1. Maintain your business bookkeeping throughout the year. One of the best ways to make your yearly tax preparation easier is to keep track of your financials throughout the calendar year. If you have a bookkeeper, then make sure they are reconciling your accounts on a monthly or at least a quarterly basis. Not only is this helpful for tax purposes, but you can make better decisions about how to run your business on a day to day basis with this up to date financial information. Then, when your CPA asks for reports to do your tax preparation, you will have everything ready to hand off in a timely manner. No stress!
2. Track your mileage during the year using a mileage app, like MileIQ. Waiting to the end of the year to go back and try to determine the amount of miles you drove to and from clients' weddings or events can be difficult and just overwhelming. If you track the mileage at the time it happens and use an app on your phone, you'll have all of that information at your fingertips for tax preparation purposes.
3. Set aside money throughout the year to offset your tax burden in April. Depending on the type of business you are and how much you make on a yearly basis, you may have taxes taken out of your paycheck or even pay quarterly taxes. But, if you are a small business, classified as an LLC or Sole Proprietorship, you will likely have to come up with a large tax payment on a yearly basis. Having a business savings account, which are typically free with a checking account, at most banks, is a great way to put away a little money each month - or during the busy wedding season - so you have money available to pay taxes in April. You can even work with your business' accountant or CPA to determine an estimate amount that you should save.
4. Make a list of all the documents that your CPA just requested to do your taxes for this past year. While it is fresh in your mind, make a checklist or print out the email that tells you exactly what your CPA requires from you in order to complete and submit your taxes. When next year rolls around, you'll already know what is needed and have it ready to go quickly.
5. Contact your CPA in the Fall of this year to schedule them to do your taxes for the next year. Give them plenty of notice that you want to work with them (or work with them again) and see if you need to do anything to support having your taxes done in time for April 15th. CPAs have crazy schedules starting in January and some refuse to take new clients after that time.