Starting your own business can be an exciting prospect, but there is more to it than simply writing a business plan. Also, if you expect to have employees, there are a variety of federal and state forms and applications that you need to complete to get your business up and running. That's where a tax professional can help. With this in mind, let's take a look at what you need to know before you start a new business.
1. Business Entity
The first decision you need to make is determining which business entity you will use because the type of business structure you choose determines what taxes you need to pay and how to pay them, as well as which income tax return you file. The most common types of business entities are:
2. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Securing an Employer Identification Number (also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number) is the first thing you must do since many other forms require it. The IRS issues EINs to employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, nonprofit associations, trusts, estates, government agencies, certain individuals, and other business entities for tax filing and reporting purposes.
An EIN is used to identify a business. Most businesses need one of these numbers. A business with an EIN needs to keep the business mailing address, location, and responsible party up to date. IRS regulations require EIN holders to report changes in the responsible party within 60 days. They do this by completing Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party, and mailing it to the address on the form.
Even if you already have an EIN as a sole proprietor, for example, if you start a new business with a different business entity, you will need to apply for a new EIN.
The fastest way to apply for an EIN is online through the IRS website or by telephone. Applying by fax and mail generally takes one to two weeks, and you can apply for one EIN per day. There is no cost to apply.
3. Choosing a Tax Year
A tax year is defined as an annual accounting period for keeping records and reporting income and expenses. A new business owner must choose either calendar year or fiscal year defined as follows:
4. State Withholding, Unemployment, Sales, & other Business Taxes
Once you have your EIN, you need to fill out forms to establish an account with the state for payroll tax withholding, Unemployment Insurance Registration, and sales tax collections (if applicable). Business taxes include income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, and excise tax. Generally, the type of tax your business pays depends on the type of business structure. Keep in mind that you may also need to make estimated tax payments.
5. Payroll Record Keeping
Payroll reporting and recordkeeping can be very time-consuming and costly. Also, keep in mind that almost all employers are required to transmit federal payroll tax deposits electronically. Personnel files should be kept for each employee and include an employee's employment application as well as the following:
6. Employee Healthcare
As an employer with employees, you may or may not have certain healthcare requirements you need to comply with IF you want to take advantage of the Small Business Health Care Credit which helps small businesses (fewer than 25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time and part-time) pay for health care coverage they offer their employees. The maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers, such as charities. It is available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years. There is no requirement to provide health insurance for your employees. In fact, many new startups can not afford this perk.
If you have any questions or need help setting up a payroll and accounting system for your new business, help is just a phone call away.