Taking Care of Business: Recordkeeping for Small Businesses

Small business owners should keep good records. This applies to all businesses, whether they have a couple dozen employees or just a few. Whether they install software or make soft-serve. Whether they cut hair or cut lawns. Keeping good records is an important part of running a successful business.

Here are some questions and answers to help business owners understand the ins and outs of good recordkeeping.

Why should business owners keep records?
Good records will help them:

  • Monitor the progress of their business
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Identify income sources
  • Keep track of expenses
  • Prepare tax returns and support items reported on tax returns

What kinds of records should owners keep?
Small business owners may choose any recordkeeping system that fits their business. They should choose one that clearly shows income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require special kinds of records. .

How long should businesses keep records?
How long a document should be kept depends on several factors. These factors include the action, expense and event recorded in the document. The IRS generally suggests taxpayers keep records for three years.

How should businesses record transactions?
A good recordkeeping system includes a summary of all business transactions. These are usually kept in books called journals and ledgers, which business owners can buy at an office supply store. All requirements that apply to hard copy books and records also apply to electronic business records.

What is the burden of proof?
The responsibility to validate information on tax returns is known as the burden of proof. Small business owners must be able to prove expenses to deduct them.

How long should businesses keep employment tax records?
Business owners should keep all records of employment taxes for at least four years.

No Author Biography has been linked to this Article.

Related Articles

February 2, 2020
By The Honorable William Houston Brown (Retired) Punitive damages reduced for FDCPA and RESPA violations. The mortgage servicer violated FDCPA, RESPA and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by treating account as delinquent after Chapter 13 debtor had cured arrears, brought account current and obtained discharge. The servicer mistakenly marked the Chapter 13 case as dismissed rather...
Members
langehennig
As a prerequisite to a claim’s payment, Rule 3002.1 requires certain secured creditors to provide to the trustee and the debtor notice of the full value of the secured creditor’s claim, including any “fees, expenses, and charges” related to the claim. Two bankruptcy courts have demonstrated a willingness to expand the reach of Rule 3002.1’s noticing requirements. These courts generally...
Members
March 28, 2021
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) Section 1328(i) requires the court to consider the discharge provisions of §§ 1328(a) through (h) and the fact that incomplete personal residence mortgage payments or a forbearance do not preclude but do not compel a COVID-19 Discharge. (Tighe) In re Ritter, 2021 WL 864092 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. March 5,...
Members
ahern_larry_regular
June 11, 2023
Introduction This series reviews developments in bankruptcy procedure during the past year. One new rule and amendments to 16 rules took effect December 1, 2022. Many reflected changes necessitated by the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), and had been in place in the same or similar form on an interim basis since that legislation took effect.
Members
NBR cropped 2
August 7, 2022
Dear Readers: When a judge issues a 28-page opinion sanctioning a lawyer, usually that means that the lawyer has done so many things wrong that he or she has caused the judge to roll up his or her respective sleeves (probably shirt-sleeves, although the image of robe-sleeves also works for me) to deal with the mess. And in Shiheiber v....
Members
May 19, 2019
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) Homeowner association fees that obligate homeowners of condominium and planned unit developments can be a substantial obligation that accrue on a monthly basis. These obligations are generally a burden when a debtor files for bankruptcy relief. To be fair, homeowners’ associations provide a significant benefit to homeowners. Exterior maintenance,...
Members
NBR cropped 2
November 26, 2023
“ . . . how can I not write about an opinion that begins, “This is a case of sue first and ask questions later”? We all know that Judge Christopher Klein has a way with words and a precise and methodical way of approaching statutory analysis.”
Members
May 2, 2021
By Cathy Moran, Esq., (Redwood City, CA) I don't know just what makes Parker such a treat for me, but it delivers multiple thrills to my bankruptcy lawyer heart. It's a stay violation case with a BIG sanctions award. It's a clearly, simply written opinion that lays out the circuit law on multiple issues. It hits hard at HOA hubris....
Members
September 22, 2019
By Cathy Moran, Esq. (Redwood City, CA) I wrote earlier about calculating the projected income tax deduction on the means test when the year of filing situation looks much like last year. But what if things aren't the same year over year? Your job as a bankruptcy attorney becomes more complicated. It's suddenly more than figuring the tax refund or...
Members
October 11, 2020
By James J. Robinson, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of Alabama What are the statutory duties of the standing chapter 13 trustee? Bankruptcy Code §§ 1302 and 704 provide the statutory framework for the trustee’s duties, and provide as follows: 11 U.S.C. § 1302. Trustee (a) If the United States trustee appoints an individual under section 586(b) of...
Members

Looking to Become a Member?

ConsiderChapter13.org offers a forum to advance continuing education of consumer bankruptcy via access to insightful articles, informative webinars, and the latest industry news. Join now to benefit from expert resources and stay informed.

Webinars

These informative sessions are led by industry experts and cover a range of consumer bankruptcy topics.

Member Articles

Written by industry experts, these articles provide in-depth analysis and practical guidance on consumer bankruptcy topics.

Industry News

The Academy is the go-to source for the latest news and analysis in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy industry.

To get started, please let us know which of these best fits your current position: