The end of the year tax return must be the most stressful part of running your own business. It is even worse if you have earnings abroad and have to fill in tax returns from those countries as well.
How can you make life easier?
- Start an accounts system.
This can be in a hardback ruled ledger that you can buy from any stationery store.
- Keep receipts for everything.
Enter these into your accounts once a week, or once a month
- Enter any payments made to you in your accounts system as soon as you get them.
- Look at the different software accounts packages.
You will learn to use whatever package you buy, but try to avoid the over complex ones in the first instance. If you are comfortable with using spreadsheets and cell formulae you could keep your accounts in a spreadsheet program.
- Open the tax return envelope as soon as it comes.
Putting it off does not help. Check all the sheets you need are there. Download or send off for any missing sheets.
- Aim to have your tax return filled in well ahead of the final deadline.
That way the IRS or other government revenue department will check your figures and work out how much you owe them. This causes much less stress than having to do it yourself and worrying whether you have the calculation right.
- As an alternative to steps 3-6, you can employ an accountant.
You can pay the accountant to fill in your tax return and to do your accounts for you. The amount you will pay will depend on the amount of work involved. If you just take in a box of receipts and deposit slips you can only expect to pay a higher fee than the person who presents the accountant with neatly filed receipts and accounts.
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