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Are You (Finally) Ready to Do Your Taxes Online? GoDaddy reveals that half of small companies still do taxes by hand and offers advice on how to go digital.

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GoDaddy wants to take some of the hassle out of tax prep for small businesses. And to that we say good riddance monotonous monstrous spreadsheets and leaning towers of receipts. Hello online tools that make it easier to e-file.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based web hosting giant is offering some helpful tips to ease the pain tax time inevitably inflicts on the 23 million small businesses expected to file a not-so-fun to complete Schedule C (1040) profit and loss form. The form is especially daunting if you still do all of your reporting to Uncle Sam by hand -- literally with pencil and paper or via old-school Excel spreadsheets -- both of which GoDaddy reports more than half of small business owners in the U.S. still do. Shocking, isn't it?

Related: Don't Have a Tax Pro Yet? Time To Get Moving!

We spoke with Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy's vice president of applications, about how business owners who still crunch numbers the old-fashioned way can ease their tax prep pain by warming up to a few not-so-scary (we promise) tech tools, hopefully in time for the looming April 15 deadline.

Here are some tips he shared:

Face your fear of adopting new technologies.
Aldrich says he often hears small business owners say that they're afraid to use tax prep software and online tax solutions simply because they're new to them. "They're scared it will take too long to learn something new and they just don't have the time."

But it's quite the opposite, he says. Small business owners could save themselves "several hours" of time wasted manually tallying numbers related to their income, expenses, cost of goods and much more, if only they'd overcome their fear of embracing the many available digital solutions specifically designed to simplify and speed up otherwise complicated tax prep tasks.

Take a deep breath, say adios to the dark accounting ages and go digital already. It's time.

Related: Will Your Business Fall Vitim to the Dreaded Tax Audit?

Ditch the pencil and paper and switch to online bookkeeping.
Recent GoDaddy research suggests that nearly 40 percent of U.S. small business owners take at least 6-plus hours to complete their tax prep work, and some even up to several days. And that's time you'll never recoup that could have been spent better serving your customers and growing your business.

Making the switch to an online bookkeeping solution, one that automatically categorizes expenses into IRS categories can save you hours and a lot of hassle. Of course Aldrich recommends GoDaddy's own cloud-based GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping solution ($8.34 per month for 12 months or $9.99 per month), which he says can trim your tax prep time down to "about 2 hours to complete." His company's online bookkeeping tool automatically enters business expenses and other key financials directly into tax forms throughout the year so you don't have to.

There are several similar cloud-based accounting solutions available (though not specifically recommended by Aldrich or GoDaddy). These include: Intuit QuickBooks (free one-month trial, $12.95 to $39.95 per month), Sage (free trial, prices available by contacting their sales department) and FreshBooks (free one-month trial, $19.95 to $39.95 per month).

Finally, when you're ready to make the leap to e-filing your taxes online, there's no shortage of cloud-based tools to help you get the job done. Some of the better known options for small businesses include: TurboTax Deluxe ($29.99), H&R Block Deluxe ($29.99) and TaxACT Small Business (free and $12.99 federal tax filing options).

How about it? Are you ready to go digital this tax season?

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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