It’s that time of the year again when it’s out with the old and in with the new. This month is the ideal time to clean out business files to get a fresh start for the new year and get paperwork organized. Here are some tips to help small business owners get ready to file their 2012 taxes and get ready for 2013:
In 2010, the IRS audited 1.0% of taxpayers. For middle-income taxpayers, the percentage was even lower. Only 0.6% with adjusted gross income of $25,000 to $75,000 were audited, according to the IRS.
But traditional audits are just one way the IRS enforces the tax laws. Increasingly, the IRS is relying on what IRS Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson calls “unreal” audits. These typically come in the form of a letter alerting you to errors or omissions on your return. While these audits are less intrusive than full-scale audits, they can still cost you real money.
Here are a few more:
- Federal income tax-bracket For a married couple filing a joint return, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15% bracket from the 25% bracket is $70,700 for this year, up from $69,000 for 2011.
- The standard deduction is up slightly. For singles, the basic deduction amount for this year is $5,950, up from $5,800 last year. For married couples, it’s $11,900, up from $11,600 in 2011. There are additional amounts for those who are 65 or over, blind or both.
- The dependent exemption is $3,800 for 2012, up by $100 from 2011.
- The maximum earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers and working families rose to $5,891 for 2012, from $5,751 in 2011. The maximum income limit for the EITC rose to $50,270 from $49,078 in 2011.
- The foreign earned income exclusion rose to $95,100 from $92,900 for 2011.
- The IRS’s optional standard mileage rate for using your car for business remain unchanged at 55.5 cents for 2012. Drivers have a choice of using this rate or deducting the business portion of actual expenses.
As the end of the year approaches, small business owners need to meet with accountants or tax preparers to review tax-planning strategies. “Every accountant is going to be sitting with their entrepreneur clients in the next few weeks to see what they can do, both on the business- and the personal-tax side, before the end of the calendar year”