Enhance Tax Preparations with Smart Software Tools

Tax software and payroll programs simplify a small business' relationship with the IRS. The les time you spend preparing taxes, the more time you have to run your small business.

Whether a small business owner chooses to prepare her own taxes or enlists the aid of a tax professional is a matter of personal choice. Some people have a gift for numbers, while others prefer the security and guarantees offered by a professional tax accountant.

Tax Preparation Software

If you file your own taxes, you might as well simplify the process as much as possible. Tax preparation software for small businesses helps keep your pre-April 15th headaches to a minimum.

Two programs dominate the SBO tax software market: H&R Block at Home Premium and Intuit TurboTax Business. Both programs use a question and answer format to simplify tax preparation as much as possible. Based on your answers to in-program questions, the software performs all necessary calculations and fills in IRS forms for e-filing.

Both software programs allow users to import data. Intuit offers easy import from QuickBooks files, while H&R Block at Home imports the previous year's tax information from its own system or TurboTax. In case of problems and questions software databases cannot answer, both programs allow users to consult with on-call tax professionals.

Accounting with Quicken

Staying organized throughout the year makes tax preparation much easier — ask any accountant who's had to deal with a shoebox full of receipts. While a number of accounting and budgeting programs exist, Quicken is a standard for many businesses.

Quicken's success lies in its versatility. A small business owner can organize multiple accounts, track expenses, isolate tax-deductible expenses and calculate payroll taxes, all from Quicken.

Intuit offers an online payroll service in conjunction with Quicken. In addition to simplifying employee and contractor payments, the service automatically calculates payroll tax deductions, and allows users to withhold payroll tax deductions, which are paid and filed electronically though the service.

Financial Apps

While not tax preparation software, small business smartphone apps help business owners track expenses, calculate taxes for invoices and, when necessary, find professional tax assistance.

Expense apps such as Expensify and BizXpense Tracker simplify the onerous task of saving expense receipts. Instead, just take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone. The apps store the receipt photos, and, in the case of Expensify, convert receipt information into an easy-to-read report.

Billings Touch is another helpful app with taxation applications. A time tracker and invoice app, Billings Touch calculates necessary invoice tax, including international taxes.

Sometimes, no matter how savvy your accounting skills, you need the advice of a professional tax accountant. The Teaspiller app matches up small business owners and tax professionals based on the nature of the small business. The app also allows you to get a quote before engaging a tax professional's services.

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