Tax season can be stressful for accountants and small business owners. The process can run smoother if everyone is on the same page regarding the documentation needed to properly prepare a return. But what do you need to provide to your tax preparer? We will take a look at what you, as a small business owner, need to provide to your accountant for your business tax returns. 8 Essential Items to Provide to Your Accountant for Your Business Taxes Each tax preparer will have their own list of requirements for preparing a return, but most tax preparers will want to see the following eight items. 1. Financial Statements Your financial statements are the most critical items you need to provide to your accountant. Your accountant will want your income statement, balance sheet, and (maybe) a cash flow statement. Most accountants will also want backup documentation—such as your general ledger or access to your accounting software—to verify certain transactions. When giving these statements to your accountant, make sure that you’ve double-checked the time period to ensure that it matches up with your tax year. 2. Tax Forms While your accountant will be preparing your business tax return, they’ll need some other tax forms to put the return together. W-2s and W-3 W-2 and W-3 forms will justify the wages and payroll taxes paid by your company. You may also want to provide your quarterly payroll tax filings. 1099s The various types of 1099s applicable for your company. The forms include 1099-Ks, which are sales through third-party payment processors (like Merchant Services, Paypal, or Venmo), along with 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC, which show payments made to you directly from your clients. Sales Tax Filings You should provide any sales tax filings, so that your accountant can verify that your income on the tax return matches the amount provided to your local sales tax authority. Prior Year’s Tax Return If you’re working with a new accountant, you’ll need to provide a copy of the prior year’s tax return. This will allow them to check for any carryovers and ensure that the beginning balances match last year’s ending balances. 3. Payroll Records You also need to provide their accountant with payroll records. These records include information on each employee's wages, taxes withheld, and any benefits provided. They also include information on any deductions or contributions made to retirement plans or other employee benefits. These records also allow your tax preparer to determine if you are eligible for any tax credits for wages paid to your employees. 4. Business Expenses Most tax preparers do not audit the financial statements or expenses provided by their clients. However, you should be prepared to give your preparer receipts, invoices, and other documentation for expenses. If you pay these expenses through a separate business account or business credit card, it will be easier to locate and summarize your expenses at tax time. Thorough records will help ensure that you’re maximizing your tax deductions. Keeping track of expenses throughout the year is much easier than trying to hunt down records and expenses at the end of the year. Depending on the complexity of your business, you can keep track of your expenses in a spreadsheet or accounting software. 5. Depreciation Schedule If your business owns any assets that are expected to last for more than one year—such as equipment, furniture, or vehicles—you need to give your accountant a depreciation schedule. This schedule shows the cost of the asset, the expected useful life, and the amount of depreciation taken each year. If you’re working with the same accountant each year, they will already have a copy of your depreciation schedule, and you will just need to let them know if you purchased new assets. 6. Inventory Records If your business sells physical products, you need to provide your accountant with inventory records. These records show the beginning and ending inventory levels, as well as any purchases or sales made during the year. Having accurate inventory records is important for calculating your cost of goods sold and determining your company's gross profit. 7. Sales and Expense Reports You need to provide your accountant with sales and expense reports. These reports show the company's sales and expenses by category, such as rent, utilities, and advertising. Having these reports helps your accountant prepare the necessary tax forms and identify any potential deductions or credits that your business may be eligible for. 8. State and Local Tax Forms You should provide your accountant any state and local tax forms that you have filed throughout the year. These forms vary by location, but may include sales tax, franchise tax, or other state and local taxes. Final Thoughts By providing all of the necessary information and documents to your accountant, you can ensure that their tax returns are accurate and avoid any potential issues with the IRS. Additionally, providing this information can also help the accountant identify any potential deductions or credits that the business may be eligible for, which can ultimately save you money on your taxes. To pull this off, it's important for small business owners to stay organized throughout the year and keep track of all of their financial records. This can include using accounting software to track income and expenses, keeping receipts and invoices, and maintaining accurate payroll records. By staying organized, you can make the tax preparation process much easier and less stressful. You should also be aware of any tax deadlines and ensure that you provide all of the necessary information to your accountant in a timely manner. This can help prevent any issues with the IRS and ensure that the business is in compliance with all tax laws and regulations. Finally, remember that accountants get busy during tax preparation season, so the earlier you can provide your information to your tax preparer, the better.