Early-Stage Startup? Get Tax-Ready Now!

Early-Stage Startup? Get Tax-Ready Now!

Congratulations on starting your own business! As an early-stage startup, there are many things to consider, and tax preparation is one of them. Being proactive will save you money and, most importantly, stress in the long run. 

Inkle's blog will cover all you need to know about getting your startup tax-ready. We have covered you, from gathering the necessary paperwork to understanding IRS regulations and preparing for R&D tax credits. 

We will also assist you with a checklist and discuss dealing with tax season stress utilising software and tools. Additionally, we will answer some common questions, such as when tax returns are due for startups and what deductions I can claim as a startup founder.

How to Get Your Startup Tax-Ready

Preparing your early-stage startup for tax season can seem overwhelming. Keep your finances organised throughout the year to be ready to file taxes (by April!). 

Hiring an experienced accountant or tax advisor is also a great idea if you need guidance on specific rules or regulations for your industry or location. And don't forget about deductions and credits – they can add up! Just be sure to file taxes on time to avoid pesky penalties or interest charges.

Step 1: Gather the necessary paperwork

Gathering the necessary paperwork is the initial step in getting your startup tax-ready. Keep track of business-related expenses such as equipment purchases and office rent; income from sales or investments should also be tracked. The goal is to have organised documentation that makes filing taxes on time easier while avoiding penalties. Consider using software or apps that can help you keep track of expenses and income while staying updated on important dates throughout the year.

Step 2: Hire a CPA or accountant

When hiring a CPA or accountant for your startup business, finding an experienced professional who specialises in working with small businesses is imperative. Consider important factors like cost, location, and availability when making this crucial decision, and maintain open communication while providing accurate financial information. Doing so will build a strong relationship with your chosen expert and ensure compliance with necessary tax laws while gaining valuable guidance on tax planning.

Step 3: Understand IRS regulations

Early-stage startups should understand their tax obligations to avoid penalties or legal issues. IRS regulations, such as sole proprietorship or LLC, vary depending on your business type.  

This may include registering for an EIN, maintaining detailed financial records, and filing quarterly estimated taxes. By understanding your startup's tax liabilities and fulfilling them promptly, you can avoid costly mistakes and focus on growing your business.

Step 4: Prepare for R&D tax credits

To help get your startup ready for tax season, remember to consider R&D tax credits. By investing in research and development activities, startups can claim these credits and reduce their taxes while having more funds for growth. 

Doing so will cut down on your startup's tax liability :D

Step 5: Payroll considerations

Some vital factors must be considered to ensure smooth payroll processing for early-stage startups during tax season. The first step on your priority list should be understanding the deadlines and tax obligations related to payroll taxes. 

For enhanced efficiency in handling these tasks, consider leveraging specialised services such as Quickbooks or outsourcing the functions to third-party experts like CPAs. Lastly, maintaining accurate records of employee compensation is of utmost importance.

Year-End Checklist for Startups

Getting your early-stage startup ready for tax season is crucial. Verify your financial position by reviewing income statements and balance sheets. Check payroll documentation thoroughly, including W-2s and 1099s. Consider hiring a CPA or accountant to help with tax preparation and ensure you take full advantage of available deductions.

Review financial statements

To prepare your early-stage startup for tax season, reviewing your financial statements carefully is crucial. Analyzing income, balance sheets, and cash flow statements will make sure that financial records are accurate and up-to-date before filings. Working with a professional accountant or bookkeeper can simplify this process and help identify areas of improvement in your startup's financial position. For startups looking to maximise R&D tax credits or payroll taxes savings, reviewing financial documents with third-party R&D partners and CFOs may be beneficial.

Consider PPP and ERC options

For successful tax readiness of early-stage startups, keeping accurate records and documentation for PPP and ERC applications is crucial. Startups should consider eligibility for PPP forgiveness as well as the refundable ERC. Consult a tax professional or accountant for compliance with applicable regulations.

Deductions to Consider

As an early-stage startup navigating the complexities of tax season, exploring potential deductions is vital. When preparing your filings, research and development expenses, marketing and advertising costs, office supplies, equipment purchases, travel expenses, and employee salaries should all be considered. 

Dealing with Tax Season Stress

Managing year-end stress during startup tax season involves getting ahead of the game. Keep detailed documentation of transactions and financial positions throughout the year, utilize online tools like QuickBooks, and consult a CPA or accountant as needed. Consider taking advantage of PPP forgivable loans and ERC refundable credits to improve cash flow. And always be mindful of important dates, specific periods, and withholding amounts to avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

Utilising software and tools

Tax preparation for early-stage startups becomes more accessible when they utilise various online software and tools available in the market. Cloud-based accounting software helps track expenses and invoice generation, while expense-tracking apps simplify organising receipts while preparing for taxes. Tax-preparation software ensures the filing of all necessary forms correctly before the deadline. 

By automating the tax preparation process through these tools, startups can maintain documentation accurately and review year-end cap tables effectively.

I didn't make a profit last year. Do I still need to file?

Regardless of your startup's profitability, filing taxes is crucial to creating a financial history and securing future funding. Deductions or credits may also be available to offset losses from previous years. Consult with a tax professional to ensure proper filing and maximise benefits.

When are tax returns due for startups?

Startups typically need to submit their tax returns by March 15th, but they can request an extension if necessary. Keeping accurate records and receipts throughout the year is crucial for tax purposes. Seeking guidance from a tax expert can ensure compliance with all regulations.

What deductions can I claim as a startup founder?

As a startup founder, you can claim deductions for business-related expenses like office rent, utilities, equipment, marketing, advertising, and travel. However, maintaining accurate records is crucial to support your deduction claims.

Consider tax savings or tax-triggering events

To ensure that your early-stage startup is prepared for the upcoming tax season, consider consulting with a knowledgeable tax professional who can guide various aspects, such as the ideal business structure based on your financial position. Keeping accurate records of all transactions throughout the year would help when it's time to file your returns. 

Awareness of any tax-saving options or events that trigger taxes could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

What to look for in a tax returns preparer

When choosing a tax returns preparer for your startup, it's crucial to consider several factors. Look for an experienced professional who has worked with early-stage companies before. Ensure they have the necessary certification (like CPA or EA) and are available. Also, check their transparency about fees and ask for references or reviews. 

These steps will help with documentation and deadlines while maximising deductions without starting with How to Get Your Early-Stage Startup Ready for Tax Season.


Getting your startup tax-ready is crucial to avoid penalties and legal issues. Gathering all necessary paperwork, including financial statements, employment tax forms, and more, is essential. Hiring a CPA or accountant can help you understand IRS regulations and prepare for R&D tax credits. Consider payroll considerations as well. 

As the year ends, review your financial statements, consider PPP and ERC options, and consider deductions that benefit your business. Dealing with tax season stress is more accessible when utilising the software and tools available. Even if you didn't profit last year, filing your taxes is still necessary. 

Tax returns for startups are due on different deadlines depending on your business structure. Deductions you can claim as a startup founder include office expenses, insurance premiums, and more. Consider tax savings or triggering events like selling assets or making charitable donations.

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