Tax Season Begins for Small Biz Owners

By Joyce M. Rosenberg, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — It's income tax season again for many small business owners, those who got an extension until Oct. 15 of the deadline to file their returns. They have a choice: Get started now and compile their returns in an orderly fashion, or face another bout of eleventh-hour panic.

Even if your company's books are chaotic or barely exist, you can still file on time. If your problem is lack of time or just plain procrastination, you can also meet the deadline. But in any of these situations, you're probably going to need some help.

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM, AND THE SOLUTION

There are usually two reasons why small business owners are scrambling. First, while they intend to get their returns done, they're busy running the rest of the business and so those Schedule Cs and Form 1040s keep getting pushed further down on the priority list. There's just not enough time to do it all.

Or, owners have books that are haphazard or that consist of a checkbook and pile of invoices and receipts. The problem often is, again, a lack of time. But these owners are probably also running their businesses in a disorganized fashion.

Many of these owners got extensions of the April 15 deadline, thinking they'd get their returns together in less than six months. But many are in the same situation now. The solution: Don't try to do it yourself.

The disorganized owner needs a bookkeeper or a bookkeeping service who will use accounting software to keep track of the company's finances. For those worried about the expense, consider hiring an accounting student who can put your books together for you. Any of these options will help you meet the Oct. 15 deadline.

The owner who's just time-pressed should be visiting certified public accountants or other tax professionals and have the returns done for them.

All owners should have certified public accountants anyway to help make tax and business decisions. In other words, think beyond the immediate crisis, and work toward preventing it from happening again.

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