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Book Review: Small Business Taxes Made Easy

clip_image001This book was a surprise to me – I did not expect to find such a thorough guidebook on the process of starting up a small business, but that’s what Small Business Taxes Made Easy is.  Author Eva Rosenberg, (“TaxMama” to her devotees) has not only the experience, but also the in-depth understanding of both the small business and the small business-person to lead you through this process and help you to succeed, quite possibly in spite of yourself.

The title of the book is misleading, as the first several chapters of the book have little to do with taxes and much to do with all of the administrivia that you need to go through when setting up a small business.  In fact, you really don’t get to tax matters at all until about page 70 (of 261) in the book.

The first few chapters take you through the concepts of business planning – areas that very few small businesses pay any attention to at all.  Clearly Rosenberg has had her share of real-world experience with small business owners going through this process.  She has developed very useful checklists, included in the book, for following step-by-step through the process of business development.

Now, one might say that the process Rosenberg describes is overkill – in fact, a colleague made the comment that “No one creates an advisory board!”… but quite possibly that’s part of why so many small businesses fail in the first year or two.

Secondly, don’t think that this book is solely for the new small business startup.  If you happen to be one of those lucky small businesses that has made it past the first year or so without a formalized plan – you’d be doing yourself a favor to review and pay attention to this book’s recommendations as well.

This doesn’t mean that I give the tax-specific portions of this book short shrift, either.  Rosenberg treats all of the major components of tax “preparedness” with due consideration.  From explaining exactly what should be considered income (versus capital, for example) to who should be considered an employee, with separate chapters set aside to explain what’s deductible and what’s not, use of your home for your business, and the business use of an automobile, this book covers it all.

There is a separate chapter specifically dealing with the issues you might face with your online-only venture, as well, and if you’re in this space or expect to operate in the internet realm in the future, you should pay close attention.  TaxMama has been on the internet for over fifteen years (in evolving forms) and as a tax professional she has seen it all, literally.  She takes you through the concept of nexus (location), internet sales taxes, and legal issues that you might come across.  This chapter (like all the chapters in this book) comes with a checklist at the start and a list of specific resources (including the URLs) at the end of the chapter – vetted resources that are literally worth the price of the book on their own.

All in all, it’s my opinion that if you are starting a business or have already started a business and you’re still hammering out the kinks – you could definitely do worse than to read Small Business Taxes Made Easy.  Heck, even if you’ve been in business for a while you can benefit from this book – I picked up a few pointers myself.

The above book review is part of a series of reviews that I am doing in an arrangement with McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, where MH sends me books with the only requirement being that I read the book and write a review – like it or not.  If you find the information in this review useful, let me (and McGraw-Hill) know!

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