Inevitably, it's that time of the year again when you need to prepare to meet with your CPA to discuss taxes. You need to take stock of your investments, any financial transactions undertaken, and, most importantly, the paperwork to support these.
Typically, the biggest challenge revolves around locating and compiling the relevant paperwork when it is needed. To make the most out of your meeting, it makes sense to locate these documents and papers before you head out to the CPA.
Following is a short list of some common documents you should have before rushing off to your CPA.
-Investment Account Statements
Invoices, Bank Statements and Investment Accounts
As a small business, you need to carefully track your receipts and invoices. Any record of income, such as bank statements and investments need to be provided. The form 1099-INT which reflects your savings and interest is also required by your CPA.
For this reason, it is important to perform timely reconciliations of your bank statements and to keep your income receipts, investment account documents, and brokerage account papers easily accessible.
If your business is classified as a partnership or corporation, you are also required to report any income or loss in the form of a Schedule K-1. This form carries details of individual shares of income within a partnership or corporation.
- Miscellaneous office related expenses
- Payroll documents
- Mortgage interest statements
- Interest expenses
Your expenses could range from direct office expenses, such as supplies, to more significant expenses, such as travel.
If you use your car for business purposes, you can claim it as a deduction or at least miles driven for business purposes as a deduction. Make sure you also track receipts for any tolls incurred while driving for business purposes.
If your company hires employees, then you need to provide documentation of their salary or wages. There is also the Form W-2, W-3, and other state payroll returns such as Form 940 that you will need to keep updated.
In fact, the Social Security website has the capability of online W-2s, where you can create and print up to 20 W-2 forms for your employees. Check this URL: http://www.ssa.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm to access the service.
Do you have people assigned to specific tasks in your company or hired for a specific expertise or duration? If so, then you need to report their earnings from you via a separate form such as a 1099-MISC which contains details of payments made to agents contracted by you.
You can also claim tax deductions if you are providing retirement plans to your employees. Keep this documentation on hand.
Many small businesses or enterprises operate out of the owner's home. If you are using your home for business purposes, you can include documents to support your mortgage interest, insurance, and other maintenance-related expense documents for the purpose of deductions. If you are self-employed, you may need to use Form 8829 for claiming this deduction.
If your office premises are rented, you could claim deductions on the rental taxes related to real estate and other utilities.
Some small business owners have taken loans for business activities. Any money borrowed for business purposes can be deductible, if you have valid documentation supporting its usage.
Insurance policies taken for the purpose of business coverage can be reported as a tax advantage, so be certain to keep track of these insurance papers.
Use this checklist to prepare for your next tax meeting with your CPA.