Tax Tips for Entrepreneurs

2011 Small Business Tax Deadlines

Like most businesses, the IRS operates according to an annual schedule. The trick is to synchronize your company's calendar with the small business tax deadlines established by the IRS.

As a small business owner, you're already familiar with deadlines.

Payment deadlines. Compliance deadlines. Sales deadlines. The list goes on and on . . . But the point is that successful entrepreneurs have learned how to effectively manage strict schedules.

The IRS shares your concern for deadlines. In fact, tax deadlines represent some of the most important deadlines that your small business needs to address. Failure to comply with IRS tax calendars will have consequences for your organization, some of which involve hefty fines and other financial penalties.

IRS tax deadlines typically follow a similar schedule from one tax year to the next. But since specific dates and IRS rules change, business owners have to be diligent about staying on top of deadlines for the current tax year. Here are some of the small business tax deadlines that apply for 2011.

  • Estimated payment deadlines. Self-employed individuals, including sole proprietors and partners, are required to make quarterly, estimated tax payments to the IRS. As a rule, your quarterly payments must total at least 90% of your final tax liability. If the payments fall below this amount, you could be subject to a penalty. The final 2010 quarterly payment must be postmarked by January 18, 2011 (the normal Jan. 15th deadline is a Saturday and Monday, Jan. 17th is a federal holiday). Quarterly payment deadlines for the 2011 tax year are: April 18 (Q1), June 15 (Q2), Sept. 15 (Q3) and Jan. 17, 2012 (Q4).
  • 2010 filing deadline. The deadline for filing your 2010 tax return is April 15th. But since this is Emancipation Day (a holiday celebrated in the District of Columbia), the IRS has extended the deadline to Monday, April 18. If you need more time to complete your tax return, you must apply for a filing extension by this date. Extensions automatically defer the filing deadline until October 17th - but you will still need to pay the amount due the IRS by April 18th.
  • IRA contribution deadline. April 18th is also the deadline for making an IRA contribution. Business owners and self-employed taxpayers who contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA by this date may be able to receive a deduction from taxable income on their 2010 income tax return.
  • Payroll taxes. Small business employers will also need to stay current on payroll tax deposits. Although the dates can vary depending on your situation, many employers are required to make payroll tax deposits on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. So for those employers, 2011 payroll tax deposit dates will be Jan. 31, April 30, July 31, and Oct. 31.

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