This article will guide you through the small business tax maze and describe in details the various tax types your small business may be expose to. Use the article to learn which federal and state taxes you, as the owner of a sole proprietorship, general member in an LLC or officer of an S. Corporation is responsible for.Federal Income TaxThe Internal Revenue Code (the IRC) is the source for imposing income tax on small businesses. The tax code treats each entity type a little different but in the end the income tax on the business taxable profits is payable by the small business owner. Sole Proprietor has to file schedule C to report business income and expenses and then report the taxable income on form 1040 where he discloses all of his income sources. Member of a partnership or an LLC reports his/her share from the business taxable income on form 1040 and Owner of an S. Corporation does the same. The rates of the federal income tax that a small business owner will pay depend on his/her filing status and residency status. For current tax rates please refer to IRS Publication 17 To register with the IRS you must fill out IRS form SS4 to obtain Employer ID Number (EIN).State Income TaxIf your business is operating in a state that imposes income tax on business income, you will be liable for that tax in addition and regardless of the federal tax due on the same income. Very few States (Seven to be exact) do not impose income tax and among them are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Two others, New Hampshire and Tennessee, tax only dividend and interest income. In general state income tax rates range from the lowest rate of 3% in Illinois to the highest rate of 11% in Hawaii. To register with each State’s Department of Revenue, you must complete the applicable registration forms to obtain State Tax ID Number.Payroll taxAs soon as your business start hiring part or full time employees, it will be subject to Federal & State tax withholding from the employees’ gross wages (For current Federal Withholding rates please refer to IRS Publication 17 and for the Stare withholding rate, please refer to the State’s Revenue or Finance department), Social Security, also known as FICA (currently at 6.2% of gross wages is the employer’s responsibility and the same amount is the employee’s contributions with cap of $106,800 on gross wages) and Medicare (currently at 1.45% of gross wages is the employer’s part and the same amount is the employee’s contributions), Federal & State income tax withholding (at the rates publishes by the IRS and each State’s department of Revenue), Federal Unemployment, also known as FUTA (currently at a rate of 0.008 of gross wages up to $7,000 per year) and State Unemployment, also known as SUTA, at rates assessed by each State Unemployment Insurance Department. To register with each State, you should complete an employer application with the Department of Revenue and open an account with the State’s Unemployment Insurance Department.Sales TaxSales tax is tax imposed on gross sales made to end users (as appose to resellers who purchase the product for inventory) and has many names: transaction privilege tax, gross receipts tax, general excise tax and more. The tax is imposed by each State, and in many cases includes Base Rates for all States residents and then additional rates that vary by county and city. Rates of sales tax vary by States with few States that impose zero percent tax (such as Delaware, Montana & Oregon) and others that impose rates in excess of 10% (such as Chicago Illinois)About TaxDreams.comThe leading source of information for small business taxes. Access free guides, articles, tips and tools that help you to stay in compliance and browse products & services that will make your business more efficient and keep more money in your pockets.
Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Is there a difference, and does it matter?There is a difference, and it’s easy to confuse the two or use the two terms interchangeably. A Small Business Owner owns their own business, but also actively participates in that business. Often the Small Business Owner is critical to the ongoing success of the company. Without him or her, the business either does not exist (i.e. medical, legal, accounting, consulting, freelancing) or would suffer greatly in the owner’s absence for any period of time.We often use the term “Solopreneur” to refer to the individual practitioner who is their own boss but must personally deliver a service or create a product for their business to generate revenue. While this may certainly be better than working for someone else, it’s still about trading time for money – and time is our most limited resource.Whether you are a Solopreneur or a Small Business Owner, you likely own a business that depends primarily on you. Perhaps the business is run by you and a couple of other founders. The point is, only a few people know and can execute on the secret recipe at the foundation of your business. And those key people must be present for the business to operate.An Entrepreneur instead builds a business and supporting systems that are independent from the founder. The founder may well be an integral (or exclusive) part of the businesses initially, but the goal is always to grow the business to the point where the owner does not have to be involved in day-to-day operations. When you build a business that continues to generate revenues in your absence, then you have created a truly leveraged model and can call yourself an Entrepreneur.Many of us start as Small Business Owners, enjoy success, and grow our companies. We may then move on to creating a larger business that does not require us to be present, and we graduate to the level of Entrepreneurship. If we repeat this multiple times, then we may call ourselves Serial Entrepreneurs.”Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
Howard Stevenson, Harvard Business School Professor.
You may not be clear at the start as to which one you want to grow up to be, an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner. But by asking yourself a series of hard questions, and honestly assessing your true desires, you are more likely to start a business that suits you best. And it’s certainly acceptable if you want to be Small Business Owner… we are not saying that’s a bad thing. But it’s important for you to begin understanding the difference between the two as it may impact the type of business you build and how you plan to develop it.It’s also important to avoid creating another low-paying harder-working “job”, like the one you may already have! Michael Gerber explains this situation best in his seminal book “The E-Myth”. This book is a must read for small business owners, with one of its major themes being the difference between working “in” your business (you make the pies) versus working “on” your business (others make the pies following your recipe and systems).As you prepare to become your own boss, or if you have already started a small business, it’s important to keep your long-term vision in mind. Doing so will help you determine the type of business you start and build, helping ensure that you achieve your definition of success.Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Here are some questions to ask to help you determine want you really want:
Do you want to own just one or two locations (i.e. one or two franchise units, or your own practice) or do you want to create something bigger with multiple locations and perhaps grow internationally (i.e. offer franchises and hire others to run the business)?
Do you want to work in the business (i.e. make the donuts) or do you want to have someone else manage the day-to-day operations (i.e. someone else makes the donuts following your instructions)?
Are you looking for a job or are you looking to create a self-managing company (a business that does not rely on your day-to-day presence for success)?
Do you prefer to create or do you enjoy executing?
Do you envision creating multiple different businesses across multiple industries?
Are you able to let go of all of the details, or are you a micro-manager?
Are you the only person who can deliver your service or product, or can you teach others how to do it?
Is your goal to work hard until a certain age and then retire, or continue creating and leading your businesses until you are no longer mentally capable?
Can you sell your business as it currently operates and without you having to continue being part of it?