When to File Small Business Taxes


Small business taxes must be filed much more frequently than the annual deadline of April 15 that most taxpayers are accustomed to. The Internal Revenue publishes small business tax calendars on its website (IRS.gov) and in print from the Government Printing Office. In addition to the annual tax filing, small business are required to pay estimated taxes, which are due April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. The best time to file small business taxes is always before taxes are due.

Sales Tax

Service-based businesses are exempt from sales tax, while products with the exception of food and drugs are subject to sales tax. Companies that sell products that must pay sales tax are required to register with the state’s tax office. Small businesses must document taxable and non-taxable sales on the company’s state sales and federal tax returns. Small business owners may be required to file sales taxes annually, quarterly or monthly. A schedule for filing taxes should be included in a company business plan.

Corporate Tax Filing

Small businesses that are incorporated must file by March 15 each year if they are operating under a calendar tax year, and for corporations operating under a fiscal year, taxes must be filed no longer than 10 weeks or two-and-a-half months after the end of the fiscal year. State and federal tax bureaus are specific when it comes to when to file small business taxes. Taxpayers who operate businesses cannot use ignorance of tax deadlines as a defense.

Filing Deadlines Are Not Suggestions

Just as profits are projected in a company’s business plan, tax-filing deadlines must be included. Failure to file taxes by the deadline will result in fines and other penalties being levied against the company. When small businesses fail to file taxes, the IRS has the option of filing a tax return for the company that has missed the filing deadline. The information used by the IRS to file the tax return is based on data from outside sources. Business expense deductions that a company would be entitled to claim are not included.

Who Should File

If a corporation has generated enough revenue to owe more than $500 in any given tax year, the corporation must file quarterly estimated taxes. Sole-proprietors, partners and S-corporations must file quarterly taxes if the anticipated tax debt is $1,000 or greater. The amount a small business owes in taxes depends on the amount of revenue a business generates and how much it costs to operate the business.

Income and Expenses

At the end of the year a small business will owe 90 percent of the company’s tax liability or 100 percent of last year's tax liability. If a company’s income is more than $150,000, the figure is 110 percent. When a company files small business taxes, operating expenses are deducted from the income generated by the business. The business operating expenses makes the tax liability lower.

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