As a small-business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. When an event like tax season rolls around and adds one more item to your to-do list, it can be overwhelming. So it’s not uncommon to procrastinate filing taxes – but putting off taxes to the last minute can create serious stress.
The good news? If you’re one of the small-business owners who plans to spend the weekend filing forms for Uncle Sam, it might not be the worst thing in the world for your biz. Here’s an explanation of why, along with your guide for making next year a little easier, even if you wait till the last minute to file.
Why Tax Procrastination May Be a Good Thing
Though it usually gets a bad reputation, procrastination is not always a negative force. In fact, innovators (including small-business owners) tend to procrastinate mundane or administrative tasks in favor of those that allow them to serve their clients, grow their businesses, generate new services or products, and so on.
If you’ve been putting off your taxes in order to serve clients and grow your business, the long-term effect on your operations will probably be positive – even if this weekend is a nightmare.
If, on the other hand, you’ve been putting off your taxes to handle less-important matters (e.g., catching up on Game of Thrones episodes), you’re probably not doing your business or your finances any favors.
Set Yourself Up for Last-Minute Filing Success
If it’s unlikely that you’ll change your procrastinating ways before 2013 tax season rolls around, implement these strategies now to make your next last-minute filing session less hectic.
- Hire an accountant. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, it may be wise to invest in an accountant on a contract basis. He or she can take taxes off your plate almost entirely, freeing you up to work on other matters. Bonus: your accountant can help maximize your deductions so you get the best possible outcome.
- Set up better folders. Keeping your finances organized throughout the year can save you loads of time and energy when tax season rolls around. Set yourself up for success by establishing a filing system on your computer. You can even buy a receipt scanner so you can store ALL your financial information digitally with minimal fuss.
- Separate your business and personal finances. To avoid triggering an audit (yikes!), be diligent about keeping your work finances separate from your personal finances. This can seem like a formality if you’re a sole proprietor, but it’s a good habit to establish now, especially if employees are anywhere in your future.