Back to Basics

Learn about tax rules and tax codes, and what they mean to your business.

Business Income Defined
Do you know what the tax code means? Before you take any deductions or credits, know what the tax law has to say about what constitutes business income.
Small-Business Taxes FAQ
Answers to frequently asked questions about small-business tax obligations

Business Structure

What form you choose for your business has tax implications.

Structure Your Business with Tax Cuts in Mind
Deciding whether to incorporate, and which business entity to choose, can be a challenge. Now a slew of new tax concerns for individuals and small firms has added another wrinkle to the process.
What Kind of Business Should Your Business Be?
If you're starting a business, one of the first questions you need to answer is what kind of legal form your business will take. The form you choose will affect the taxes you pay, who can invest in your company, and your financial security.
Sizing Up Business Structures
Figuring out the type of business to open is only half the battle of an entrepreneur. Your choice of business structure will largely determine how your business income will be taxed.
Acronym Acrimony
Along with naming your company, deciding which entity your business should become is one of the first decisions you'll ever make.
Perfect Form
Choosing the right business structure can save you money and headaches. This CEO tried three different corporate forms before she found the one that made the most sense for her business.
Putting Your Company on the Block
The form you've chosen for your business will have affect your personal tax obligations when you sell it.

Deductions and Write-Offs

Maximize what you can deduct, and discover what you can write off by knowing what constitutes legitimate business expenses.

Tax Planning for Tough Times
These company owners took advantage of some key tax breaks to help ease their cash-flow troubles.
Understanding Small-Business Tax Deductions
Thankfully, you can reduce your tax burden by deducting most of what you spend in the course of business.
Deductions Your Small Business Shouldn't Miss
Keep an eye out for these often-overlooked ways to cut your tax bill.
Taxing Matters for the Home Office
For entrepreneurs who carefully track their business expenses and keep comprehensive tax records, the home-office deduction can add up to a lucrative benefit.
Track Hardware Depreciation
Keeping track of aging small equipment purchases can pay off at tax time.
Strategies for Your Business's Excess Inventory
Before year-end take appropriate steps to trim your excess inventory -- and gain tax benefits as well.
Writing Off the Cost of Business-Related Debt
Generally, interest on business loans is fully deductible against business income. But there are some limits on business-related interest deductions to consider.
Who Should Own the Business Car?
The answer depends on several tax and nontax factors. Here are some things to consider in making your choice.

Audits and Record Keeping

The key to surviving an audit is not to panic but to prepare.

Audit Risks for S Corporations
Set to begin in late 2005, the IRS will randomly select 5,000 S corporations to audit. Here's what you should know if you become one of the unlucky few targeted for an audit.
Preparing for an Audit
Don't panic; be prepared. Your business can survive the scrutiny of the IRS.
What Auditors Look for When Examining a Business
Get the inside scoop on what IRS agents will be sniffing around for in your business's books.
Preparing for Worst-Case Scenarios
Four accounting professionals share audit horror stories. Then they share ways to avoid getting caught in those snares.
Three Record-Keeping Steps to Start the New Year Off Right
Records are an essential element in claiming deductions on your taxes. Here's how to keep them in order to ensure you don't miss out on savings.
Keeping Business Records for Tax Purposes
Saving records for tax purposes can be cumbersome, but keeping a few key records might save you trouble down the road.

Employees and Taxes

Find out how to comply with the tax requirements of having employees and how to reduce your tax obligations.

IRS Allows Tax Payments By Credit Card
Starting this year, business owners will be able to pay employment taxes -- Forms 940 and 941 -- with plastic.
What Small Employers Need to Know about Employment Taxes
Don't be remiss on paying employment taxes. Here's what you need to know about having employees and the associated responsibilities you have to the IRS.
Payroll Tax Strategy
Hire a payroll service to ensure you're making payroll tax filings.
Expense Accounts for Travel and Entertainment
If you cover your employees' business travel and entertainment expenses, set up an "accountable plan." It will save you and your employees money.
Stretching Your Benefits Dollars
Providing employees with a flexible spending account can give them and the company attractive tax benefits, along with a way to help them meet their medical care needs.

Personal Taxes

Here are strategies for reducing your audit risk and protecting your personal wealth.

A Charitable Tax Break
Setting up your own private charitable foundation lets you give to your favorite causes and reduce your current income tax in the process.
John Menard's Tax Crackup
When the home improvement magnate paid himself $20 million, the IRS slapped him -- hard. If your salary is too high, you could be next.
Self-Employed as Audit Targets
The IRS claims that most tax cheats are in the ranks of the self-employed, so it's not surprising that this group is more closely scrutinized than wage earners.
Reduce Your Audit Risk
Your odds of getting audited by the IRS are much higher as a business owner than if you were a corporate employee. Here are the biggest personal audit risks you may face, and what you can do about them.
Audit Survival Tips
Twenty tips for surviving an audit.
Pay Yourself Right
Hefty owner compensation raises a red flag with the IRS. Understand the consequences of an inflated salary and how you can protect yourself from an audit in case you're questioned.
Cover Your Assets
Estate taxes can kill a fast-growing company by forcing heirs to sell in order to meet high tax liabilities. Doing a little planning now may ensure that your business survives and prospers even after you're gone.
Tax Benefits for Worthless Securities
Own any stocks in or bonds issued by defunct dot-coms or other companies that went under? The tax law can help provide a bit of relief.
Smart Ways to Put Money into Your Small Corporation
If your business needs a cash infusion, consider putting the money in yourself, but make sure that you add these new funds in a tax-advantaged way.

Tax Bills

Can't pay your tax bill? Here are a few strategies for reducing and eliminating tax debt.

Let's Make a Deal
If you find yourself in hot water with the IRS, don't fret. In some instances, you may have an opportunity to negotiate a reduced settlement.
IRS Installment Payment Plans
Negotiating a payment plan with the IRS might sound like a great option, but weigh its pros and cons before you consider it.