The month of April may be a time when you are acutely aware of taxes. Certain recent developments may be of help to you as a small business owner.
New IRS division. Last October the IRS started its Small Business and Self-Employed Division (SB/SE). This division now serves approximately 45 million taxpayers (more than 17 million of whom are self-employed). This division handles not only income tax issues for small business but also employment and excise tax matters.
This new division is comprised of businesses with assets under $5 million (larger businesses fall under a different division). The SB/SE division accounts for about 40 percent of the total federal tax revenues collected. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the SB/SE has service centers in Brookhaven, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Memphis; Ogden, Utah and Philadelphia. The goal of this IRS division is customer assistance-education and services-to help small businesses, especially startups, comply with the tax laws.
New websites. The IRS has just launched a new site devoted exclusively to small business (www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html). Here you will find special information for your industry-construction and restaurants, with additional industries to follow. You can see the hot tax issues for your industry, find special audit guides that explain what the IRS looks for in your industry when examining returns, and links to other tax information.
Simplified Tax and Wage Reporting System (STAWRS). Employment tax reporting has been made a little easier by access to online information at Biz.gov (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html). Here you'll find a one-stop guide for meeting your employer obligations.
Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance. The SBA has joined with the IRS to provide a special CD-ROM called "Small Business Resource Guide: What You Need to Know About Taxes and Other Products." It is available free of charge. Also, IRS tax experts now participate in SBA Business Information Centers where tax forms and publications are available.
BARBARA WELTMAN is an attorney and a trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is the author with such titles as J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and Smooth Failing, and she contributes regularly to American Express OPEN and SBA.gov. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report. Weltman is also the publisher of Idea of the Day and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business at www.barbaraweltman.com and hosts radio shows and podcasts, including Build Your Business radio. She has been named one of the 100 Small Business Influencers in the U.S. for the third year in a row. @barbaraweltman