp, LLC, and Accountant Karyn Kinsbery-Grigsby of Kinsbery-Grigsby LLC shared their best tax tips for making tax time easier and less stressful.
Tax Tips – Find a Tax Professional You Trust
The first step in getting through tax season in one piece is finding the right accountant. Chris Kaupp advises small business owners to find a tax professional who understands your specific needs and can provide accurate tax advice for your small business. Having the proper tax structure in place is crucial, so look for a CPA or tax attorney who can set you up with a tax structure that accomplishes your goals, and can offer tax tips geared to your industry.
“CPAs can specialize in many different areas and may not necessarily have the skill set that fits your particular needs. Make sure you find a CPA who regularly works with small businesses.” -Chris Kaupp
It’s also important that you trust your CPA and enjoy meeting with him or her. Kinsbery-Grigsby says that a good rapport is essential. “I like to make my clients feel a sense of partnership when it comes to their finances and taxes,” she says. It’s always a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues, but you can also find trustworthy accountants through local business networks such as the Society of Louisiana CPAs or the Chamber of Commerce.
Tax Tips – Keep the Books Current
Both Kaupp and Kinsbery-Grigsby emphasize the importance of staying on top of your bookkeeping on a regular basis, and advise balancing the books at least every quarter but ideally each month.
“I see a lot of business owners scramble to get the books done for tax time and often inadvertent errors are made.” says Kinsgbery-Grigsby.
While current bookkeeping can serve as a tool to make good financial decisions, waiting until the last minute to enter expenses can cause bigger problems. Kaupp says, “The less organization and detail that is maintained by a small business, the higher the likelihood that deductible expenses will be missed. If a small business owner waits til the end of the year to gather necessary information to prepare tax returns, it is more than likely that items will be forgotten about over the course of the year.”
If you want to start keeping better books but don’t have the resources to hire a pro, there are lots of groups in New Orleans that offer tax tips for small business. Organizations such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Stay Local offer regular inexpensive training on Quickbooks and general financial planning.
With these tax tips in mind, I’m geared up to finally get ahead of my taxes this year. I’ll be back with a report next
April January. In the meantime, let us know if you have other great tax tips for small business. Now I’m off to do my monthly book keeping. Wish me luck….