tax season, taxes, countdown, list

If you have kids, you know that feeling.

Maybe they came home grumpy from a bad day at school. Maybe they stormed in from playing outside with siblings or friends who were teasing them. Maybe they've been misbehaving and earned themselves a time-out.

Whatever the reason, after the dust has settled, you find yourself creeping up the stairs to their room to check on them, with that feeling growing stronger in your heart as you approach their closed door.

It's a combination of dread (should I expect another freakout?) and deep, compassionate love. After all, you know hard it is being a kid. And how often have you wished you could throw a full-blown tantrum when life deals you a bad day?

That feeling isn't far off from how we at The Bottom Line feel on this blog when tax season is coming down to the wire.

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A Little Tax Season Love

We know that you're stressed out–maybe only a little, but maybe a lot.

We know that you're working as hard as you can to stay positive while you wait to hear from your CPA how much you're going to owe Uncle Sam this year.

We know that you're dreading the weeks of belt-tightening that come after filing your return.

We wish that we could prepare returns for every single one of you. Or at least that we could sneak you a plate of your favorite cookies, like we do for the kids after they've had a bad day.

We just wanted to say hang in there, guys.

You'll get through this. You always do, every year.

And even though taxes create a little bit of a pinch during April, remember that you have eight whole months ahead of you to build that business bigger and better than ever…and to set up a financial plan that will power you through next tax season!

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Don't Miss These Upcoming Deadlines for Tax Season 2015

  • March 15: Corporate taxes due
    You'll need Form 1120 and Form 1120S. (You're welcome.)
  • April 1: Lots of things due!
    Gross receipts, business taxes, annual reports, personal property tax returns, etc. All of these are related to your state, city and county. To make sure you nail them all, do your research and/or consult your accountant.
  • April 15: Personal return, partnership return, 1st quarter estimate
    In addition to your Form 1040 (duh), you also need to send in your partnership tax return (Form 1065) and your 1st quarter estimate tax payment for 2016.

A Few More Tax Return Tips

Get a healthcare tax credit 

If your business employs fewer than 10 full-time-equivalent employees with average wages under $25,000 per person, you could qualify for a 2015 health care tax credit of up to 50 percent. (Click here for form 8941 that will help you calculate your eligibility for this credit.) If your business did not owe taxes in that year, you may be able to carry the credit forward. If a remainder of the tax premium exists, you can claim business expenses against it.

Careful with that home office deduction!

Just because you work out of your home doesn't make it a home office…at least, not in the government's eyes. Check out this IRS page to figure out if you can legally claim your home office on your tax return, and what specific expenses can be deducted.

Deduct section 179 property

Small businesses can opt to deduct the full amount of certain property that qualifies as Section 179. (Click here to find out the full list of what qualifies.) Be aware, though, that you can only deduct this property as expenses in the year your business began using them.

Be extra ethical

A small business owner may do some things that are more likely to get IRS attention than others. If you're claiming deductions that exceed your income after the first year of being in business, that will be a definite red flag for the feds. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take all the deductions you're legally entitled to…just keep really good records, label everything and don't get “creative.”

If you need to, get an extension!

There's nothing wrong with filing for an extension if you need the time to get things done right. You can obtain an automatic tax-filing extension for six months by clicking here for Form 4868.

The Bottom Line

Here at The Bottom Line HQ, we have a solemn pact that helps us get through the craziness of tax season. Our pact is to do no business on April 15. The day after tax filing, we close our doors, turn off our phones, ignore our emails, and everyone goes out and does whatever they want. (I'm going to the spa for an hour-long facial and a massage.)

That day is X'd out in red on all our calendars, and looking at it helps push us through these crazy days. So why don't you do the same? Make a plan that, as soon as you've dropped your return in the mail, you'll go out and do something relaxing/fun/crazy/exciting. You owe it to yourself. (See what we did there?)

How does tax season make you feel? Visit our Facebook page to vent–don't worry, we can take it!