Small Business Tax Help: How to Avoid Bookkeeping Mistakes

Tax help will be necessary the first few times you file your small business returns. Unless you are an accountant, you will need to learn the ins and outs of business taxes which are subject to wholly different laws than private income tax returns. One of the key areas you may find difficulties with is simple bookkeeping. This challenge will not likely go away with experience since it is common to make unintentional errors no matter how experienced you are. Try these tips to avoid mistakes in your bookkeeping.

Take an Accounting Class

You may have gone to business school in which case you likely took accounting classes. However, you may also be one of the tens of thousands of small business owners who simply had an idea and started a company without business management education or experience. If this describes your situation, it is time for you to go back and learn the basics before moving forward. Take a business accounting class at a local community college. You may also contact the Small Business Administration to inquire about tax accounting seminars and resources. Many of these seminars will be provided free of charge in your local area.

Hire a Bookkeeper

You may have a "do-it-yourself" attitude with your business, but bookkeeping is a different story. It is always advisable to have two sets of eyes on such a critical area of your business. Further, a bookkeeper can take these details off your hands, freeing up your time to devote to other areas of your business. Today, there are a number of bookkeeping services that can assist your business on a part-time or contract basis. You do not need to have an in-house accountant to track your expenses. Consider hiring an administrative service with bookkeeping options.

Keep Hard Copies

You need to be able to compare your records to actual receipts and hard copies of expense reports. Without these items, you may not even know if a mistake occurred or how to correct that mistake going forward. In addition, if an audit does happen to come your way, you will need these hard copies to verify the information you provided on your return. You can manage receipts through computer programs to make the process easier. Again, a bookkeeping service may offer online storage of your receipts and files, protecting them from hazards in your office and assuring a back up is always maintained. 

Follow Your Return

Tracking your return is the only way to know if an error you made is stopping your return from processing. Today, you can file your small business return online. Then, the IRS provides you with a record number to simply check the status of your return as it moves through processing. If you notice any delay, you can investigate the situation further or even call the IRS to check in on your status. Once the return is successfully submitted, you will be about to track either your refund check or the payment you submitted, depending on whether you owe the IRS or the IRS owes you at the end of the year.