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IRS.gov Undergoes a Quiet Evolution; Revealing Invaluable Online Tax Tools for Small Business

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IRS.gov Undergoes a Quiet Evolution; Revealing Invaluable Online Tax Tools for Small Business

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: April 29, 2010 Updated: March 28, 2013

Once just the domain of downloadable tax forms and a prime candidate for a Plain Language overhaul, the IRS.gov web site has undergone a low-key, yet shout-out worthy, transformation in recent years; and this is good news for small business.


The IRS web site (www.irs.gov) is in fact now the home of numerous online tools designed to help small businesses and the self-employed better understand their tax obligations as well as help them improve their overall financial literacy.


This new customer-centric approach is all about using the speed, ease and accessibility of the Web to reduce the administrative burden that can weigh so many entrepreneurs down.


So without further ado, her-s a summary of some the most invaluable online tools and resources that IRS.gov has to offer small businesses.


1) IRS Virtual Tax Workshop for New Small Businesses


I first wrote about the IRS Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop earlier in April when tax season was in full swing. But, in fact, this interactive online tax information and training tool can help small business owners understand and navigate their tax obligations year-round.


Launched in February 2010, the Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop (also available on CD) consists of nine stand-alone lessons that can be customized by users to meet their specific needs. It literally covers all aspects of being a responsible tax payer and business owner- from record-keeping to filing, managing payroll taxes to maximizing business expenses and home office deductions.


Users can access the workshop online at http://www.tax.gov/virtualworkshop/. There are lots more IRS small business online learning and education products including the downloadable (and print edition) of the IRS Small Business Tax Calendar, resources in Spanish, and more.


2) IRS Video Portal for Small Business Taxpayers


I actually stumbled on this gem by accident when I entered www.tax.gov in my browser instead of www.irs.gov. What I found was the official IRS Video Portal which houses a library of video clips of tax topics, archived versions of live panel discussions and webinars, as well audio podcasts on a range of topics that are relevant to the small business taxpayer.


From income tax preparation and filing guidance, to tips on starting or changing your business, this site is a real goldmine for any business owner who really wants to get their arms around running a financially savvy business.


3) IRS Retirement Plans Navigator


Finding and managing the right retirement plan for you business (whether you have employees or are a sole-proprietor) is a huge undertaking and one not to be entered into lightly.


This online Retirement Plans Navigator was created by the IRS, to help small employers find and compare a variety of retirement plan options based on their particular needs. The tool also helps you maintain your plan in accordance with changing tax laws. You can even make the appropriate plan changes without having to notify the IRS. When it comes to money management and retirement planning, it does't get much easier than this!


4) Sales Tax Deduction Calculator


Launched in 2007, the IRS Sales Tax Deduction Calculator is a free tool that makes it easier to deduct state and local sales taxes when filling out federal income tax returns. The calculator has sales tax rates already built-in making it quick and easy to calculate your deduction using just your zip code and some information from your 1040.


5) The IRS Meets YouTube


Hosting over a hundred videos and tutorials in English, Spanish and American Sign Language*, the IRS YouTube Channel* is constantly updated in synch with the tax calendar and includes business and individual tax tips and tutorials from tax experts and real IRS employees. To hone in on tax videos specific to small business, visit the Business.gov Finance and Taxes YouTube Channel for easy navigation of IRS videos.


Related Resources


Business.gov Small Business Tax Center' Consolidating Essential Tax Tools and Tips - The Small Business Tax Center on Business.gov is essentially a one-stop shop portal that consolidates tax tools, tips and resources from across government to help business owners stay abreast of their tax obligations.


*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.


About the Author:

Caron Beesley


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

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