With a little more than a month remaining before the deadline for filing federal and state taxes, Citizens Bank is encouraging small business owners to ask themselves a series of questions as they prepare for the April 15 deadline.
“Preparation and organization are critically important for small businesses during tax season,” said Jerry Sargent, President of RBS Citizens and Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are encouraging our small business customers to be certain of their obligations as well as the opportunities associated with filing their tax returns this year.”
In addition to using small business tax services or consulting with a professional, Citizens Bank encourages small business owners to consider the following seven questions:
1. “Is my company organized and prepared to file our tax returns?” Before beginning the process of filing a tax return, small business owners should be sure all information regarding income and expenses is accurate and up to date. As this information is the basis of every tax return, it is worth the investment of time to ensure its accuracy.
2. “Have we carefully considered all appropriate small business tax deductions for 2012?” Both federal and state tax codes make allowances for small businesses to deduct a number of expenses on a tax return. The list of expenses that qualify as small business tax deductions is extensive and can be confusing. By working with an accountant, small businesses can determine exactly what expenses are – and are not – deductible.
3. “Has my company made any investments in equipment that might be tax deductible?” An accountant can give your small business tax help and explain the parameters and calculations for claiming deductions on any capital investments a business makes in new equipment. If your company made investments that helped run the business in 2012, you may be able to deduct these costs on your small business taxes this year.
4. “Have we documented and verified any charitable contributions made by our company in 2012?” Many small businesses support charitable programs and community events. Be sure to understand the tax considerations associated with these philanthropic efforts. In most cases, a contribution made to a registered 501(c)3 organization is tax deductible.
5. “Are we doing all we can to collect on past-due accounts?” One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is the collection of past-due accounts. If a vendor or customer has not responded to your invoices, partnering with a collection agency or dedicating a fixed amount of time each week toward contacting these past-due accounts by phone or in person could prove to be a cost-effective use of time.
6. “Is it time to review my business plan?” Tax time may be the right time to take a look at a company’s business plan to see if it needs to be updated, adjusted, or expanded to account for changes in the local or regional economy or to take advantage of changes in a particular industry.
7. “Have I met with my accountant and banker to review 2012 and plan for 2013?” Just as it is sensible to have regular check-ups with a doctor, it makes good business sense for a small business to be in regular contact with its accountant, financial advisor and banker.
A leading provider of financial services to small businesses, the Citizens Bank Business Banking team offers a variety of in-person and online tips, tools and business loan calculators to help small business owners develop strategies to improve cash flow and manage their business for growth and success. The bank’s diverse offerings include small business loans, cash management tools and business services like banking benefits for employees.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with one of Citizens Bank’s local Business Bankers online or by calling 1-800-428-7463.