Ready to do some planning? There are plenty of resources to help with tax planning and preparation. 1. IRS.gov
is the official government Web site. It contains downloadable forms and a wealth of information, so much that it can be intimidating. A good starting point for real
estate professionals is the Small Business and Self-Employed Community section at www.irs.gov/smallbiz
. There you’ll find everything from tax-related news releases to an online classroom. Publication 3207, The Small Business Resource Guide CD-ROM is a must. 2. Tax guides.
Tax guides are published each year by noted authorities, such as the perennially popular “Ernst & Young Tax Guide” and “J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax.” To help you find the one best suited to your needs, look for reviews in major newspapers and magazines and on business Web sites. Because tax laws change frequently, it’s essential to have the most current editions to ensure the accuracy of the information. They are available in stores and online from booksellers like Barnes and Noble, Borders and Amazon.com. 3. Software.
A variety of tax software programs are on the market, including Intuit’s TurboTax (turbotax.com
) and H&R Block’s TaxCut (taxcut.com
) programs. Be sure to pick software designed for businesses, not individuals. Prices vary widely depending on the brand and version purchased, with most running between $20 and $100. The software is readily available online and can be found at business supply stores like Staples and Office Depot, as well as electronics and computer stores. The programs guide you through the tax filing process, prompting for pertinent information, directing you to appropriate schedules and worksheets, and doing the calculations for you. However, they are only as effective as the data you enter and your understanding of it. They cannot correct for lack of tax planning and documentation of income,
expenses and deductions. Tax software is most effective when you already have a strategy in place. 4. Web sites.
Smart Money’s small business site: www.smsmallbiz.com/taxes/
; Inc.com’s how-to guide for tax strategies: www.inc.com/guides/legal/20687.html
and Nolo’s legal site: www.nolo.com
(click on the Small Business Taxes FAQ link) can also provide valuable information.