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Do All Businesses Need to File a Federal Tax Return?

Posted by Elise Fajen to Taxes

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They say “in this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Well, we’re not sure if we hate or love to break it to you, but it turns out the latter is not as certain as the former, at least when it comes to business taxes.


If you’re just getting started as a business, filing taxes may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Some businesses can get away with this (for the first year or so) and others cannot—and things can get expensive if you fail to meet your tax obligations from the start. Follow along to see if your new business comes with a side of immediate tax filing responsibilities.

 

Not all businesses are required to file a federal tax return… at first

Depending on your company’s entity type and initial business activities, you may not have to worry about filing taxes right away.

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Partnerships can wait to file federal tax returns.

In the initial year(s) of business, U.S. partnerships do not need to file a federal return if the business hasn’t received income or incurred any expenses treated as deductions or credits for federal income tax purposes. Partnerships should only follow this rule in the period of time between forming their business and once they actually start paying expenses and receiving income through the business.


Once you file your first return as a business, tax authorities will expect the returns annually up until you file a “final year” tax return (making it clear that you won’t have any future activities or correspondence with the IRS).


It is worth noting that while there may not be a federal tax return filing requirement in your initial years, there may be still be a requirement to file a state and/or local return, depending on the laws of the state where the business is organized.

 

Corporations must file a federal tax return regardless of whether they have taxable income.

On the flip side, corporations must file a federal tax return regardless of whether they have taxable income. This means that if you form a corporation, even if you spent no money and received no income, you must still file a corporate federal tax return.


Ultimately, if you have created a business and have yet to start major operations, we recommend that you consult with a tax professional to ensure that you remain in compliance with federal and state tax laws. Just one less thing to worry about once your business gets up and running.


View the original conversation in Quora.

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About the author
“Elise

Elise Fajen

After founding Wind-Blox in her freshman year of college, Elise has an obsession with all things entrepreneurial. She's an alumna of George Fox University and lover of all things covered in glitter. Get in touch with Elise today at elise.fajen@indinero.com or (503) 388- 3546.


Disclaimer: The inDinero blog provides general information about tax, accounting, and business-related topics. It is not intended to provide professional advice. Read more in our Terms of Use.

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