How Long to Keep Business Tax Records

how to keep records for small business

The responsibilities handled by a service will depend on the provider, so be sure to discuss the scope of work and compare options to find the right fit. Your reports will look different depending on which you decide to use. Here’s a crash course on small-business bookkeeping and how to get started. If there’s ever any doubt about whether you should keep a document, keep it.

How to calculate sales tax and report it in your bookkeeping records

All costs, whether they are purchases (materials) or expenses (rent and utilities), need to be filed for tax purposes. Financial record keeping for purchases includes saving cash register slips, invoices, canceled checks, credit card slips, and other documentation of items and supplies purchased. Like purchases, expenses require you to keep the same files plus petty cash vouchers for the more nominal expenses. Businesses that claim travel, gift, and entertainment tax deductions should also keep original expense documentation.

How do I do bookkeeping for my ecommerce business?

  • One way to report sales tax in your bookkeeping records is to debit the amount you’ve collected from your cash account and credit it to your sales revenue and sales tax payable accounts.
  • Remember, the burden of proof for everything on your tax return is on you.
  • It provides insight into your debits and credits and the overall health of your business.
  • This site does not include all companies or products available within the market.

The experts have specialized knowledge in areas like tax planning, financial reporting, and legal compliance, offering strategic insights tailored to each business’s unique needs and goals. It is important to note that COGS are different from your operating expenses, which are expenditures not directly related to the production of your products. While they are both subtracted from your business’s total sales figures, they should be recorded separately.

Browse Accounting Tips

If your bank doesn’t have online banking, it’s best to hang on to bank records for three years. These records usually include deeds, titles, and cost basis records (for instance, receipts for equipment such as computers or vehicles). This is mainly due to the Period of Limitations, which is the time during which you can amend your tax return, or during which the IRS can perform an audit on your return.

how to keep records for small business

Next steps: create a document retention policy

If you want to take your financial recordkeeping skills to the next level, check out the following five tips. We live in a time where data breaches and natural disasters are rampant. Payroll software generates and files these forms with the appropriate authority, be it the IRS, Social Security Administration (SSA), or both. You can easily search for these forms in your payroll software whenever you need them.

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However, unmaintained bookkeeping and accounting records limit your capability to track money, generate reports for banking, raise loans, apply for credit, etc. As a business owner, you likely have in storage various documents, such as tax returns, personnel records and bank statements. Unfortunately, there isn’t a steadfast retention rule that applies to all kinds of records, meaning you need to categorize your files and create a document retention policy (DRP).

how to keep records for small business

Stay up to date on the latest accounting tips and training

You must be able to prove certain elements of expenses to deduct them. The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. You must keep your records as long as needed to prove the income or deductions on a tax return. You may choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses.

Let software lead in creating small business accounting records, like customer invoices and payroll tax forms. The IRS can audit your business’s financial records up to seven years in the past and even further back when you don’t file a tax return or are suspected of fraud. Most CPAs tell you to keep all record keeping for small business business documents for at least seven years after they’re no longer relevant. In today’s digital age, digitizing receipts is advised whenever possible. This approach not only reduces physical clutter but also simplifies and streamlines the process of integrating spending data into accounting software.

how to keep records for small business

You’ll thank yourself the next time you do your taxes or get audited. Instead of worrying whether you should be keeping or getting rid of them, you can archive them permanently. Digitizing your records is also a great way to avoid accidentally tossing them in a move or an overzealous fit of spring cleaning. Plus, let’s not forget that paper records can fade, and are susceptible to damage. There are a number of journal entries you’ll need to make that range from simple to complex. From creating sales journal entries to recording accrued interest, there’s a lot you need to familiarize yourself with.

See Why Approximately 740,000 Businesses Use Paychex

Subtract the cost of inventory left at the end of your timeframe to calculate your COGS. Track your inventory on a monthly or quarterly basis to make sure it’s kept up to date. This is especially important if you process returns or store inventory in multiple locations. It’s crucial you collect sales tax if your business operates or has a presence in a US state where sales tax is mandatory, which is most states.

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