IRS Uses YouTube to Provide Tax Information to Small Business Owners

Welcome to Small Business Week!

During National Small Business Week – and any time of the year – small business owners can visit the IRS channel to watch a series of videos that can help them navigate tax topics that affect their business.

The small business playlist on the official IRS YouTube channel features several videos that might be short, but that pack in a lot of helpful information. The videos walk business owners through topics such as:

Five Signs of Small Business Identity Theft, New Protection Methods

Small business identity theft is a big business. Just like individuals, businesses can be victims too. Thieves use a business’s information to file fake tax returns or get credit cards.

Identity thieves are more sophisticated than they used to be. They know the tax code and filing practices and how to get valuable data. The IRS has seen a sharp increase in fraudulent business tax forms. These include Forms 11201120S and 1041, as well as Schedule K-1. These affect business, partnership, estate and trust filers.

Signs of Identity Theft

Business filers should be alert for signs of identity theft. They should contact the IRS if they experience any of these issues:

  • The IRS rejects an e-filed return saying it already has one with that identification number.
  • The IRS rejects an extension to file request saying it already has a return with that identification number.
  • The filer receives an unexpected tax transcript.
  • The filer receives an IRS notice that doesn’t relate to anything they submitted.
  • The filer doesn’t receive expected or routine mailings from the IRS.

New Procedures to Protect Businesses in 2018

The IRS, state tax agencies and software providers have ways to detect suspicious returns. However, some new measures can help validate returns in advance. The IRS and states are asking businesses and tax professionals to help verify if a tax return is legitimate. These procedures are new for 2018. Software for business tax returns will ask questions related to:

  • The person authorized to sign the return
  • Payment history
  • Parent company information
  • Past deductions
  • Filing history

IRS Offers Small Businesses a One-Stop Resource Center for Help Preparing, Filing and Paying Taxes

WASHINGTON — Small businesses across the country are preparing for their special day — Small Business Saturday – taking place on Nov. 25. The Internal Revenue Service wants new small business owners, including those involved in the sharing economy, to know that IRS.gov has an online resource center to help them learn all they need to know about the tax implications of running a small business. The Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center offers a variety of useful tools that small business owners can access to prepare, file and pay taxes.

The Center is a virtual one-stop tax shop with an A to Z index that gives answers for most business-related tax questions. It includes the Virtual Workshop, an educational video series that walks small business owners step-by-step through the basics. New owners can learn the ins and outs of their taxes at their own pace with other educational tools and products linked from the page. One of the Center’s newest features is the Sharing Economy Tax Center for those who use various online platforms to rent rooms, provide rides and offer other goods and services. Those involved in the Sharing Economy may visit the Pay as You Go, So You Don’t Owe page to learn more about ways to avoid paying the Estimated Tax Penalty.

Getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is often the first step for new small businesses, and the Center’s page makes it easy. There are links to the downloadable tax calendar and a variety of videos. Figuring out what is the best form of business entity to establish is easier with the selecting a business structure section. It explains the tax implications of  setting up a Sole ProprietorshipPartnershipCorporationS Corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC) .

The Center features relevant tax forms and instructions for small businesses. It serves as a resource on how to handle employment taxes, if employees are part of a business, or figuring out self-employment taxes for the sole proprietor. The section on filing and paying business taxes details which IRS forms to use for what sort of business entity and when to file.

The resources on Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center are not just for new small businesses but can be used for every stage of a small business lifecycle; from starting up and operating a business to selling or closing one. In addition, the page has information on topics like recordkeepingtypes of retirement plans and the Affordable Care Act.

Four Things to Know about Taxes and Starting a Business

New business owners have tax-related things to do before launching their companies. IRS.gov has resources to help. Here are some items to consider before scheduling a ribbon-cutting event.

Choose a business structure

When starting a business, an owner must decide what type of entity it will be. This type determines which tax forms a business needs to file. Owners can learn about business structures at IRS.gov. The most common forms of businesses are:

Determine business tax responsibilities 

The type of business someone operates determines what taxes they need to pay and how to pay them. There are the five general types of business taxes.

  • Income tax – All businesses except partnerships must file an annual income tax return. They must pay income tax as they earn or receive income during the year.
  • Estimated taxes – If the amount of income tax withheld from a taxpayer’s salary or pension is not enough, or if the taxpayer receives income such as interest, dividends, alimony, self-employment income, capital gains, prizes and awards, they may have to make estimated tax payments.
  • Self-employment tax – This is a Social Security and Medicare tax. It applies primarily to individuals who work for themselves.
  • Employment taxes – These are taxes an employer pays or sends to the IRS for its employees. These include unemployment tax, income tax withholding, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.
  • Excise tax – These taxes apply to businesses that:
    • Manufacture or sell certain products
    • Operate certain kinds of businesses
    • Use various kinds of equipment, facilities, or products
    • Receive payment for services

Choose a tax year accounting period

Businesses typically figure their taxable income based on a tax year of 12 consecutive months. A tax year is an annual accounting period for keeping records and reporting income and expenses. The options are:

  • Calendar year: Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
  • Fiscal year:12 consecutive months ending on the last day of any month except December.

Set up recordkeeping processes

Being organized helps businesses owners be prepared for other tasks. Good recordkeeping helps a business monitor progress. It also helps prepare financial statements and tax returns. See IRS.gov for recordkeeping tips.

Additional Resources:

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IRS Has Options to Help Small Business Owners

Small business owners often have a running list of things to do. These include deadlines, sales calls, employee issues, banking, advertising – and taxes. The IRS can help with the last one.

Here are seven resources to help small businesses owners with common topics:

  • Looking at the Big Picture: The Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center brings information on IRS.gov to one common place.
  • Organizing Tasks: The IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed helps  owners stay organized. It includes tax due dates and actions for each month. Users can subscribe to calendar reminders or import the calendar to their desktop or calendar on their mobile device.
  • Searching for Topics: The A-to-Z Index for Business helps people easily find small business topics on IRS.gov.
  • Getting Information by Email: Small business owners can sign up for e-News for Small Businesses. The free, electronic service gives subscribers information on deadlines, emerging issues, tips, news and more.
  • Watching Videos: The IRS Video Portal  offers learning events and informational videos on many business topics.
  • Finding Forms: The Small Business Forms and Publications page helps business owners find the documents they need for the type of business they own. It lists tax forms, instructions, desk guides and more.
  • Meeting in Person or Online: Small business workshops, seminars and meetings are held throughout the country. They’re sponsored by IRS partners that specialize in federal tax topics. Topics vary from overviews to more specific topics such as retirement plans and recordkeeping.

Five Tax Tips For Starting A Business

New business owners may find the following five IRS tax tips helpful:

1. Business Structure.  An early choice to make is to decide on the type of structure for the business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company,  and corporation. The type of business chosen will determine which tax forms to file.

2. Business Taxes. There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax a business pays depends on the type of business structure set up. Taxpayers may need to make estimated tax payments. If so, use IRS Direct Pay to make them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from a checking or savings account.

3. Employer Identification Number (EIN).  Generally, businesses may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes. Search “EIN” on IRS.gov to find out if the number is necessary. If needed, it’s easy to apply for it online.

4. Accounting Method.  An accounting method is a set of rules used to determine when to report income and expenses. Taxpayers must use a consistent method. The two most common are the cash and accrual methods:

a. Under the cash method, taxpayers normally report income and deduct expenses in the year that they receive or pay them.

b. Under the accrual method, taxpayers generally report income and deduct expenses in the year that they earn or incur them. This is true even if they get the income or pay the expense in a later year.

Get all the basics of starting a business on IRS.gov at the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center.

IRS Website Provides Tools to Help Small Businesses Understand Employment Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service reminds small businesses of the many free products available to help them understand and comply with the law. Products ranging from online calculators, printable calendars, step-by-step guides and a series of educational webinars are all available on IRS.gov.

Federal law requires most employers to withhold federal taxes from their employees’ wages. IRS tools can help small businesses understand some of the requirements for withholding, reporting, and paying employment taxes. The IRS website, IRS.gov, provides easily accessible information and guides on what forms employers should use as well as how and when to deposit and report employment taxes.

Federal Income Tax- Small businesses first need to figure out how much tax to withhold. Small business employers can better understand the process by starting with an employee’s Form W-4 and the withholding tables described in Publication 15, Employer’s Tax Guide.

Social Security and Medicare Taxes- Most employers also withhold social security and Medicare taxes from employees’ wages and deposit them along with the employers’ matching share. In 2013, employers became responsible for withholding the Additional Medicare Tax on wages that exceed a threshold amount. There is no employer match for the Additional Medicare Tax and certain types of wages and compensation are not subject to withholding.

Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax- Employers report and pay FUTA tax separately from other taxes. Employees do not pay this tax or have it withheld from their pay. Businesses pay FUTA taxes from their own funds.

Depositing Employment Taxes- Generally, employers pay employment taxes by making federal tax deposits through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). The amount of taxes withheld during a prior one-year period determines when to make the deposits.Publication 3151-A, The ABCs of FTDs: Resource Guide for Understanding Federal Tax Deposits and the IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed are helpful tools.

Failure to make a timely deposit can mean being subject to a failure-to-deposit penalty of up to 15 percent. But the penalty can be waived if an employer has a history of filing required returns and making tax payments on time. For more information, see the Penalty Relief Due to First Time Penalty Abatement page on IRS.gov.

Reporting Employment Taxes – Generally, employers report wages and compensation paid to an employee by filing the required forms with the IRS. E-filing Forms 940, 941, 943, 944 and 945 is an easy, secure and accurate way to file employment tax forms. Employers filing quarterly tax returns with an estimated total of $1,000 or less for the calendar year may now request to file Form 944 annually instead. At the end of the year, the employer must provide employees with Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to report wages, tips and other compensation. Small businesses file Forms W-2 and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration and if required, state or local tax departments.

See Understanding Employment Taxes and Employment Taxes on IRS.gov for more.

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