Starting a business from scratch is an exciting time, but it’s important to be mindful of the various implications that come along with being a business owner and having a taxable income. There’s so much to understand about income taxes–tax deductions, Medicare taxes, payroll taxes, tax liability–it seems like it never ends! Given that taxes can be a complex and confusing topic, we’ve compiled an easy-to-understand guide with the tax implications of starting a new business.
Business Structures and Their Tax Implications
The first step in understanding the taxes associated with starting a business is to choose the right business structure. There are basically four types of business structures, each with its own specific income tax rules.
A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single individual. This type of business is the simplest to start and maintain, and it offers several advantages, including complete control and flexibility. The main disadvantage to consider, is that you are personally liable for all debts and obligations associated with the business.
Tax Implications of Sole Proprietorships
When it comes to taxes, sole proprietorships are taxed as personal income, which means that the owner is responsible for paying both personal and business taxes. This can offer some tax benefits, such as the ability to deduct business expenses.
- easy to set up
- very little paperwork
- complete control over the business and decisions
- personally liable for all debts and obligations
- can be difficult to finance
- limited funds
- no separation between personal and business
- responsible for paying self employment tax
A partnership is a business structure in which two or more people share ownership of the business. Partnerships can take a variety of forms, but all involve some degree of shared decision-making and responsibility. Partnerships can be formed between individuals, businesses, or even government agencies.
Tax Implications of a Partnership
The implications of partnership business structures vary depending on the type of partnership and the jurisdiction in which the business is located. In general, partnerships are taxed as pass through entities, meaning that the partnership itself is not subject to taxation. Instead, the partners are taxed on their share of the partnership’s profits.
- easy & inexpensive to set up
- shared financial contributions, labors / skills, pooled resources
- shared profits and losses
- partnerships can offer tax benefits
- profits & losses are passed through to the individual partner’s personal tax returns
- personally liable for debts and obligations of the business
- may be complex to manage
- disputes between partners might be tricky to resolve
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
LLCs are a popular choice for small businesses because they offer many of the same protections as a corporation, but with fewer formalities and compliance requirements. This business structure provides the benefits of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship.
Tax Implications of a Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business entity that offers its owners protection from personal liability for the debts and obligations of the LLC. An LLC has the flexibility to choose how it will be taxed–as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.
- personal liability protection
- offers a choice of two taxation methods: pass through or S-corps
- possible tax savings
- not protected from liability in all situations
- can be more expensive to maintain than other business structures
- need to file annual reports
- subject to self-employment tax
- may be subject to state and local taxes pending on location
One of the main benefits of incorporating your business is that it can offer significant tax advantages. As a corporation, your business will be subject to corporate income tax. This means that your business will pay taxes on its profits at the corporate tax rate.
Tax Implications of a Corporation
The implications of a Corporation business structure can be both positive and negative. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners, and as such, it pays taxes on its own income.
- taxed at a lower rate than most other business structures
- can take advantage of certain deductions and credits not available to other businesses
- offers limited liability protection for its owners
- subject to double taxation (their own income and their shareholders)
- setting up can be costly and time-consuming
- subject to more government regulation
- stricter record keeping requirements
How to Determine Your Business Structure
Deciding on the right business structure is an important step in starting a business. We’ve put together some pertinent questions to ask yourself to help determine which business structure is right for you:
How much control do you want over the business?
If you prefer to have complete control, then sole proprietorship is the best option. If you’re okay with sharing control, then a partnership or corporation would be an option.
How much liability are you comfortable taking on?
A sole proprietorship or partnership means that you’re personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. A corporation offers limited liability, which means that you’re not personally responsible if the business can’t pay its debts.
How complex do you want the business to be?
A sole proprietorship or partnership is relatively simple to set up and run. A corporation is more complex and requires compliance with additional regulations.
What are your tax obligations?
All business structures are taxed differently, so it’s important to understand the implications of each before making a decision.
Do you expect to operate at a loss for the first years?
Estimating your operation expectations for the first year can impact your business structure. If you expect to operate at a loss you may want to consider an LLC, which allows you to deduct losses from your personal income taxes.
Do you plan on investing profits back into the business?
If you plan on investing profits right back into the business, then you may want to choose a structure that offers income tax benefits, such as an S corporation. This will allow you to reinvest profits without being subject to double taxation.
Is there a potential you will get sued?
A tough but crucial question that needs to be asked. If you are in a business with a high risk of legal action, you will want to choose a structure that limits your personal liability. For example, if you are operating as a sole proprietorship, you will be personally liable for any debts or damages incurred by the business. On the other hand, if you form an LLC or corporation, your personal assets will be protected in the event of a lawsuit.
Do you plan on having employees?
If you are planning on having employees, how many? For businesses with employees, a sole proprietorship or partnership is usually not the best option. Instead, it is often better to set up a corporation or limited liability company.
Do you plan on going public?
When going public, the business will need to have a certain type of business structure in order to do so. The most common type of business structure for publicly traded companies is the C corporation. In a C corporation, the business is its own legal entity that is separate from its owners.
Whichever structure you choose, make sure to consult with an attorney or accountant to ensure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to set up your business correctly.
Next Steps For Filing Business Taxes
There are a few different things you need to take into account when filing business taxes, including your business structure and the type of taxes you need to pay. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips to help you get started.
First, you need to determine your business structure. Are you a sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, or something else? This will determine which tax forms you need to file. There are federal, state, and local taxes that may apply to your business. Once you have all of this information gathered, you can start the process of filing your taxes.
If you’re still not sure where to start or what to do next, there are plenty of resources available to help you. Speak with your accountant or tax lawyer to get professional advice. There are also many helpful articles and guides online. Whatever you do, make sure you start the process early so you don’t end up missing any deadlines!
Frequently Asked Questions about New Business Taxes
Starting a business is a huge undertaking. Taxes can be complicated and there are many questions that need to be answered. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about new this type of tax:
How much does it cost to prepare business taxes?
The cost of preparing taxes for a business can vary depending on a number of factors such as how complex the tax return is. In general, however, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
How do you separate business and personal taxes?
One of the main ways to separate business and personal taxes is to use separate bank accounts. This way, you can clearly see which expenses are related to your business and which are for your personal life.
Another way to keep business and personal taxes separate is to get an income tax ID number for your business. This will help you to file your business income and expenses separately from your personal taxes.
How much can a business earn before paying taxes?
A small business will generally have a lower tax burden than a large corporation. A business has to earn a certain amount of money before it has to start paying taxes. This threshold differs depending on the type of business.
Businesses can deduct certain expenses, like the cost of goods sold or employee salaries, from their taxable income. This can reduce the amount of taxes a business has to pay.
What happens if I forget to file?
Filing your taxes is an important responsibility with severe consequences if you forget to do so. From late filing fees usually a percentage of the unpaid taxes for each month that a return is late, to interest charged on the unpaid amount that accrues daily. As you can see, forgetting to file will result in fees and penalties that will quickly add up.
Know that it’s always best to file your taxes on time, even if you can’t pay all of what you owe right away. The IRS has a variety of payment plans available, so you can work out a solution that works for you. It’s also better to file late than not at all.
We have provided you with a lot of information regarding the tax implications of starting a new business. Although it can seem very overwhelming, we are here to encourage you that with proper research and relying on experts in the field you can succeed! There are a lot more articles available to you on our website and free email updates to make this process as stress free as possible.