As we near the time most of us dread, when taxes are due, there is a major spin on things this year. The Covid-19 virus has put the world completely on its head, and even the IRS isn’t immune. What does coronavirus mean for taxes, and how can you make sure you keep as much of your money in your pocket as possible? Make sure you take full advantage of all the coronavirus relief options with these 2020 tax tips.
These 2020 Tax Tips Can Help You File Faster and Pay Less In These Uncertain Times
Truly, the coronavirus has affected everything. Currently, the economy is in a constant spiral. There are no signs of letting up any time soon. Before any other 2020 business tax tips, you need to know how Covid-19 affects your tax return this year at the federal level.
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Coronavirus Business Tax Impact
First, both individuals and corporations have an extra 90-days to file and pay their taxes this year. Meaning, instead of having to turn in your tax return and pay by April 15, you have until July 15 to do both without interest or penalties. As of right now, interest and penalties will start to accrue on July 16.
As a result,individuals can defer up to $1 million, including self-employment tax. However, corporations can defer federal income tax payments of up to $10 million. Yet, the government is reminding people and businesses to file as soon as possible in case they are getting a refund. Having the cash-on-hand is more necessary now than ever than ever before.
Remember, this is for federal income taxes. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have state income tax that currently must still be paid by their original deadline. This could change however, so watch for updates.
Now that you know this, here are our top 2020 Business Tax Tips.
2020 Business Tax Tips: Credit Card Rewards
It may be too late for 2019 taxes, but be sure you pay attention to credit card rewards if you use business credit cards. You could owe taxes on those. For this year, look at the rewards you have earned and determine if you need to include them on your tax return. Making sure your taxes are accurate is the best way to avoid a lot of unnecessary time in an audit later on.
2020 Business Tax Tips: Use Your Software Wisely
Few businesses keep their books with paper and pencil these days. Most use some form of accounting software. Many of these will print out tax forms automatically using the data already in the accounting system. Then, all you have to do is review the forms and supply any supporting documentation.
Be sure you know what your system is capable of and use it. Entering accurate information throughout the year and keeping it up to date will go a long way toward ensuring your tax time goes smoothly.
Here are some great options to consider for next year if you find your software is not what you need.
Zoho is a great option if automation is your jam. They offer a 14-day free trial. The software compiles IRS compliant audit reports making tax filing much easier. Package prices range from $9 to $29 per month.
Wave has many advantages. The smart dashboard is one of the best. It organizes your income, expenses, payments, and invoices in a way that makes preparing a tax return as quick and painless as possible. In addition, accounting, invoicing, and receipt services are free! Fees for payroll and payment services vary.
Arguably, Intuit Quickbooks is the most widely used small business accounting software on the market. The system is comprehensive and affordable for many, making it a great choice. There is a 30-day free trial and packages range from $12 to $75 per month. Payroll add on options are available.
2020 Business Tax Tips: File Online
There are many ways to file your tax return. Still, the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to do so is online. As mentioned, this goes much faster and is a much smoother process if you have the best bookkeeping software for your business.
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2020 Tax Tips: Scan Backup Documentation
Start now scanning backup documentation for next year. Once you are caught up, a few minutes a day can save hours next year. While you are at it, depending on the number of transactions your business does, you could go ahead and scan backup documents for 2019 since you have extra time. It may come in handy in the case of an audit. At the very least, take the extra time to organize all the receipts in your shoebox.
2020 Business Tax Tips: Hire a Professional
When it comes to 2020 business tax tips, this is the one I would like to stress the most. If you can at all afford it, hire a professional to do your taxes. This is the best way to ensure you keep the most money in your pocket, which is hugely important amidst this coronavirus epidemic.
2020 Business Tax Tips: Going Forward
Looking forward to next year, what can you do to ensure your tax preparation goes as smoothly as possible? There are actually a number of things. They will not help you when it comes to taxes, but they will help you build fundability and business credit as well.
Get an EIN
Use an EIN to file your income taxes if you do not already. This is important for a number of reasons, including increasing fundability and helping build business credit. It’s easy and free to get one on the IRS website.
Consider Your Organization
If you are operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, consider incorporating. Tax wise you can see how functioning as a corporation is going to allow businesses to defer up to $10 million in taxes for 90-days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are a number of other benefits as well, including some liability protection. Now more than ever you do not want to be held personally liable for business debts.
Business Bank Account
You have to open a separate, dedicated business bank account. There are a few reasons for this. First, it will help you keep track of business finances. It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. Furthermore, it aids in separating your business from yourself for fundability and business credit building.
Beyond taxes, there are several types of funding you cannot get without a business bank account. Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance. In addition, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, you cannot take credit cards payments. Studies show consumers usually spend more when paying by credit card is an option.
What Else Affects Fundability That Is Not Related to Taxes?
While not technically under the category of 2020 business tax tips, it still bears mentioning. Without fundability your business cannot access the funding it needs to run. How the IRS views your business can have an effect on fundability as well. Your business has to be an entity separate from you as the owner in the eyes of the IRS and lenders. Organizing as a corporation and getting an EIN are major for this. What else helps?
The first step in setting up a foundation of fundability is to ensure your business has its own phone number, fax number, and address. You do not have to get a separate phone line, or even a separate location. In fact, you can still run your business from your home or on your computer. You do not even have to have a fax machine. Be certain to use this separate business contact information on your business tax return.
Business Credit Reports
The main distributors of business credit reports are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and FICO SBSS. Honestly, you have no way of knowing which one a lender will choose. Consequently, you need to make sure all of these reports are up to date and accurate. This is just as important in hard economic times as any other time.
If you have business credit, keep an eye on it right now. Times are tough, and monitoring your business credit is essential to staying on top of any problems that may pop up so you can adjust and correct.
Other Business Data Agencies
In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly. Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. These two agencies gather data from different sources, including public records. This means they could even have access to information relating to automobile accidents and liens. While you may not be able to access or change the data these agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive. Enough positive information can help distract attention from negative information.
Dun & Bradstreet is the largest and most commonly used business credit reporting agency. Every credit file in their database has a D-U-N-S number. To get a D-U-N-S number, you have to apply for one through the D&B website. You have to have this number to have a file with D&B, and you have to have a file with D&B to build business credit.
On the surface, it seems obvious that all of your business information should be the same across the board. However, when you start changing things up, like adding a business phone number and address or incorporating, you may find that some things slip through the cracks.
This is a problem because of those fraud concerns lenders have. When business information doesn’t match up, it sets off alarms. Maybe your business licenses have your personal address but now you have a business address. You have to change it. Perhaps some of your credit accounts have a slightly different name or a different phone number listed than what is on your loan application. Do your insurances all have the same information?
There are several other agencies that hold information related to your personal finances that you need to know about. For example, many business owners do not realize that their ChexSystems report can affect fundability. Basically, this details any bad check activity. It makes a difference when it comes to your bank score. In fact, if you have too many bad checks, you will not be able to open a bank account. That will seriously affect fundability.
Keep in mind, everything can come back to bite you. Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Do you have a bankruptcy or short sell on your record? How about liens or UCC filings? All of this can and will affect the fundability of your business.
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Personal Credit History
Your personal credit score from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion all matter. You have to have your personal credit in order because it will definitely affect the fundability of your business. If it isn’t great right now, get to work on it. Don’t forget, the number one way to get a strong personal credit score or improve a weak one is to make payments on time, consistently.
Also, make sure you monitor your personal credit regularly to ensure mistakes are corrected and that there are no fraudulent accounts being reported.
2020 Business Tax Tips: Get Past This Year and Look Forward to the Next
For now, the best of the 2020 business tax tips is to take advantage of the extra time you have to dig through and find every advantage you can. First, if you can at all afford a professional, it’s worth it. They know what they are looking for and are the best at reducing what you pay in and increasing what you get back.
Next, If that is just simply not possible, take advantage of everything your software has to offer. Make sure you are fully aware of all that it can do, and that all the information entered is accurate and complete. This will help ensure your tax bill is reduced as much as possible, but also that in the case of an audit, you are prepared.
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