Tax time preparation:Get organized now to make the process go smoothly

By Joe Palermo    

Does the thought of preparing your business tax return leave you with an uneasy feeling? Then do not wait to the last minute to get all your documents organized. Block out time and begin the process of gathering and organizing all of your financial documentation of all business-related expenses.

Some expenses are deductible and are applied in their entirety to lower your tax bill. Other expenses are capitalized, which means a portion of them are recovered over time. And some—personal expenses—do not affect your tax bill. Unfortunately, the IRS does not allow deductions for personal expenses, such as personal living costs or personal use of your automobile. (However, if a cost is both personal and business and can be broken down with documentation, the business portion can be applied.)

Your accountant will need documentation on the following types of expenses:

• Ordinary and necessary business expenses. This is a broad category of costs incurred to run your business. They include a number of different types of expenses, including employee pay; retirement plans; rent expenses for your business property; interest charged on money you borrowed for business activities; various state, local and foreign taxes directly attributable to your business; insurance for your business; and office expenses as part of operating costs.

• Cost of goods sold. If you manufacture products or purchase goods for resale, you must generally value the inventory at the beginning and end of each tax year to determine the cost of goods sold, which is used to figure gross profits for the year by subtracting the cost of goods sold from your business’ gross receipts.

As you prepare for tax preparation, collect information on the cost of products or raw materials (including freight), storage, direct labor costs (including contributions to pensions or annuity plans) for workers who produce the products, and factory overhead expenses.

• Capital expenses. Capital expenses fall into three general categories business start-up costs; business assets; and improvements. Expenses incurred in these areas are not deducted; however, they are capitalized to help reduce your tax bill. In other words, you may b able to recover a portion of the amount you spent on a capital expense through depreciation, amortization, or depletion.

Joe Palermo, CPA, is a partner in B2B CFO and can be reached at 925-548-3395 or


What kind of documentation do you need?

• Bank deposit slips

• Invoices

• Credit card charge slips

• Form 1099

• Canceled checks

• Account statements




Prepare for 2010 taxes now

To make tax preparation easier in 2010, take these steps now:

1. Set up and maintain a file for each vendor and file paid invoices.

2. Establish a file for each customer.

3. Complete bank reconciliation for each month; never get behind.

4. Prepare financial statements each month.

5. Review the financial statement each month with your accountant or business advisor

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