Four Online Tools to Make Quarterly Estimated Taxes Easier

With June 15 just around the corner, many of you are starting to think about—and perhaps dread—filing your quarterly estimated tax payments. While QETs can be a nightmare for overworked and unorganized small business owners and self-employed individuals, there are many online tools available to make the process easier, faster and headache-free.

Here’s how they work:

Teaspiller for Tax Advice
For those looking for tax experts and QET advice there is Teaspiller, a service that allows users to ask tax questions, upload tax data and have their taxes filed by an expert, all online. The service is integrated with Shoeboxed and other tax applications, making it easy to get financial information to a Teaspiller tax expert.

Shoeboxed.com for Receipts and Expenses
Shoeboxed makes keeping track of expenses and deductions a breeze. With Shoeboxed, gone are the days of spreadsheets and boxes full of wrinkled receipts. Users simply mail their receipts to the company, and the tedious process of scanning and data entering receipt information is done for them. Data is then made available to users via the Shoeboxed web application. And for those who want to keep track of their expenses on the go, Shoeboxed Mobile and the Shoeboxed iPhone app allow users to take pictures of receipts with their phones and send them to the company for data entry.

FreshBooks for Invoices
Of course tracking expenses is only part of the organization battle. FreshBooks allows users to create professional invoices and track how much has been billed and how much is outstanding. And thanks to an integration with Shoeboxed, FreshBooks automatically pulls receipts if users need to bill clients for expenses. Paid invoices can then be easily exported to Outright.com where income is automatically tracked.

Outright.com for Bookkeeping
Outright.com is a free bookkeeping app that, integrated with Shoeboxed and FreshBooks as well as credit cards, PayPal, and other services, automates your accounting. Users can monitor the progress of their businesses, prepare financial statements and automatically populate Schedule C tax forms at the end of the year. Need help with the June 15th obligation? Outright.com calculates the estimated tax you owe, so you know exactly what to pay, while helpful alerts keep you apprised of all your other tax deadlines.

The Last-minute Tax Extension Decision: Stop Worrying & Talk to a Tax Expert

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As the April 15th tax filing deadline rapidly approaches, for most small business owners  who haven’t filed there are two options:  either finish your tax return, or consider an extension.

Small business owners and freelancers should consider speaking to a tax preparer regarding their situation to decide if there’s enough time to make a last-minute dash to submit your return.  Otherwise, the preparer will be able to file an extension, which will give the taxpayer an additional six months of breathing room.

But there’s a catch:  this only applies to the paperwork, and you are still responsible for estimating and submitting payment for your taxes. If the IRS considers your payment estimate to be incorrect, it’s possible that the IRS will assess a late penalty.  The IRS charges an interest of 0.5%/month on any portion of your taxes not paid by April 15th.

According to Teaspiller.com, an online tax preparation website, most of their customers requiring an extension often complain about not being organized enough to submit their small business returns—generally overwhelmed by the amount of tax paperwork that needs to be found and organized before meeting with an accountant.

In order to get everything squared away properly, Teaspiller recommends sites like Shoeboxed to help organize business receipts.  This makes it easier once tax season approaches for the customer, and also makes it easy to automatically upload all of the information directly into Teaspiller and share with your selected tax preparer.

Teaspiller’s certified experts (CPAs and IRS Enrolled Agents) can then help a Shoeboxed customer decide if an extension is needed, and whether or not you need to make a payment to the IRS–helping small business owners get the reassurance they need before making an extension decision.