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Congratulations! The question now is, do you frame that first dollar or spend it? If you’re like most bootstrapped startups, you already know the answer to that one.

Now, I’m sure you didn’t start your business to try to become a full-time accountant; so now that you have income rolling in, now what?

Let’s face it: taxes are one of the most intimidating tasks involved in running a small business, and by far one of the biggest mistakes most small business owners make is they don’t take the time to put an accounting system in place to help them manage their newly found cash flow.  So to help you avoid this costly pitfall, here are four quick tips to help keep your business on track.

Get a Plan

Don’t miss the boat when it comes to your tax deductions! With over 300+ potential small business tax deductions, you certainly can’t afford to wait until the end of the year to try and determine what you can or can’t deduct. Most business owners need to go through a paradigm shift of treating their taxes as a once-a-year event into more of a year-round process. This is why having an annual tax strategy to ensure you are maximizing every possible tax deduction is crucial to ensure you are keeping as much money as legally possible.

Know Your Numbers

Having a well thought-out bookkeeping system will do two things for your business. (1) Strictly from an operational standpoint, it will help you save money. Understanding your cash-flow is just good business. Each month you should be reviewing your Profit and Loss Statement in addition to your Balance Sheet to keep a finger on the pulse of your business. (2) It will help you stay in compliance. As a business owner, the IRS puts what is called the “Burden of Proof” on you, so basically it is your job to be able to prove your income and expenses. Not to mention good bookkeeping is the best defense against an audit.

Know What and When to File

Your tax requirements largely depend on the legal structure of your business, so whether you operate as a sole proprietor, LLC, S Corporation or C Corporation, your filing requirements will vary. In addition to your personal and business taxes required by the federal government, you will also have to pay some state and local taxes. Take the time to understand what your business is required to file and when. This will help you avoid any costly penalties and interest not only with the IRS but also with your state. The SBA provides a resource here for each state’s tax filing requirements for small business owners.

Ask Questions

In business, you never know when you might need advice, so make sure it’s easily accessible. Most small business owners do not have the tax knowledge they need to understand every aspect of the tax code, so putting a professional accountant on your team will pay dividends.  It all goes back to grade school: “the only dumb question is the one that you don’t ask.”

Zach Olson is the CEO at  Tax Alli is the leading provider of online tax and accounting services for small business owners. By capitalizing on the convenience and power of the web Tax Alli is changing the way small business owners manage their tax planning, bookkeeping & tax preparation needs.