Tax Challenges for Small Business Owners

by Hank Coleman

Small Business Income TaxesYou’ve worked your accounting and payroll department to the bone working on tax challenges for your small business.  Finally, everybody’s W-2s have been sent out, and you are totally positive that they are 100% correct.

Now it’s time to relax, right? Nope. You’re a small business owner, and there are tax challenges for small business.

Now you get to focus on your company’s taxes for the coming year and making sure you get those correct. This is a little harder because every year the tax codes change and this year there are some whoppers out there that could really bite you if you don’t take care of them properly. There are tax challenges that small businesses must understand.

Tax Challenges for Small Businesses

Affordable Healthcare Act

Bankrate.com lists “Obamacare” as its top potential tax challenge. This is true both for personal taxes and for payroll taxes. Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, this is the first year that you will be required to provide healthcare for your employees (if you have 50 or more of them). Failing to provide these benefits will result in fines for your company and those fines are expensive.

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If you’ve been providing benefits all along, your payroll and accounting processes probably won’t change much. If you haven’t offered benefits before now, though, you’re going to have some catching up to do. Talk to an accountant and to someone at the IRS to make sure that you understand exactly how your payroll and benefit accounting processes are supposed to work and the codes that you have to follow. Make sure your payroll department is up to date on these as well.

Family Benefits Packages

2014 was a great year same-sex marriage as a bunch of states decided that these unions could no longer be discriminated against or prevented. This is great news for people who have been waiting to be allowed to get legally married! It also means that, unless you live in one of the now very few states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, your benefits packages are going to change.

The vast majority of this responsibility falls on the employee’s shoulders. It is up to the employee to request that his or her partner be added to an existing benefits package and to fill out and turn in the required paperwork in a timely manner. After it is turned in, though, it is up to your company to make sure those changes get reported both to the insuring company and to your payroll department.

Why does your payroll department need to know? Because changing a benefits package usually means changing the amount of money that is deducted from the employee’s paycheck and, if that is not deducted correctly from the beginning, it could throw off your company’s taxes later.

Tax Challenges – Payroll Process

It’s 2015. Why are you still issuing paper paychecks to your employees? Paper paychecks make extra work for your accounting department and, often, more work for your employees.

You could switch over to a digital/electronic payment module to help eliminate some of the hassles both for your payroll department and your employees. Direct deposit is one of the options that is available to you. Issuing payment cards is another (and is particularly helpful for employees who might not have a bank or credit union account).

The primary benefit of electronic and digital payment transfers is that they are all processed the same way. They streamline the reporting process for your payroll department which helps them work more efficiently.

It also helps employees who will be glad to not have to make trips to a bank or check cashing place to get the money they’ve earned (the longer they take to do this, the harder things are for your payroll department to track and accurately report their wages).

If you haven’t already made an appointment to sit down with your accountant, there is no time like the present to do so. Just because W-2s have gone out and your estimated tax payments per a calculator have been processed doesn’t mean you can relax! The more prep you do now, the less catching up you’ll have to do later!

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 589 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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