Question: Because my company made so much money last year, I'm looking at a five-figure tax bill from the IRS. I have the money to pay it, but I don't want to tie up the working capital I need to run my business. Any advice?
Answer: While it doesn't seem fair to penalize an entrepreneur for doing so well, the reality is that the government needs our tax dollars. But it understands that not every entrepreneur can write a big check at tax time. That's why you may want to ask your accountant or tax preparer to negotiate an extension or installment agreement with your federal, state or local tax authorities. Brad J. Taylor, a CPA who assists entrepreneurs with tax preparation and planning, says the IRS may be willing to offer a 120-day extension period at 8 percent annual interest plus a 0.5 percent monthly penalty to owners of S corporations and LLCs until the business owner's taxes are paid in full. Another option is an installment agreement at 8 percent annual interest plus a 0.25 percent monthly penalty.
While borrowing money at 8 percent may sound good, those penalties can add up. That's why it's often more cost-effective to borrow the money from your company, which can tap its credit line for the funds. "This way," says Taylor, "you can file your federal and state corporate tax returns on time, pay your tax liabilities in full utilizing other financing sources, and retain your cash reserve for operations."
Rosalind Resnick is the founder and CEO of Axxess Business Consulting, a New York City consulting firm that advises startups and small businesses. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website,abcbizhelp.com.