Are you a contractor bidding on work that requires a surety bond? Do you have questions about what a surety bond is, why you might need one, and how to get one? If so, SBA may be able to help. SBA guarantees surety bonds for small contractors that might not qualify otherwise – and the process of getting the guarantee is easier and faster than you might think. For example, SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees usually processes applications for bond guarantees within two days, processing claims in just nine days. In this...
Because of a quirk with a local holiday in the District of Columbia, April 17th is the deadline to file your 2011 small business taxes this year. Whether you use the services of an accountant or file your own taxes, there are still some things you can do to ensure you file properly, avoid audits, and claim the right tax deductions. Keep Good Records You probably hear this from tax advisors and accountants all year long, but proper record-keeping year-round is the first step to ensuring your taxes are filed accurately and that you have the...
Back in 2010, SBA guest blogger Susan Solovic shared some statistics about the self-perpetuating challenges that female business owners have when it comes to growing their businesses and accessing capital: Less than three percent of women-owned businesses cross over the million dollar threshold in revenue. Access to growth capital (a critical factor in growing a successful, sustainable business) is a challenge for women business owners. However, research by the former Center for Women's Business Research – now the Global...
If you’re a sole proprietor with no employees and very little business overhead, what you pay yourself is pretty much what you earn in sales minus your costs and taxes. But what happens when your business grows, or you enter a partnership, or take on employees – how do you determine what your salary should be? As a business owner, setting your own salary can be a tricky task, especially in markets that see highs and lows. Here are a few tips to help you determine the best way to "pay the boss.” No Magic Formula There is...
If you’re a consultant, freelancer or any business that charges by the hour, you are going to have to determine and continuously review your pricing structure. For example, do you charge by the hour? What’s a reasonable rate to ask? Are you better off charging clients on a project basis? Here are some tips for calculating your hourly and project rates and how to negotiate pricing with your client. 1. Determining Your Worth Deciding what to charge clients is a balancing act between market factors, business...
As a new business owner, understanding your tax obligations is critical and one of the first requirements you’ll need to understand are estimated tax payments. What are estimated taxes? Who must pay them and how? Below are some facts from the IRS Estimated Tax Guide to help new small business owners understand their estimated tax obligations. What Are Estimated Taxes? The IRS and your state’s treasury department require that individuals and businesses pay taxes almost as quickly as they earn income. If taxes aren’t withheld...
Written by Caron Beesley Did you start a home-based business in 2011? Confused about what home office costs you can deduct when you file your tax return for 2011? The IRS home office deduction gives many small business owners a tax advantage allowing them to write-off certain home costs. However, it’s important to understand the rules of the road so that you don’t raise red flags with the tax authorities. The following tips will help you assess whether you are eligible to claim the deduction, what it covers, and how to go...
Collecting sales tax is one of the most confusing aspects of transacting business – online and off! In fact, questions about sales tax are among the most frequently asked on the SBA.gov Community “Filing and Paying Taxes” discussion thread. Questions abound. When does sales tax apply? What transactions are exempt? What happens if you are selling online or to someone outside your sales tax jurisdiction? Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding into e-commerce, here’s what you need to know about...
Did your business incur expenses before you were technically “open for business”? Did you know that you can write off some of these expenses against your business as soon as you are operational? Read on for tips and information about deducting startup costs, plus advice about when you may not want to immediately claim these deductibles. What Are Deductible Startup Costs? The IRS defines “startup costs” as deductible capital expenses that are used to pay for: 1) The cost of “investigating the creation or...
Establishing good credit is essential if you intend to apply for a business loan. But it’s not just for loans anymore – a good credit score can also help you: Secure a business credit card Open a merchant account Benefit from lower insurance premiums Build relationships and get flexible payment terms from suppliers Rent commercial property Lease or buy business vehicles But how do you establish and maintain a healthy business credit score? What if your personal credit score isn’t as good as it should be?...
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