Tax Prep Checklist for the Small Business Owner

A small business owner gathers tax documents on a laptop

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020).

Compiling all the necessary documents and IRS forms, and adhering to their various deadlines, can be a daunting task that takes time away from running your business. To help relieve some of the stress around filing appropriately, we’ve put together a checklist for you to follow this tax season. Here’s what you’ll need to gather before you sit down to file.

Business income

The first category of documents pertains to your business income. You’ll want to gather any receipts, sales record totals, and bank statements:

  1. Gross receipts from sales
  2. Sales records
  3. Receivables
  4. Interest from business bank accounts
  5. Any other types of income

Inventory and materials

The second category of things to prepare, if necessary, relates to your inventory, or cost of goods sold (COGS). You’ll want to show the history of activity over the course of the year and how your inventory and materials fit into that equation:

  1. Current Inventory
  2. Change in inventory total amount
  3. Inventory purchases
  4. Items removed from inventory for personal use
  5. Materials
  6. Supplies

Business expenses

Depending on your company, expenses can fall into many different types.

  1. Marketing Expenses
    • Email Marketing
    • Social Media Advertising
    • Traditional Advertising
    • Business Cards
  2. Communication Expenses
    • Landline
    • Mobile phones used for work
    • Fax
    • Internet
    • Computers and Accessories
  3. Travel Expenses
    • Hotels
    • Airfare
    • Mileage Logs
    • Meals
    • Rideshares (Uber, Luft, Taxi)
    • Internet
  4. Personnel Expenses
    • Contractors
    • Consultants
    • Accountants
    • Employee Wages
  5. Operational Expenses
    • Office supplies
    • Office space rental
    • Lease expense on vehicles used for work
  6. Legal Expenses
    • Casualty loss insurance
    • Tax errors and omissions
    • Legal Counsel
  7. Financial Expenses
    • Cost of assets and the first day of business use
    • Activity on personal use of assets
    • Sales price and sale date of any assets sold
    • Mortgage interest on a building owned by the business
    • Business loan interest
    • Investment expense and interest
  8. Home Office Expenses
    • Square footage of home office space
    • Total square footage of the home
    • Hours of use (in-home daycare)
    • Mortgage interest or rent
    • Homeowner’s or renters insurance
    • Utilities
    • Cost of home and separate improvements, and day of first business use

Ready to file? Check out TaxSlayer’s Self-Employed tax filing option. It’s specially designed with small business owners like you in mind.

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