Eva Rosenberg at MarketWatch brings up a great point—everyone thinks that April is tax month because returns are due on the fifteenth. While that's true, it's only one of the several tax return deadlines that affect small-business owners over the course of the month. By focusing exclusively one date, you run the risk of missing other important deadlines. If April wasn't busy enough for you, it's about to heat up. Here are the key tax deadlines you won't want to miss:
APRIL 15, 2013
- Personal income tax returns. They must be filed before midnight. Failure to file can lead to expensive fines, penalties, interest and more (just ask Wesley Snipes). If for some reason you can't prepare your return on time, then make sure to take two minutes and file an extension. This gives you an additional six months to prepare your return but it doesn't give you extra time to pay. When you submit a request for an extension, it's important to also submit an estimate of what you think you will owe the IRS once you complete this return. The estimated amount can be based on what you owed last year, assuming there are no significant changes in your overall income and expenses.
- First quarter estimated taxes. No, it's not a typo. In addition to your income tax returns, April 15 is also the date when your first quarter estimated taxes are due. As Rosenberg points out, if there is a chance you won't be able to pay your income taxes when do and you want the IRS to be merciful, they will first check to see if you are in compliance for the earlier part of the tax year. Failing to make your quarterly estimated tax payments won't be looked upon kindly.
APRIL 30, 2013
- Quarter payroll tax returns on company payrolls for Q1. I've written before about the importance of trust fund taxes and it's difficult to overestimate the importance of these taxes. If you are late with the returns or the payroll taxes you collected on behalf of the federal government, you run tremendous personal and business financial risk. The IRS takes any delays very seriously in turning over these funds and the associated return.
- Sales tax returns. If your business operates in more than one state, it's important to keep track of how each state accounts for sales tax liabilities. It's important be sure to take your time and do the required research to ensure timely payments.
In additional to these deadlines, there are others related to both business and personal taxes.
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