If this is your first year as a small business owner, you may be wondering “Where to file taxes for my business?”. Or maybe this time you just want to try something new. Whatever your situation is, we have you covered. There are basically three options to file your taxes: software, retail tax preparer, and a professional CPA. They all have their pros and cons, so analyze your current situation and the features of these options to choose the most convenient one for your business.
This could be the perfect option if you’re already an experimented taxpayer and you don’t have a complex financial situation. You need to be aware of the documents you need; however, some of the software can also guide you throughout the way. Below you have our selection of the top 3 software you can use to file taxes for your small business:
It’s perfect if this is your first time filing taxes with a software: TurboTax is popular due to its user-friendly interface and live help, however, it can become expensive depending on the features you’re planning to use.
TurboTax has 4 available packages to choose from:
- Free edition: For Federal and State, it’s good enough if you’re not claiming any credits or deductions other than what’s standard.
- Deluxe: Federal at $59.99 and State $39.99, it allows you to maximize your mortgage and property tax deductions and turn donations into big deductions.
- Premier: Federal at $79.99, it covers stocks, bonds, ESPPS (Employee Stock Purchase Plans), and other investments.
- Self-Employed: Federal at $89.99, it includes guidance for contractors, freelancers, and small business owners, uncovers industry-specific deductions for more tax breaks and more.
Besides these tax software packages, TurboTax has also the tool TurboTax Live that connects you with a real and experienced CPA to help you with your tax filing. You can learn more about this feature by visiting their website.
To sump up:
- Pros: Personalized help through their online advisor and clear guidance through their software.
- Cons: One of the most pricey software out there.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more friendly to your wallet, TaxAct can definitely do the trick. Recently it’s been visually improved making it even easier to use for taxpayers. Like any other software, it has different prices with different features:
- I *heart* free: it can be used for simple returns and retirement income.
- Basic+: Federal at $9.95, it includes the same features as the free version plus the possibility to declare earned income credit and education expenses. It offers unlimited tax specialist support.
- Deluxe+: Federal at $30.95, it includes everything in the Basic+ plan plus itemized deductions, health savings account, and tax specialist phone support.
- Premier+: Federal at $39.95, it includes a revision of your financial accounts, stocks, gains and losses, and rental property income. It also includes prioritized support with the option of screen-sharing with a tax specialist.
You can check out more details by visiting their website. TaxAct also has a mobile app that facilitates the uploading of documents to your filing.
To sum up:
- Pros: Easy to use and affordable prices that offer the same as its competitors.
- Cons: The support team doesn’t give tax advice; they just help you understand the forms and how to use them.
We’ve talked about Credit Karma before in this blog. This useful tool helps you get your credit score and analyze your financial information to determine which credit or loan should you take, but there’s more to it. Credit Karma has a Tax feature which can help you file taxes for your small business.
Want to know the best part? It’s completely free, and there are no upgrades and no hidden fees. Credit Karma Tax helps you file both federal and state tax returns and has all the features and deductions mentioned previously with no charge at all. You can choose to file everything online or print your return to mail it.
To sum up:
- Pros: Easy to use, free service, and contains all the features without the need to upgrade.
- Cons: Customer support is limited.
2. Retail Tax Preparers
Retail tax preparation is perfect for those business owners who need a little bit of help but don’t want to hire a professional practitioner on an on-going basis. If you don’t have tax questions throughout the year but you still feel overwhelmed when it’s time to file your taxes, the retail option could be your best choice.
Whether you want to file your taxes online or do it with the help of an expert, H&R Block can be a great option. They have diverse packages for any of your needs, even if you’re just looking to file your personal taxes. With prices ranging from $0 to $119.99, you can get as much help as you need. Here you can find their 3 main options:
- In-office: starting at $59 for your small business, meet one-on-one with a tax pro in an office near you.
- Drop-off service: starting at $59, drop your documents at your local tax office and an expert will be working on them for you.
- Tax Pro Go: starting at $49, file your taxes online but get a real-life tax pro guiding you through the process.
To sum up:
- Pros: H&R Block offers personalized and professional help to file taxes.
- Cons: The prices can be high for business owners and there are no free options.
If you’re looking for experience and prestige, Liberty Tax is what you need. Liberty Tax is one of the top tax preparation offices in the US with over 4,000 offices in diverse locations. You can choose to meet with one of their tax experts in their offices or file online.
Costs are different depending on the way you choose to file. Usually, filing your taxes in their offices can become a bit more expensive than doing it online. While in-person filling you have the option to prepare personal tax and business tax, online you actually have more services available:
- EZ: for simple returns, this is a quick and easy option at $14.95.
- Basic: at $19.95, this option is perfect for family returns and is more comprehensive than EZ, since it includes itemized deductions.
- Deluxe: at $49.95, it includes forms and guidance for investors along with personal help from tax professionals.
- Premium: at $69.95, this option is tailored for small businesses including all additional deductions.
To sum up:
- Pros: Over 20 years of experience and locations all over the US and Canada.
- Cons: No free versions – you get charged even for simple procedures.
3. Professional Accountant
A full-time CPA (Certified Public Accountant or Enrolled Agent) can be a doable option not only to file taxes for your small business but also if you require accounting services throughout the year. A professional CPA can help you with all your tax questions about business structure, tax planning moves, and can give you valuable guidance for managing your business financials. A CPA can also be a good option if your business structure is more complex or if you simply want to save time.
The prices of a professional CPA can vary a lot, depending on the type of services provided and their experience. In general, a CPA will be more expensive than filing your taxes online, but it could be just what your small business needs. CPA prices per hour range from $30 to $300.
5 reasons to use a CPA
If you’re still not sure about getting your own CPA for your business, here are some reasons that can help you analyze further:
- Professionalism: You can be sure that a CPA is prepared and competent to help you since they are certified professionals.
- Consistency: You’ll have your go-to person when it comes to handling your finances. Your CPA keeps all your records and knows exactly your situation, so he or she can advise accordingly.
- Provides other services: Their services go beyond tax preparation: a CPA can also provide financial advice throughout the year.
- No confusions or mistakes: You won’t be struggling with beginner’s mistakes and it will make your tax filing a friendlier experience.
- Knows your business: You will be receiving personalized aid and services from someone who knows all about your business and can provide accurate advice on what moves to make.
How to find a CPA in your area
Finding a CPA may seem an overwhelming task, but actually, there are plenty of ways to start your search. You can always follow the recommendations from someone you know and trust, but if no one in your circle has contact with a good CPA, you can also visit the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
In the AICPA directory, you can find all sorts of CPA firms or individual CPAs with diverse certifications and services. Use the “Find a CPA” option to find one in the area who provides the type of services you’re looking for.
How to choose the right CPA
Once you know you’re ready to start working with a CPA, these are some questions you can ask the CPA of your choice to make sure this is the best option:
- What’s your experience working in my industry?
- What are your services beyond small business taxes?
- How often will we communicate?
- What are your rates?
- What can I expect from your service?
- What are you expecting from this relationship?
Filing taxes for your small business can be stressful no matter how you decide to do it, but unfortunately, it’s part of running a company. Filing taxes diligently can save you problems in the long run, reduces the probability of being audited by the IRS, and can provide you valuable insights about your business financials. Make sure to stay organized and be aware of the deadlines and requirements to file your taxes. Understand how the process works even if you use a CPA, so you can learn how to manage your finances. And if you decide to use software, be patient and read the information thoroughly. It might look overwhelming at the beginning, but it’s an efficient and cheaper option once you feel comfortable using it.
We hope we answered your questions on where to file taxes for your small business. If you are ready to prepare your taxes, learn the steps to take by reading how to file taxes for your small business in our blog, and make sure you check these 10 Tax tips for business owners that can save you time and money.
Do you want to receive more useful tips like those in this article? Simply subscribe to our Newsletter. It’s free and every week you’ll receive tools, resources and valuable information to better manage your financials and grow your business!