Tax season is your favorite time of the year, right? Either way, it’s a good idea to get familiar with some of the most common types of taxes businesses pay. That said, this is not tax advice, and I strongly recommend hiring a tax professional to help you navigate the complexities of your individual situation. Let’s jump right in.
This one is pretty easy to conceptualize because even individuals pay this tax. Unlike individuals, though, businesses do not pay income tax on their income. Instead, it is paid based on the profits you generate as a business. That is to say, after taking in revenue (income) and paying all related business expenses, you are left with some amount of money. That is the amount on which you pay income taxes. When you hear about someone “writing off” a business expense, this is why they do it. It lowers their tax burden because the additional expense reduces the amount of profit on which the business owes taxes. I’m not sure why they don’t just call them profit taxes, but here we are. There are special adjustments that your accountant will make for certain expense categories, but we’ll leave that to them and not get into it here.
If you hire employees or pay yourself through your business, you will owe payroll taxes. There are quite a few items here, but any good payroll provider (like Gusto) will streamline this process and make it easy for you to stay compliant. I recommend using a service to handle payroll to most businesses because of the intricacies of calculating payroll taxes for each employee and the frequency with which deposits have to be made with the government. Payroll taxes can be “employer paid” and/or “employee paid”. The first is a tax that is only paid by the employer, and which does not reduce the employee’s net pay. The second is a tax that is also paid by the employee, which gets deducted from their take-home pay.
Sales & Use Tax
Certain sales of goods or services required you to collect and remit sales tax to the government. This is why you pay sales tax as a consumer when you buy things at the store. The rate your business charges is set by your state and whether or not it is an origin or destination based sales tax state. Each state has its own sales tax rules and It is not always a simple matter to determine if you should be collecting sales tax and at what rate on the goods and services you sell. This is one area where a tax professional can more than pay for themselves.
Real and Personal Property Tax
These taxes are charged based on the taxable value of all the property your business owns. Just like a person who owns a home has to pay property taxes, a business pays taxes on any real estate it owns. The term “personal” here is misleading, but refers to any other assets the business owns (equipment, furniture, inventory, etc.) that also gets taxed. The rates vary based on where your business is located so make sure to check with your CPA.
Tax matters can be confusing and there are many more to consider than what I’ve listed here.
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