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William Perez

2012 Corporate Returns Due September 16

By August 29, 2013

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I always know when summer is over when I look at my calendar and realize that we have deadlines coming up. In particular, the extended deadline for filing corporate returns is Monday, September 16th. Here's some resources from my About.com colleague Jean Murray to help you finish up a corporate return for your small business.

If you haven't started on your corporate return, then gather your documents. Small businesses need to gather financial statements such as a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet. Your accountant may want to see additional documents, such as copies of payroll returns, confirmations of retirement plan contributions, or other supporting documents.

Review the corporate tax forms and instructions. Even if you hire an accountant, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tax forms relevant to your corporation. As you familiarize yourself with the forms, you may realize you have some questions. That always makes for a good conversation starter when you meet with your accountant.

Review your tax return for audit risks. The IRS sometimes audits small corporations. Having been through a few small business audits myself, I know that good documentation is essential. When looking over your return with your accountant, ask yourself what might be missing, or what might be some risk factors. CPA attorney Shannon Nash discusses nine ways to strengthen your tax return against the possibility of an audit.

Don't overspend on tax penalties. The penalties for filing a corporate return late can get expensive quickly. And by late, I mean filing after the extended deadline (which is September 16th, 2013, for year 2012 returns). The IRS can charge a penalty of $195 per month per shareholder for S-corporation returns.

Contributions to SEP-IRA or 401(k) also due by 9/16 for corporate taxpayers.

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