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How to Find the Right Tax Forms for Your Small Business

Not all small businesses are created equal — the IRS makes sure of that. Which tax forms you must fill out depends on what type of small business you're in and how many employees it has. Federal tax forms can be confusing, but before you even get that far, you need to know which confusing tax forms to fill out.

Give serious consideration to hiring an accountant or CPA to help out with your company’s finances.

This table summarizes the kinds of taxes you may have to pay and the forms you’ll need to use to pay them.

Taxes to Pay and Forms to File
Form of Your Business and Taxes to Pay Forms to File
Sole Proprietor
Income tax Form 1040 and Schedule C or C-EZ
Self-employment tax 1040 and Schedule SE
Estimated tax 1040-ES
Employment taxes Form 941 (943 for farm employees)
Federal unemployment tax (FUTA) Form 940 or 940-EZ
Depositing employment taxes Form 8109
Annual return of income Form 1065
Employment taxes Form 941 (943 for farm employees)
Partner in a partnership (individual)
Income tax Form 1040 and Schedule E
Self-employment tax Form 1040 and Schedule SE
Estimated tax Form 1040-ES
Corporation or S corporation
Income tax Form 1120 or 1120-A (corporation), Form 1120S (S corporation)
Estimated tax Form 1120-W (corporation only) and Form 8109
Employment taxes Form 941
S corporation shareholder
Income tax Form 1040 and Schedule E
Estimated tax Form 1040-ES

Where do LLCs fit into the tax picture? Limited liability companies (LLCs) are created under state law. For federal tax purposes, LLCs default to general partnerships, and the rules and taxes for partnerships apply. However, you can elect to file as a C corporation, an S corporation, or a sole proprietorship. Remember that each state has its own rules for limited liability companies — be sure to check out your state’s unique tax rules before filing your state income taxes.

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