How Much to Set Aside for Taxes in a Small Business [2024]

Running a small business can be an exciting venture, but it comes with its fair share of financial responsibilities, one of which is dealing with taxes. As a business owner, understanding how much to set aside for taxes is crucial to maintaining financial stability and compliance with the law. In this high-level overview, we will explore the key considerations for business owners when it comes to taxes, including the types of taxes that need to be paid, the consequences of underpayment and overpayment, the unique challenges of balancing a full-time job with a side business, and the advantages of enlisting the services of a small business tax attorney.

Before continuing this article, please read our articles on Section 119 and Amended Tax Returns to explore how you can still utilize more benefits even if you failed to claim them in prior years.

Also, for information on the Section 199A Qualified Business Income Deduction, click here.

Types of Taxes That Need to Be Paid

When it comes to taxes, business owners often find themselves juggling various tax obligations. Understanding the different types of taxes is essential for setting aside the right amount of money and ensuring compliance with the tax authorities. Here are some common types of taxes that small businesses may need to pay:

  1. Income Tax: Business owners are typically subject to income tax on the profits generated by their businesses. The tax rate may vary depending on the legal structure of the business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.
  1. Self-Employment Tax: If you are self-employed, you are responsible for paying both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes, known as self-employment tax. This tax can add up, so it's important to account for it in your tax planning.
  1. Sales Tax: Businesses that sell goods or services subject to sales tax must collect and remit these taxes to the appropriate state or local authorities. The rates and rules can vary significantly by location.
  1. Payroll Taxes: If you have employees, you must withhold payroll taxes from their wages and contribute your portion of these taxes. This includes federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax.
  1. Property Tax: If your business owns real estate or personal property, you may be liable for property taxes. The amount owed depends on the value and location of the property.
  1. Excise Tax: Certain types of businesses, such as those involved in the sale of alcohol, tobacco, or gasoline, may be subject to excise taxes on specific products.

The 30% Rule

The 30% rule suggests that small business owners set aside approximately 30% of their gross income to cover federal, state, and local tax liabilities. While this percentage can vary depending on individual circumstances, it serves as a starting point for tax planning. Here's how it works:

Calculate Gross Income: Begin by calculating your business's gross income, which includes all revenue generated before any deductions or expenses.

Apply the 30% Rule: Take 30% of your gross income, and allocate this amount toward your tax savings. This serves as a proactive approach to ensure that you have the necessary funds when tax time comes around.

Adjust for Specifics: Keep in mind that this rule is a general guideline and may not be suitable for every situation. Factors such as your business structure, tax deductions, and credits can influence your actual tax liability. Consulting with a tax professional can help you fine-tune this estimate to your specific circumstances.

Consequences of Underpayment and Overpayment

Balancing your business's financial health while ensuring you meet your tax obligations can be challenging. Underestimating or overestimating the amount to set aside for taxes can have significant consequences.

  • Underpayment: If you underestimate your tax liability and don't set aside enough money to cover your taxes, you may face penalties and interest charges from tax authorities. These penalties can accumulate and have a detrimental impact on your finances.
  • Overpayment: On the other hand, overestimating your tax liability and setting aside too much money can lead to cash flow problems. While overpayment itself does not result in penalties, it ties up your capital that could be better used to grow your business or invest in opportunities.

To strike the right balance, it's advisable to work with a qualified tax professional who can help you estimate your tax liability accurately and develop a sound tax strategy.

Working a Full-Time Job and a Running Side Business

Many small business owners start their ventures while maintaining full-time employment elsewhere. Balancing the demands of a regular job with those of a side business can be taxing in more ways than one. When it comes to taxes, it's essential to consider the following:

  1. Income Reporting: You must accurately report all income from both your full-time job and your side business on your tax return. Failure to do so can lead to audits and penalties.
  1. Deductible Expenses: Keep meticulous records of expenses related to your side business, as these can often be deducted from your taxable income. This includes expenses such as office supplies, marketing costs, and mileage.
  1. Self-Employment Tax: As mentioned earlier, self-employment tax can be a significant burden for business owners. Make sure you understand your self-employment tax obligations for both your full-time job and side business.
  1. Tax Planning: Given the complexity of managing taxes in this situation, consulting a tax attorney or accountant is advisable. They can help you navigate the intricacies of dual income and ensure you are not overpaying or underpaying your taxes.

Advantages of Using a Small Business Tax Attorney

Navigating the intricacies of small business taxation can be daunting, but there are advantages to seeking professional guidance. Here are some compelling reasons to consider enlisting the services of a small business tax attorney, such as Castro & Co.:

  1. Expertise: Small business tax attorneys are well-versed in tax law and regulations, ensuring that you remain in compliance with ever-changing tax codes.
  1. Tax Planning: Tax attorneys can develop a personalized tax strategy that minimizes your tax liability while keeping your business in good standing with tax authorities.
  1. Audit Assistance: In the event of an audit, having a tax attorney by your side can provide peace of mind. They can represent you and ensure your rights are protected during the audit process.
  1. Maximizing Deductions: Tax attorneys can identify all eligible deductions and credits, potentially saving you money on your taxes.
  1. Legal Protection: If your business encounters legal tax issues, a tax attorney can provide legal counsel and represent your interests in court if necessary.
  1. Time and Stress Savings: Delegating tax-related tasks to a professional allows you to focus on growing your business and alleviates the stress of tax compliance.

In conclusion, understanding how much to set aside for taxes in a small business is a vital aspect of financial management for business owners. Different types of taxes, potential consequences of underpayment and overpayment, and the unique challenges of balancing a full-time job with a side business all require careful consideration. To navigate these complexities and maximize your tax efficiency, consider seeking the expertise of a small business tax attorney. Castro & Co. is here to assist you and your small business on your journey towards financial success and compliance with tax regulations.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or tax advice. Readers are advised to consult with qualified tax professionals before making any financial decisions.

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