Which Tax Forms Do I File as a Small Business Owner?

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Do you know what tax forms the IRS requires from your small business? Learn what forms each type of small business needs to submit in order to be compliant. Depending on your business type, you need to file tax forms that report your business’ income for the year. The IRS requires different paperwork for the different business structures–Sole Proprietors, LLCs, and S Corps. While there are different forms for the varying business structures, taxable income for small businesses is generally calculated in the same way.

Sole Proprietors

Sole Proprietors and Single Owner LLCs, report business income on a Schedule C. A Schedule C form is filled out and attached to a personal tax return (1040.) A Schedule C reports your business’ income and losses. To simplify the process, some small business owners opt to fill out a Schedule C-EZ instead. This simplified version of a Schedule C omits the details and just asks for your business income and expenses. There are some stipulations to using the EZ form, though. You can only fill it out if you operate one sole proprietorship, do not report more than $5,000 in business expenses, are reporting a net profit, don’t hold business inventory during the year, have no employees and are not claiming a deduction for a home-office.

If you file a Schedule C for your business, you’ll likely also need to file a Schedule SE. (Schedule SE stands for “Self-Employment Taxes.”) Being self employed means that you don’t have an employer withholding money from your paycheck to cover Social Security and Medicare Taxes; therefore, you have to pay them yourself. If your sole proprietorship or single member LLC earns more than $400 of net profit, you’ll need to fill out this form in addition to the Schedule C.

Because Schedule C’s are filed with personal returns, the filing deadline is the usual April 15th. (April 18th in 2016.)

LLS and S Corps

LLC and S Corporations report business income on Form 1120.  This form is for reporting income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits, and also for figuring your income tax liability for the year. You should file form 1120 separately from your 1040. Form 1120 is more detailed than a Schedule C form.

A Form 1120 must be filed by the 15th day of the third month following the close of the tax year, which for most taxpayers is March 15. You cannot send this form to the IRS with your personal income tax return.

Still have questions about which forms you need to file for your small business? Send us a quick message and we’ll help you out.

Ben Sutton

Ben Sutton

Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.

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