Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

Startup Tax Filing: Gather These Essential Documents to Streamline the Tax Filing Process

Posted by Devayani Bapat

March 25, 2024

As the tax year draws to a close, startups prepare for the upcoming tax season. Navigating startup tax preparation can be intricate, tricky, and tedious, even for non-profitable ventures or those new to the process. Understanding the essential steps and required documents is crucial for accurate filing. 

With the guidance outlined in this article, you’ll gain clarity and confidence in managing your startup’s tax affairs. Let’s dive in and ensure your startup is well-prepared for tax season.

Schedule a call today

How to prepare for the tax filing season:

The initial step in startup tax filing entails consolidating your tax records. Maintaining organized documentation is essential for an accurate return and critical for identifying eligible deductions and credits. 

Given the complexity of gathering and organizing startup business taxes and documents and the stringent rules and regulations involved, collaborating with a tax professional specializing in filing startup business taxes can be a strategically advantageous decision. These specialized tax experts possess the required knowledge and expertise to navigate the tax code effectively, ensuring prompt and accurate filing of your startup taxes, which, in turn, allows you, as a small business owner, to focus on the growth of your organization. 

The Checklist:

When initiating the startup tax filing process, gathering essential documents comprising business records, business information, accounting materials, financial reports, and legal documentation is imperative. Below is a fundamental checklist outlining the paperwork required for startup tax preparation, whether undertaken independently or with professional assistance. 

Personal Identification Information:

You must provide personal identification documents to file your small business or startup taxes. These help ensure a business has accurate communication with the state taxing authorities.  

Here are the details required:  

  • Social Security Number (SSN): Include the SSNs and full legal names of yourself, your spouse, and any dependents.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): If applicable, you must share your EIN with the tax authorities, which you can find in your previous tax returns. Your startup’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) letter contains the unique identifier crucial for business identification and structure. This document provides the specific number required for tax paperwork. Keep a copy of this letter for reference as you commence your tax preparation process.
  • Driver’s License (ID): While not always obligatory, consider providing copies of your ID and your personal and professional permanent addresses.
  • These details ensure compliance and expedite the tax filing process, whether independently or with professional support.


Financial Information:

Your startup’s financial information and statements are pivotal financial documents that provide a holistic view of its fiscal well-being. These statements are invaluable during tax season as they encompass the required financial data for assessing your tax liability, deductions, credits, and other pertinent information. 

The statements you must keep ready before filing are:

  • Cash flow statement: Summarizes the company’s cash management and generation capabilities to meet obligations and expenses. 
  • Balance sheet: Displays the company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity within a defined period. 
  • Income statement: Highlights the company’s revenue sources and expenses incurred over a specific timeframe. 
  • Profit and Loss Report: This report summarizes the business’s earnings, revenue, and losses during a fiscal year.

Your startup’s tax obligations hinge upon the figures outlined in these statements. Hence, preparing and scrutinizing them early in the tax filing process is prudent. By prioritizing the preparation and analysis of the balance sheet, cash flow statement, P&L report, and income statement, startups can ensure compliance with tax regulations and optimize their financial management strategies.


Tax Return:

The subsequent stage in startup tax preparation involves collecting the previous year’s tax returns. These documents provide valuable historical insights if filed previously, simplifying the present year’s filing process. 

Reviewing the credits and deductions claimed in the prior year offers a convenient reference for identifying potential benefits applicable again this year, provided those tax incentives remain available. This proactive approach ensures a thorough assessment of eligible tax advantages. It facilitates efficient tax planning for the current fiscal period.


Schedule a call today

Other Financial Documents: 

  • Relevant Tax Forms:

Different business types necessitate the completion of distinct tax forms. These forms vary depending on the classification of your small business.  

Once you ascertain the specific category your business belongs to, you can initiate the process of business tax preparation by completing the corresponding tax forms. This ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitates accurate reporting of financial information to the relevant authorities. By understanding the applicable tax forms for your business type, you can streamline the tax filing process and mitigate the risk of errors or omissions.

  • Expense Records:

In addition to income records, providing documents detailing your annual business expenses when filing your taxes is essential. Expense records encompass various documents, such as

Receipts: These include receipts for all expenses, ranging from office supplies to equipment purchases. 

Bills: Provide copies of bills settled in the previous year. 

Credit card statements: Share your latest credit card statements.


  • Tax Deductions:

It is advisable to provide any relevant documents for review to optimize deductions. If uncertain about qualifying expenses, consulting with a tax accountant is recommended for clarification and guidance. Some deductions that your startup might be eligible for are as follows:

  • Home office expenses
  • Business Travel
  • Charitable donations
  • Health insurance expenditures 
  • Marketing materials expenses 
  • Legal fees
  • Capital Asset Information:

Throughout your business’s journey, you will own various capital assets. These assets encompass property or equipment owned by the company and anticipated to yield future benefits or value. Throughout the fiscal year, any transactions involving the trading, purchasing, or selling of business-owned capital assets necessitate diligent documentation for inclusion in the tax return. Ensure you retain receipts for assets purchased or sold, including equipment, property, or goods, to facilitate accurate reporting.


  • Business Loan Information:

It is common for new businesses to take on business loans to help finance their operations. Your startup must maintain and declare the records detailing loan payments and any accrued interest throughout the year for accurate taxation.


  • Payroll Information:

When filing a startup’s taxes, it is imperative to disclose relevant payroll data and essential employee information, including full names and Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Ensure that the following tax forms are included:  

  • W-2s: These documents detail the taxes withheld by the employer. 
  • W-3s: Employers utilize this form to report income to the IRS. 
  • 1099-MISCs: This form is used for reporting contractor income. 

Providing comprehensive payroll data and necessary tax forms facilitates accurate tax reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements.


Frequently asked startup tax filing questions:

Q: Can I handle my tax filings? 

A: Absolutely. No legal obligation or IRS mandate requires you to engage a tax preparer. However, navigating startup tax procedures can be intricate, and professional assistance can optimize deductions and credits—especially those tailored to upcoming early-stage startups.


Q: Is filing necessary for my unprofitable startup?

A: Yes, indeed. Regardless of profit status, filing remains obligatory. Filing is a prerequisite even if your startup has experienced losses or yielded no profits. Furthermore, certain businesses may qualify for a tax loss carry-forward, as stipulated by the tax code.


Q: Are bootstrapped startups without revenue exempt from tax filing?

A: No exemption exists. All seed-stage startups and businesses possessing an EIN confirmation letter must comply with tax filing requirements.


Q: What’s the deadline for startup tax submissions?

A: Most startups’ tax deadlines fall in mid-April. However, the IRS can grant an extension to mid-October. Consult the IRS website for precise tax deadlines applicable this year.


The Final Word:

Navigating startup taxes as a small business owner can be daunting, especially for new entrepreneurs grappling with intricate tax codes and shifting regulations. That’s where outsourcing startup tax prep proves invaluable. Entrusting professionals with responsibilities like report creation and tax optimization can prove to be an invaluable investment. Not only does it save considerable time and potential penalties, but it also ensures seamless navigation through the complex and evolving IRS tax laws. This approach guarantees optimal tax savings, precise reporting, and filing at competitive rates. With experts at the helm, small business owners can focus on their core operations, confident that their tax affairs are in capable hands.

Want to know more? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.


Devayani Bapat
Devayani Bapat

With 6 years of experience in copywriting and social media management across genres, Devayani's heart lies with weaving words into stories and visuals into carefully crafted narratives that’ll keep you wanting more. She carries with her, her pocket notebook, a trusted confidante that goes with her wherever she goes, and scribbles down into it anecdotes on the go. Her secret weapon for keeping all things copy interesting! Apart from writing, Devayani is huge on travelling. You'll find her booking her next adventure while she's on her current one. And while on those adventures, you'll find her devouring true crime books one after the other. Whether it's a low down on a recent case or one that occurred 70 years ago, she can cook up a story narration you'll never forget.

We provide you with essential business services so you can focus on growth.