Filing your taxes is an obligation that, as a business owner, you have to keep to be on the safe side of the law. Having said this, many business owners tend to make mistakes that lead to tax overpayments, penalties, or even audits from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even worse, deliberate or intentional mistakes can compromise your business and your life as well.
Getting your taxes under control can save you the trouble that results from the avoidable errors people make during the tax season. For a more in-depth insight, here are some common mistakes businesses need to be aware of vis-à-vis taxes.
Incorrectly reporting income
Over-reporting or under-reporting your income can have negative consequences on your business. Sadly, this is a common mistake that mostly happens when balancing invoices and business payments. For instance, you may receive payments from clients and fail to record them in that pay period, which may cause a tax overlap.
Although small errors are largely inevitable, it is advisable to keep records of your tax documents and every transaction you conduct. More importantly, keep your financial records updated at all times so that you have evidence in case there are discrepancies in the IRS records.
Not separating your expenses
More often, business owners fail to draw a line between business and pleasure expenditures. This usually leads to a failure to make correct deductions when filing taxes. For example, you can make deductions on fuel money spent while delivering a package to a customer. However, you cannot deduct the money used for activities that are not attached to your business.
To avoid this common mistake, always ensure that you demarcate between business and personal spending. You can do this by keeping a record of both types of expenditures. Failure to do so can attract unnecessary attention from the IRS.
Bending or breaking deduction rules
The concept of tax deductions is oftentimes confusing due to the technicalities involved. To minimize mistakes, the IRS has outlined how business owners should make deductions; specifically, it provides actual figures and limits to guide people when filing and submitting their taxes.
Further, deductions vary based on multiple factors, such as whether your business is a startup, the size, and the nature of the activity (say insurance costs and medical fees). Being up to date with deduction rules is crucial in ensuring you make your tax deductions accordingly.
Misclassifying employees and independent contractors
As a business owner with employees, you can be liable to penalties for failing to classify your employees. The IRS has issued clear tips to differentiate between permanent employees and contractors; for example, an individual becomes an employee if you dictate when, where, and how the person does a task while one becomes a contractor if they work under a different schedule, use their own tools, and are not eligible for defined benefits.
Your business should also give every employee a W-2 form while contractors who get paid more than 600 dollars should receive a Form 1099-Misc. If you run a business as a self-employed individual, you should also learn how your taxes apply to avoid penalties.
Filing your taxes late
Although this common mistake is quite avoidable, many business owners find themselves locked out of the tax season because they failed to do their taxes on time. Failing to file your taxes within the window period provided can earn you penalty fees, which could put your business on the spot. Having a payment arrangement can save you from being penalized. You can even make quarterly payments to make your work less stressful.
As part of business financial management, minimizing room for tax errors can see you save a lot of money in the end. As long as you emphasize accuracy and accountability, you can be sure to avoid these and other mistakes many businesses make.
At Incentax, we strive to help businesses maximize their tax credits for maximum returns. Please contact us for more on how we can help you maneuver.