Small Business Tax Preparation Checklist (Get Ready in 7 Steps!)

Tax season can be a stressful time for small business owners. With numerous responsibilities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the mountain of paperwork and complex tax regulations. 

However, with proper organization and preparation, tax time can become a more manageable task. This small business tax preparation checklist is designed to help you navigate through tax season with ease.

Small Business Tax Preparation Checklist

Step 1: Gather Basic Business Information

  • EIN or SSN: Your Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number is essential for identification on all tax forms.
  • Business Structure Details: Understanding whether you’re an LLC, S Corp, sole proprietor, or partnership affects your tax obligations and potential deductions.
  • Previous Year’s Tax Return: Having last year’s return handy can guide you on what you reported last year and help maintain consistency where needed.

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Step 2: Organize Financial Statements

  • Profit and Loss Statement: Summarize your revenues, costs, and expenses. This statement is vital to determine your taxable income.
  • Balance Sheet: List your business’s assets, liabilities, and equity. It’s crucial for understanding the financial health of your business.
  • Cash Flow Statement: Shows the cash inflows and outflows. This statement is key to understanding how well your business manages cash.

Step 3: Compile Income Records

  • Gross Receipts or Sales: Collect all records of income received from sales of goods or services.
  • Returns and Allowances: Document any refunds or allowances provided to customers, as these reduce your gross income.
  • Interest Income: Include interest earned from business bank accounts or investments.

Section 4: Document Expenses

  • Cost of Goods Sold: If you sell products, calculate the direct costs associated with producing them.
  • Advertising Expenses: Keep receipts of marketing and advertising costs.
  • Rent, Utilities, Office Supplies: Document regular business expenses, including rent, utilities, and office supply purchases.
  • Travel, Meals, Entertainment: Track expenses related to business travel and client entertainment, adhering to IRS limitations and requirements.
  • Payroll Records: Maintain accurate records of employee wages, tax deductions, and related payroll expenses.
  • Independent Contractor Payments: If you’ve hired freelancers or contractors, document these expenses and ensure you have issued Form 1099-NEC where applicable.
  • Insurance Premiums: Include premiums paid for business insurance.
  • Professional Services: Keep track of fees paid for legal, accounting, and other professional services.

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Step 5: Record Asset Information

  • Asset Acquisitions: Note the purchase dates and costs of any business assets acquired.
  • Depreciation Schedules: Keep updated records of asset depreciation, which can be a valuable deduction.
  • Sold Assets: Record details of any business assets sold, including the sale date and amount.

Step 6: Keep Track of Home Office Deductions

  • Home Office Size: Measure the space used exclusively for business.
  • Home-Related Expenses: Calculate the portion of mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, and home repairs attributable to the business use of your home.

Step 7: Account for Miscellaneous Items

  • Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments: Include records of estimated tax payments made during the year.
  • Credits and Deductions: Identify any eligible credits like energy-efficient improvements, and keep track of charitable contributions.
  • Foreign Taxes: If applicable, include any foreign taxes paid, as they might qualify for a credit.

Why a Small Business Tax Preparation Checklist is Your Best Tool

Designed to streamline the tax preparation process, this checklist serves as a roadmap, guiding you through each step. A comprehensive checklist ensures that nothing is overlooked and helps you systematically approach tax season. By breaking down the process into manageable tasks, it helps reduce the anxiety and uncertainty associated with tax filing.

With this checklist, you can navigate tax season with greater confidence. It assists in organizing your paperwork, understanding your tax obligations, and ultimately, in making informed decisions. 

Remember, this checklist is a tool to aid in your preparation, but it is also advisable to seek professional advice when needed, especially for complex tax situations.

How FMS Advisory Can Help You With Your Taxes

As a dedicated accounting firm based in Rockville, MD, we specialize in providing comprehensive financial services tailored to your unique needs.

Our Expertise

Dedicated CPA Partnership
Receive personalized attention and strategic partnership from our experienced CPAs.

Comprehensive Services
From accounting, bookkeeping, to innovative tax strategies, we cover all aspects of your financial needs.

Holistic Tax Wellness
Our signature Tax Wellness Scorecard and Roadmap ensure your business is financially healthy and compliant.

Specialized Packages for Every Stage:

Starter Package – Ideal for new businesses, providing essential accounting and tax services.

Essentials Package – Perfect for businesses aiming to level up their financial management.

Complete Package – A comprehensive solution for established businesses seeking a dedicated financial partner.

Why Choose Us?

At FMS Advisory, we stand out for our unique approach and commitment to inclusivity and excellence in financial services. We pride ourselves on our focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs, particularly women business owners. 

Understanding the challenges and barriers faced by these groups, we are dedicated to empowering them with expert financial guidance, helping them to not only overcome these challenges but to thrive in their business endeavors.

Join the FMS Advisory Family

When you partner with FMS Advisory, you’re not just getting an accounting service; you’re joining a family dedicated to your financial success. We provide the peace of mind that comes with having your finances expertly managed. 

Our team ensures that your financial statements are clear and comprehensible, empowering you to make informed and strategic business decisions.

Start Your Journey to Financial Prosperity

Are you ready to take your business to new heights with expert financial guidance? Contact FMS Advisory today and embark on a path to financial wellness and business success!


How can I organize my receipts and expenses effectively?

Develop a system for tracking and categorizing expenses throughout the year. Use digital tools or accounting software for better organization and easier retrieval at tax time.

What is the difference between a contractor and an employee, and how does this affect my tax filings?

The main difference lies in tax obligations and withholding responsibilities. Employees have taxes withheld from their wages, while contractors handle their own tax payments. This distinction affects how you report payments to the IRS (using forms W-2 for employees and 1099-NEC for contractors).

What records do I need to keep and for how long?

Keep all business-related financial records, including income, expenses, home office records, and vehicle usage logs. The IRS recommends keeping records for at least three years from the date you filed the original return.

Are there any tax credits or deductions that small business owners commonly miss?

Commonly overlooked deductions include home office expenses, business insurance, education and training expenses, and certain types of business travel and meals. Tax credits can vary, so it’s important to consult with a tax professional.

Should I hire a professional for my small business taxes?

While some small businesses manage taxes on their own, many benefit from professional advice, especially if your tax situation is complex or you’re dealing with special issues like deductions for a home office, depreciation, or business-use vehicles.