You may be lamenting the fact that stores already have Halloween decorations out but, here at The Bookkeeper, we are already preparing for year-end.

In an effort to help our clients (and everyone else) get ready, we’re putting out a list of things you can start doing now to ensure a smooth first quarter and segue into tax season.

Hire a tax preparer.

reviewing documentsIf you don’t already have a CPA or EA lined up for your year-end taxes, start interviewing now. They will get very busy by the end of the year, and the good ones tend to fill up on clients quickly. (If you need a referral for a good tax preparer, we are happy to provide some!)


Get last year’s records handy.

bindersIf you are using a new tax preparer, they will likely want to see a copy of your prior year tax returns. If available, a copy of your balance sheet from the end of the prior year will be helpful, as well.




Check your sub-ledgers.

magnifying glassIf you have a copy of your balance sheet handy, it’s a good idea to go ahead and take a look at your sub-ledgers, your Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. It may be that interest hasn’t been properly recorded on some of your loans, and that you are missing out on a deductible expense there. Or, if you are accrual-basis and have receivables outstanding, you want to either follow up on those clients for payment, or write off any unrecoverable invoices, so you aren’t liable for taxes on income which you’ll never receive.



Review uncleared transactions and amortizable expenses.

reviewing documents

If you are filing accrual-basis, you will also want to be sure you have a record of checks which were written but have not cleared the bank, as these expenses should be deductible in the same calendar year they were incurred.

Also, if you have any assets on the books for prepaid expenses, be sure those were expensed properly throughout the year, so they will lower your taxable income.


Prepare your 1099 list.

wrist watchYou will be liable for filing 1099s for any non-incorporated service provider to whom you have paid over $600 in cash receipts within the calendar year. To file 1099s, you will need a W-9 from each vendor fulfilling that criteria, and a total of how much you paid them this year.

What’s worse is that 1099s are actually due not at tax time, but at the end of January, and the penalties for late or missing 1099s are stiff. So start gathering that information now!


Start your payroll reconciliations.

writing in notebookIf you have staff, or yourself, on payroll via an outsourced service, it’s a good idea to review the reports on a quarterly basis, to make sure that what you have in your set of financials matches the payroll provider’s records. You want to also ensure that any taxes they have taken on the responsibility of paying have been paid in a timely fashion.

W-2 corrections take time, and you can be liable if W-2s are late. If there’s an issue in your payroll reporting, it’s best to locate it before year-end, when the payroll companies will be at their busiest.

Finally, don’t forget that any bonuses you plan to pay employees around the holidays are treated as W-2 earnings, and should be run through regular payroll.


Pay your quarterly estimated self-employment taxes.

time moneyPaying in on a quarterly basis is a good way to avoid a massive tax bill the following spring. But be aware, the next due date is only 9 days from now, on September 15th!





Make sure you’re not missing anything.

puzzleBe certain there’s a record of any business expenses you might have paid out of personal accounts, and that any transactions which have been uncategorized to this point are properly allocated. And if you find that it’s been an unexpectedly successful year and you need to lower your taxable income, (particularly if you’re cash-basis), you might want to consider going ahead and paying for some of your typical January expenses earlier, in December before the year ends.



Ask for help, if you need it.

hands in togetherIf you’re finding that you don’t have an up-to-date set of books, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re already behind, the last thing you want to worry about is catching up your books over the holidays. We’re here to take that off your plate so you can focus on the things that matter most to you at this time of year.