CHATHAM — A small business owner said that for the past eight years she has struggled when it came to properly filing her taxes — going through at least five different tax preparers — but she doesn’t believe that will be an issue anymore after attending a community tax preparation presentation on Tuesday.
The Chatham Business Association invited its new members, which consisted of local business owners, to attend a presentation on filing taxes. The information came from Paul Harrison, the tax clinic director for the Center for Economic Progress. Attendees met at the association's headquarters, 800 E. 78th St. from 9-11 a.m.
Deena Tiggs started a cleaning service, D&R Cleaning Services Inc., in 2006, where she was the sole proprietor. She said she wasn’t really sure which tax form to fill out, and things got even more complicated when her business became incorporated last February once she hired three employees.
After listening to Harrison list the do’s and don’ts, Tiggs has decided to use his organization’s help this tax filing season. The Center for Economic Progress is providing free assistance with filing through April.
“I’m going to switch my tax person this year,” she said. “I want to make sure I am doing the right thing, I never want the IRS to knock on my door."
And neither does Englewood resident Denita Tittle, who launched Ms. Tittle’s Cupcakes last year after retiring from the Postal Service after 27 years. She said she didn’t know that it was recommended for business owners to go to a Certified Public Accountant. Now that she has been educated of the right steps to take, Tittle said she plans to use the Chatham Business Association’s list of referrals.
Harrison said that business owners can avoid being audited by the IRS if they follow one simple procedure throughout the entire year.
“Right now they should be looking back at 2014, assembling their records, getting together all of the information they will need to bring to complete their tax return,” he said.
To stay organized, he suggests using calendars for appointments, logbooks for income and expenses and a mileage log to keep track of traveling. He also recommended making quarterly tax payments to avoid a large bill in the spring.
Melinda Kelly, executive director of the business association, said she believes bringing in Harrison was a good move because her organization is always trying to educate small business owners to help to them avoid problems that should never happen in the first place.
“Tax time is upon us, and one of the things we tried to stress through his presentation is that preparation is the key because the IRS is a huge animal to be quite honest for a small business,” she said.
"When things go awry with the IRS, it really can hurt you, especially if you’re a Minority Certified Business; you can’t engage in or benefit from anything with the government when you owe taxes so the paperwork has to be in order,” she said.
Kelly said the Center of Economic Progress is a great resource that she hopes her members utilize.
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