Tax professionals can advise small business owners on the legal form to use for a business entity, provide a tax plan and keep them in compliance with all of the complexities of the tax code. But let’s face it: they can be very expensive.
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It would behoove entrepreneurs to learn as much as they can about tax law in order to minimize their tax bill. Beware however, a little knowledge is dangerous. Be sure to run everything by a tax pro before making major decisions to make sure the concepts rightly apply to the business venture.
That being said, here are some useful tools to guide the entrepreneur:
The IRS Video Portal. Learn about tax topics through video and audio presentations on the IRS Video Portal. The video portal contains archived video of live panel discussions and audio from national phone forums, as well as other webinars and video clips.
IRS Audits Video Series. "Your Guide to an IRS Audit” takes the viewer through the steps of an audit from notification to closing. The video series is composed of scenarios that demonstrate the stages of each type of audit: correspondence, office and field. The scenarios address issues that are common to audits of small businesses.
Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop. The IRS Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop is an interactive resource to help small business owners learn about their federal tax rights and responsibilities. The workshop contains nine stand-alone lessons that can be selected and viewed in any sequence. The workshop is available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any computer. It can also be ordered on CD.
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Tax Calendar for Small Business Taxpayers. The Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed – Publication 1518 – is available online or as a printable PDF file. This 12-month calendar is filled with information on general business taxes, IRS and Social Security Administration customer assistance, electronic filing and paying options, retirement plans, business publications and forms, and common tax filing dates.
Each page highlights different tax issues and tips that may be relevant to small-business owners, with room on each month to add notes, state tax dates or business appointments. You can also download the tax events into your calendar or subscribe to the tax calendar events. The calendar provides the small business owner with a ready resource for meeting their tax obligations.
Selecting a Business Structure. The legal and tax considerations of the structure of your new business are discussed at length on the IRS website. Go to Selecting a Business Structure
Tax Guide for Small Business. Publication 334 available on the IRS website provides answers to almost all tax questions a business owner will ask.
In general, many tax questions regarding income tax and payroll taxes can be answered at the IRS’ Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
Remember the address of the official IRS website is www.irs.gov, and don’t get confused by fraudulent sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. Also, know that the IRS will never contact you via email. All email scams should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonnie Lee is an Enrolled Agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all fifty states at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. She is the owner of Taxpertise in Sonoma, CA and the author of Entrepreneur Press book, “Taxpertise, The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Hidden Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know.” Follow Bonnie Lee on Twitter at BLTaxpertise and at Facebook.