Personal & Business Tax Prep Guide

Small businesses calculate their business profit or loss for income taxes, then include this information on their personal tax returns. This small business tax guide will help you determine which forms to use and how to compile information for these forms.

Do I Need a Tax Preparer for Personal & Business Tax Return?

A very simple small business with no cost of goods sold or assets to be depreciated might be able to use a tax software program, but most small businesses need a tax preparer.

Partnership income taxes can be very complicated and even a simple Schedule C might be more difficult than you think. Before you enlist the help of a CPA, Enrolled Agent, or other qualified tax preparer to prepare your business taxes, use the information in this Guide to help you get ready for business taxes.

Personal & Business Tax Checklist

  • Gross receipts from sales or services
  • Sales records (for accrual based taxpayers)
  • Returns and allowances
  • Business checking/savings account interest (1099-INT or statement)
  • Other income
Cost of Goods Sold (if applicable)
  • Inventory
  • Beginning inventory total dollar amount
  • Inventory purchases
  • Ending inventory total dollar amount
  • Items removed for personal purposes
  • Materials & Supplies
  • Advertising
  • Phones (landline, fax or cell phones related to business)
  • Computer & internet expenses
  • Transportation and travel expenses
    • Local transportation
      • Business trip (mileage) log
      • Contemporaneous log or receipts for public transportation, parking, and tolls
    • Travel away from home
      • Airfare or mileage/actual expense if drove
      • Hotel
      • Meals, tips
      • Taxi, tips
      • Internet connection (hotel, Internet café etc.)
      • Other
  • Commissions paid to subcontractors
    • File Form 1099-MISC and 1096 as necessary
  • Depreciation
    • Cost and first date of business use of assets
    • Records relating to personal use of assets
    • Sales price and disposition date of any assets sold
  • Business insurance
    • Casualty loss insurance
    • Errors and omissions
    • Other
  • Interest expense
    • Mortgage interest on building owned by business
    • Business loan interest
    • Investment expense and interest
  • Professional fees
    • Lawyers, accountants, and consultants
  • Office supplies
    • Pens, paper, staples, and other consumables
  • Rent expense
    • Office space rent
    • Business-use vehicle lease expense
    • Other
  • Office-in-home
    • Square footage of office space
    • Total square footage of home
    • Hours of use, if operating an in home daycare
    • Mortgage interest or rent paid
    • Homeowner’s or renters’ insurance
    • Utilities
    • Cost of home, separate improvements and first date of business use
  • Wages paid to employees
    • Form W-2 and W-3
    • Federal and state payroll returns (Form 940, Form 941, etc.)
      • Employee benefit expenses [This needs to be left-aligned with “Wages paid to employees”]
      • Contractors
      • Form 1099-MISc
      • Form 1096
  • Other expenses
    • Repairs, maintenance of office facility, etc
    • Estimated tax payments made
    • Other business related expenses
      • Health insurance [This needs to be left-aligned with “Other expenses”]
      • Premiums paid to cover the sole-proprietor and family
      • Premiums paid on behalf of partners and S corporation shareholders
      • Information on spouse’s employer provided insurance