Whether you’re doing your taxes yourself or working with a pro, these three QuickBooks reports — and a few categories within them — can help you get the job done more quickly and easily:
- Profit & Loss. Start with this report to get a snapshot of your company’s financials last year. Go to Reports » Profit & Loss Standard » Company & Financials, then enter “Last Fiscal Year” for the time period. If you’re using a tax preparer, print a copy of this overview report for him or her.
- Income Tax Summary. This is very similar to the Profit & Loss report, so use whichever works best for you. Go to Reports » Accountant & Taxes » Income Tax Summary, then choose “Last Tax Year” as the date. This report also helps you check to make sure all of your accounts (Office Supplies, Printing & Reproduction, etc.) are assigned to the correct tax line. This particularly matters if you import your QuickBooks data into a tax-preparation program such as TurboTax. If you see any accounts on your Income Tax Summary report marked as “unassigned,” go back to your QuickBooks Chart of Accounts and fix this. (Choose the specific account and click the “edit” icon at the bottom of the screen.)
- 1099 Summary. Run this report (Reports » Vendors & Payables » 1099 Summary) to see if you have vendors or subcontractors to whom you need to send 1099s. As you may have heard, the IRS is cracking down on small businesses that need to file 1099 forms. In general, you must send 1099s to individuals (anyone not incorporated) to whom you paid more than $600 in 2011. If your 1099 summary report comes up blank, you may not have enabled your vendor 1099 settings in QuickBooks. Learn how to work with 1099s here.
After you run these reports, go back to either the Profit & Loss or Income Tax Summary report. Take a look at each income or expense category for detailed information that may help you prepare your taxes. Make sure that you take all possible deductions. Double-click on any category (the dollar figure, not the category name itself) for a detailed transaction report for that category.
Here are a few categories that you may want to give extra attention:
- Income. Categories under this heading should tell you your gross profits for last year. Open the Detailed Transaction report here (by double-clicking the category) and compare the dollar figures against any 1099s you receive from major clients to be sure you have not missed reporting any income. Also, did you record all bank interest income? Check the Interest Income category against any tax forms you receive from your banks/credit unions.
- Capital Expenses. Check this category to be sure you include all major office expenditures (a new desk, file cabinet, etc.) on your tax return. Your city or county may also require you to file an annual personal inventory report (a list that includes your business furniture, computer equipment, physical assets, and product inventory). The Capital Expenses transaction report can help you update this list for the previous year.
- Taxes. Here you’ll find a report of all the federal, state, and local taxes you paid last year, along with payment dates. Open each tax category for reference (or print them). These transaction reports will help you can quickly fill in “taxes paid” on your tax return or provide those stats to your tax preparer.