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6 must-haves to include in your legal checklist of mid-sized small business

The summer has officially started. This means beaches and barbecues, summer holidays for kids, and maybe a little extra juggling for parents. It also means that we are in the middle of the year, making it the perfect time to evaluate the legal and tax health of your business.

If your business tends to slow down a bit during the peak of the summer, take this opportunity to browse through this checklist and see where you are. These may not be the most exciting tasks, but when the summer is over and your days become more hectic, you will be happy that they are removed from the list.

Mid-Year Legal Checklist

Meet a tax advisor – and make sure you understand the Tax Reform Act

For years, I've always recommended to small business owners to meet their accountant, accountant or tax preparer in the summer, when everyone has more time to discuss issues financial. year. This year, it is all the more important with the passing of the Law on Tax Reductions and Jobs. Because, honestly, do you understand the new corporate tax rates, the 20% deduction for intermediate entities, the new rules for capital cost allowance or the use of vehicles, or what impact does that have? will it have on your business?

The IRS, as well as the professional accounting and taxation community, worked hard this year to provide more clarity and direction on the new reform project tax. The IRS has a page on their website dedicated to tax reform – it is updated regularly as new guidance, information and resources are made available. Check it out, and if you have not already discussed the structure of your business with a tax advisor (or done your own homework), set aside some time this summer.

Setting up an accounting system

If you have not already done so, you should set up a solid accounting system for your small business – and I'm not talking about a bunch of Excel spreadsheets or stacks of paper on the corner of your desk. There are many cloud and software systems that can help you track the finances of your business, organize them, get paid, and possibly even save money on taxes. These tools will help you manage the financial side of your business throughout the year, so you can work smarter and not harder.

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Here are some systems to choose from; each of these tools is highly recommended with a loyal clientele (but there are many others that might work for you too). QuickBooks Self-Employed allows you to track customers, create invoices, track expenses, estimate quarterly taxes and more. FreshBooks Cloud Accounting is easy to use and allows you to track your time, manage quotes and invoices, accept payments and create reports. For companies that require complete accounting software (with payroll options, bank reconciliation, etc.), there is Xero Accounting. And, last but not least, Wave is a popular free accounting system with additional options for payroll processing and more.

Apart from the time to work on the company

It is often said, "Work for your business and not for your business." When you run a business, you can take care of every second of the day, but these tasks do not necessarily work for you. . If you constantly focus on daily tasks and react to every request, email or problem, it means that no one plans, plans and grows the business in the long run. This means that you will run faster and faster to stay in one place.

This summer, be sure to spend time on your schedule to work on creating new businesses and your company's long-term strategy. Some choose to focus on new business each morning until 11 o'clock; others schedule on Friday afternoons or Monday mornings. If you have staff, start delegating more daily tasks to free up your time to set goals and think about the future. Stay disciplined about it (no matter how many daily fires there are to extinguish) – the only person who can actually grow your business is you.

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Make sure your business is compliant

Throughout the year, we have all slid administrative tasks – after all, you have customers to help, employees to manage and a business to develop. Take the time to answer some of the most mundane but important legal requirements.

For example … make sure your business is in good standing with the state. If you are structured in LLC or in a corporation, have you filed your annual reports as needed? Have you reported significant changes (such as change of address) to the state? Are franchise taxes in your state up to date? What about your sales license or other local licenses? If you use a registered agent as an official contact, is this common?

None of these tasks are particularly fun, but not remedying them can result in costs and penalties – and in the worst case, you risk losing your personal protection and compromise your personal property.

Retirement Plan

Stealing alone as a business owner makes it crucial to put money aside for retirement. There is no employer to make sure your 401 (k) is set up – you have to do it yourself. If you have not already done so, take the time to establish a retirement plan or reassess your contributions. Contributing to a SIMPLE ARI, the 401 (k) Solo Plan, the Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) or other pension plan is a vital way to plan your future and reduce your taxable income. Specific rules, contribution limits and deadlines vary depending on the plan. Talk with a commercial, financial or tax advisor to establish the right retirement plan, and see if there are any other retirement plans (such as traditional defined contribution plans or profit sharing plans) that could work for your small business.

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Invest in your well-being

Any small business owner knows that running a small business can sometimes be overwhelming. A Bank of America study found that running a business is the most important stressor for entrepreneurs (it was well above the children's education or maintaining a healthy relationship with a partner). And add to this stress is the fact that small business owners often skip free time, exercise, and other personal priorities in order to deal with business issues.

It is so important that you take care of yourself while you take care of your business. After some debilitating panic attacks, I learned the hard way that I needed to make my wellbeing the number one priority. Find what nourishes your soul and brings you peace, then plan it in your calendar, just like an important business meeting. Do not forget that running a business is an ultra-distance marathon, and you must have fuel in your tank to keep going.

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