As a business owner, it’s important to understand your federal, state, and local tax requirements. This will help you file your taxes accurately and make payments on time. The business structure you choose when starting a business will determine what taxes you must pay and how you pay them.
Business taxes cover a wide range of categories:
All businesses, except partnerships, must file and pay taxes on any income earned or received during the year. Partnerships file an annual information return to report income, gains, losses, and other important tax information. Almost every state imposes a business or corporate income tax, though each state and locality has its own tax laws. Find out the business income tax requirements in your state or territory.
If you have employees, there are federal tax requirements for what you must pay and the forms you have to file. These employment taxes include Social Security and Medicare taxes, federal income tax withholding, and federal unemployment (FUTA) tax. In all states, businesses must pay state workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance taxes.
The federal government taxes businesses that manufacture or sell certain products. You may also have to pay this tax in other situations, including if your business uses various types of equipment, facilities, or other products. Learn about federal excise tax requirements and the forms you must file.
Each of the 50 states have different definitions of what property is taxable. Some states collect property tax from businesses in commercial real estate locations. Certain states also collect property tax for business assets, such as vehicles, computer equipment, and peripherals. The amount of tax you pay is calculated by the total value of the property or on a certain percentage of the value. Search for property tax requirements in your state.
Sales and Use Tax
States may impose a tax on the sale of goods and services. Check whether your business has to register to pay and/or collect sales tax in your state. Exclusions in sales tax often include food, clothing, medicine, newspapers, and utilities.
States may also tax your business on the use of goods and services when sales tax has not been collected. This typically applies to goods and services purchased outside of the state where you conduct business.
You must pay federal tax on income that is not subject to withholding or when the amount of your federal income tax being withheld is not enough. Find out if your business has to pay estimated taxes and the steps to follow.
When conducting your own business, you must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes to be covered under the Social Security system. Learn about who must pay self-employment tax and how to pay it.