Finding the right tax forms quickly and getting business tax questions answered accurately are tricky problems for many business owners. There’s hardly a time of year when there isn’t some tax-related deadline, either federal state or local.
The best help that BizBest has found actually comes from the Internal Revenue Service itself. Yup! Contrary to popular belief, the IRS, and its website in particular, is a good place to find what you need quickly. The agency has a special Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center online that provides easy access to all of the forms, publications and tax matters vital to different types of small businesses and the self-employed.
At the center-top of the home page you’ll see a link to “Filing Season Central” which is a nicely organized help center for filing your business returns. One of the most helpful features is a roundup of the many tax law changes affecting small business, along with tax tips. Another item you’ll find helpful is the 2011 Tax Calendar for Small Business and Self-Emloyed. It’s a PDF file with a complete rundown of forms and deadlines due throughout the year.
Information at the IRS small business site is well-organized, remarkably light on “gov-speak” and nearly all free (well, not quite, since your tax dollars did pay for it). A service call FreeFile helps you prepare and file your federal taxes online, for free. Here are some of the other things you’ll find at the small biz tax site:
- An A-to-Z index for business making it easy to find what you need on any tax-related topic.
- A quick and easy online way to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), free.
- An online learning center with videos, articles and online workshops that can help you with your small business or self-employed tax questions.
- A list of local, tax-related small business events, with links to times, dates and contact information.
- Information on how to know is someone who works for you is an independent contractor or will be considered a “employee” by the IRS (and thus subject to withholding and other taxes).
- A helpful publication called e-News for Small Business.
- Links to state-by-state tax information for small business (just click on your state).
- Information on business name changes, retirement plans, and more.
You can locate and download IRS forms and publications several different ways:
1) By form and instruction number
2) by publication number
3) by topical index
4) by using a directory list of file names
The IRS Alternative Media Center has forms in Braille, text format and even talking tax forms.
For speed and simplicity, view the small business tax publications and form instructions you need online via your web browser, or open them in PDF format. Reach the publications list directly at www.irs.gov/publications. For instructions on filling out forms, go directly to www.irs.gov/instructions.
If you need hard copies, you can print them out yourself, or order what you need online for mail delivery from this forms and publications page, or Forms and Publications for Employers. You may order up to 10 different products for delivery by U.S. mail. You’ll receive two copies of each form and one copy of any publication.
Or forget forms entirely and go paperless with electronic IRS fill-in forms. These are official IRS forms in PDF that let you fill in your information directly to the PDF form. It’s not a spreadsheet, however, so it won’t calculate or verify the information you enter. Get these from the “Fill-In Forms” section on the Forms and Publications page.
The free web-based Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop is a great way to get up to speed on tax requirements of running a small business.
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Filed Under: BizTaxes
About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.