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Get income taxes, business plans ready

December 07, 2011
  • Poor
Poor

Q: With 2012 fast approaching, what year-end strategies does SCORE endorse for small businesses? Are any local workshops or seminars planned?

A: SCORE and Hagerstown Community College are sponsoring a tax seminar Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will introduce a new workshop titled "Simple Steps to Grow Your Business" Thursdays, Feb.2, 9 and 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. Both presentations will be in room 323 of the Technical Innovation Center building at HCC. The tax seminar is open to all and free of charge. To register, call 301-766-2043. To register for Simple Steps, call 240-500-2236. The series costs $81 and the cost for single sessions is $36 each.

There are a number of good year-end articles available on the Internet. With thanks to About.com, this year-end checklist for small businesses will help you get your income taxes in order and get your business planning off to a good start.

1. Get your financial books in order. Get help if you need it, but get it done now.
2. Determine your position; figure out where your business is now. There are three areas you need to examine:

  •   Finances: The balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement. Once you have examined these, dig a little deeper by checking your business' current ratio, total debt ratio and profit margin. It won't take long with your balance sheet in front of you.
  •  Goals: Evaluate your goals from last year. Now that you know where your business is financially, it's time to take a look at how it got there. Pull out your business plan and any other planning documents, such as last year's action plan, and review last year's goals.
  • Successes? Misses? These will come in handy when you do your business planning for the current year (step three of this year-end checklist).
  •  Taxes: Evaluate your current tax strategies. If you need to, talk to a professional such as an accountant and/or a tax lawyer about which tax strategies would be best for your personal and business circumstances.
3. Plan for the coming year. Set next year's goals, prepare an action plan or plans, and start implementing them.
4. Get your tax documents prepared.

  That's it — you're done.

  We all know how important business and tax planning are, but they are easy to put off in the press of daily events.

  Hopefully this year-end checklist has inspired you to get to it and make your business planning easier.

  Call SCORE at 301-766-2043 if you need help. It's free!

Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business counselor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at r.poor@myactv.net or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

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