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Your Accountant

Some experts say that a small start-up business does not require the services of an accountant. The answer is—maybe. Before you attempt to handle your own taxes, answer this question: How good are you at handling your personal taxes? Do you prepare your own personal returns? Do you pay on time or ask for extensions? Have you ever been audited? This is really the litmus test. Filing business returns is more complex than personal returns.

If money is an issue (as it often is in new businesses), then try to learn as much as you can about your tax obligations before getting started. There are many places to turn for advice such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a national organization sponsored by the SBA. SCORE volunteers are actually retired business executives who are happy to provide financial counseling and workshops—for free. You can find a SCORE office in your region by looking in the yellow pages of the telephone book. In addition to asking advice at SCORE, you can attend tax seminars for small businesses, do some research at the library and on the Internet, consult friends or other people in business, or buy computer software programs and books on the subject. There honestly is a lot of information out there.


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