How Time Consuming Is Tax Time? Plus–One Credit You Can Still Claim

A new report suggests you literally may need every waking hour between now and April 17 to do your taxes.
Business Writers
April 13, 2012

If you haven't started your taxes yet, we're probably not the first to tell you this. Get moving. A new report suggests you literally may need every waking hour between now and April 17 to do them.

survey by the National Small Business Association shows 64 percent of small-business owners reported spending more than 40 hours this year dealing with federal taxes. And just because you got away with doing them in one Sunday last year may not be any indication you'll manage the same feat this year. The 64 percent is a leap from 57 percent who spent 40 hours last year.

Worse, 45 percent of entrepreneurs reported they'd spent more than 80 hours dealing with numbers for Uncle Sam.

Much of the time spent was just to get the figures ready for an external tax practitioner or accountant; 85 percent of small business owners said they had hired one this year.

The amount of money small businesses are spending on help with their taxes has gone up, too. Fifty-three percent of small business owners reported they had a bill from their tax practitioner of upward of $5,000, compared to 50 percent in 2010.

John Arensmeyer, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Small Business Majority, reminds entrepreneurs that it's not too late to cash in on health care tax credits. (One of the group's polls found 57 percent of small business owners aren't aware of the credits.)

If you have fewer than 25 full-time employees and you pay at least 50 percent of total premiums, you're eligible for a credit of up to 35 percent of the premium contribution. (In 2014, this will jump to 50 percent.) For an estimate of how much you could save, check out the Small Business Majority's tax credit calculator.

How much time and money have you spent on taxes this year? Have you taken advantage of the health care tax credit?

Image by OPEN Forum