One of the most common problems we see from startup founders that are first moving off from DIY accounting is a wide range of “personal transactions” being made with the business accounts. This is known as “commingling your books” and is a huge no-no as well as one of the most common ways businesses find themselves on the barrel end of an IRS or state audit.
As the saying goes, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While usually easier said than done, Evan Varsamis and his lifelong friends, Cassie and Michael, found a way to follow this advice when they started Gadget Flow.
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.
Whether on an individual level or as a business owner, every living, breathing citizen or resident of the United States of America has some familiarity with federal and state taxes. The mission of the Internal Revenue Service is to "provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all." This is why we must file taxes annually on our income each year.
While the Research and Experimentation (R&D) Tax Credit can apply to companies of all sizes, 2016 is the first year that certain companies can elect to apply the credit toward their payroll expenses. This is a big deal for startups, as the payroll offset was put in place to benefit companies that are not profitable and can’t use the credit to lower their income taxes.
Business owners are often surprised to hear that January and July are the two busiest sales tax months. Most Americans think “tax deadline,” and their minds immediately jump to the March and April income tax deadlines. These dates are so ubiquitous with “taxes” that many companies even offer Tax Day freebies like donuts, coffee, and ice cream to ease the nation’s collective pain.
But sales tax is a whole different animal. January (at the end of the calendar year) and July (states have a June fiscal year-end) are such busy sales tax months that we’ve dubbed them each a “Sales Tax Perfect Storm.”
When it comes to conveying what your company is passionate about, many business owners start by putting pen to paper and writing out their mission statement. Obviously, this is important. As a brand, a mission statement allows you to own your organization’s public-facing story. But aside from what you write about your commitment to your community, there’s another way you can demonstrate what your company stands for and how you plan on changing the world: Your budget.
The way you spend your business’s capital represents not just what your team values, but what you value as a leader. You want to build a budget that paints an accurate picture of how you prioritize each part of your business.
The startup model has its flaws—instability, naiveté, long hours—making startups one of the last places one would think to look for an example of high-functioning business operations. But amidst the madness, startups that succeed are doing one thing better than more traditional small businesses and other startups: streamlining process.
My colleague recently wrote about the importance of closing your business’s books at the end of your fiscal year. A few of you reached out to us after reading her post, asking for more about some of the financial statements that Melissa mentioned.
We’re happy you asked!
If you run a startup or other business in the midst of growth, you picked a hell of a time to embark on your entrepreneurial journey. We’ve reached a point in the global marketplace where the tools and products out there designed to help you manage your company are virtually limitless.
The question then becomes: Where to begin?
The landscape of business resources is vast and weeding through the internet is time consuming... so we did it for you! As of April 2016, here’s a comprehensive list of resources you should know about, from marketing to sales to teamwork to legal help and beyond: