Tax Preparation Checklists To Help You Get Your Tax Documentation In Order

Small Business Owner
Tax Preparation Checklist

This is a tax preparation checklist for small business owners. This list contains a basic outline for gathering the documentation that is needed to prepare your tax return.

This list is intended to help you put together all the paperwork needed to insure you are taking advantage of any tax breaks that can help you pay the lowest amount of taxes you are legally required to pay based on you income and tax deductions.

The IRS offers Small Business and Self-Employed tax preparation documentation support for taxpayers who file Form 1040,

Small Business Record-Keeping Checklist

Operating a small business requires some well organized accounting practices that will help you keep your paperwork in check and take advantage of deductions as well as small business tax credits that can lower your overall tax bill.

For small businesses with assets under $10 million

Small Business Owner Tax Preparation Checklist

click to print tax preparation checklist for small businesses

Small Business Income

  • Gross receipts from sales or services
  • Sales records (for accrual based taxpayers)
  • Inventory (if applicable)
  • Beginning inventory
  • Inventory purchases
  • Ending inventory
  • Items removed for personal purposes
  • Returns and allowances
  • Business checking/savings account interest (1099-INT or statement)
  • Other income

Small Business General Documentation

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Operating Agreement, etc.
  • Copy of current period balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Trial balance and general ledger
  • Prior year financial statements
  • List of all business owners including:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Social security numbers
    • Percent of ownership
    • Date ownership acquired
    • Detail of distributions
    • Schedule of owner fringe benefits received
    • Schedule of loans to/from owners including loan agreements
    • Details of any related party transactions
  • Copies of all payroll forms and 1099 forms for the year
  • Amounts of any estimated tax payments
  • Listing of dividend and interest income
  • Vehicle information and use, including vehicle leases
  • Info on employee benefit, retirement, health insurance plans, etc.
  • Details of meals and entertainment expense
  • Internal Revenue Service correspondence received during the year
  • List of any activities in other states
  • Details of fixed assets and depreciation schedules
  • A copy of 1-3 previous year’s Federal and State tax returns

Employment Taxes

  • Federal income tax
  • Social Security
  • Medicare taxes
  • FUTA, self-employment tax

Deductions for Small Businesses

  • Home office or business location expenses
  • Interest expense
    • Mortgage interest on building owned by business
    • Business loan interest
  • Office supplies
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Telephone
  • Furniture
  • Computers and equipment
  • Software and publications
  • Legal fees
  • Automobile mileage
  • Travel, meals, entertainment
    • Transportation and travel expenses
    • Airfare or mileage/actual expense if drove
    • Business trip (mileage) log
    • Hotel
    • Meals, tips
    • Taxi, tips
    • Internet connection (hotel, Internet café etc.)
    • Local transportation
    • log or receipts for public transportation, parking, and tolls
  • Business gifts
  • Insurance premiums
    • Business insurance
    • Casualty loss insurance
    • Errors and omissions
  • Retirement contributions
  • Advertising
  • Commissions paid to subcontractors
  • File Form 1099-MISC and 1096 as necessary
  • Depreciation
  • Cost and acquisition date of assets
  • Sales price and disposition date of any assets sold
  • Fringe benefits
  • Employer-paid pension/profit sharing contributions
  • Employer paid HSA contributions
  • Employer-paid health insurance premiums
  • Cost of other fringe benefits
  • Self-employment tax (Social Security)
  • Hiring your child


  • Square footage of office space
    • Office square footage for (home office deduction)
    • Total square footage of home (not applicable for daycare business)
    • hours of use for daycare business
    • Mortgage interest or rent paid
    • Utilities

Employee and Contract Labor

  • Wages paid to employees
  • Form W-2 and W-3
  • Federal and state payroll returns (Form 940, etc.)