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'The IRS is Coming in Hot': Jason Tartick Says All Business Owners Should Do This 1 Thing Before Filing Taxes — Or Risk a Potentially Pricey Audit 'Entrepreneur' sat down with the personal finance expert and former 'Bachelorette' star to talk all things taxes.

By Emily Rella

Key Takeaways

  • Personal finance expert Jason Tartick sat down with 'Entrepreneur' to discuss common mistakes businesses and individuals make when filing taxes.
  • Tartick stressed the importance of outsourcing certain tasks to an expert to maximize tax returns and deductions.
  • He also warned that the IRS is doubling down on auditing this year.
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Jason Tartick

Although Jason Tartick might have first made headlines and garnered an audience on Season 14 of ABC's The Bachelorette, he's carved out a place in the business world that's made him a trusted expert in the personal finance space — with or without a final rose.

Tartick is the owner of five businesses (now including his own talent agency, Rewired Talent Management) and the host of one of Apple's top-rated business and money podcasts, Trading Secrets with Jason Tartick. The Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Talk Money to Me has a way of boiling down complex financial topics in a way that helps everyday people understand what they can do to improve their businesses, income and financial future.

Entrepreneur sat down with Tartick, who is partnering with TurboTax this year, to discuss one of the most daunting tasks for entrepreneurs and individuals — filing taxes. Tartick offered advice on what to avoid, what to look out for and what to start doing today to maximize returns, both now and in the future.

Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Entrepreneur: What's the number one thing small business owners should focus on when starting the process of filing taxes?
Jason Tartick:
I think the biggest thing for small business owners is organization. There are so many statistics out there that showcase that when small business owners are unorganized, they're missing expenses, or they're missing opportunities to reduce their taxable income, which is just money not in their pockets. For small businesses and startups, it's critical. The big thing is that within five years, [about] 50% of startups in the United States go out of business, typically because of mismanagement and disorganization.

What's the first tangible step business owners should take to get and stay organized?
I would recommend, first and foremost, QuickBooks to get bookkeeping in place. Small businesses [can] struggle with outsourcing to experts, so that's when they should use TurboTax Live Business, where they can file their taxes themselves, file an extension or file their taxes with an expert. The coolest thing about the experts is days, nights and weekends — they're available via FaceTime or a call for any questions they have.

Related: 7 Advanced Tax Strategies for Self-Employed Professionals

Is outsourcing to an expert the best way to ensure that you're maximizing your tax return, both personally and for your business? How should people stay updated on what deductions they're eligible for?
In tax law, change is the only constant — and we are seeing that in all forms of all metrics that connect to the economy, tax rates and just in general change to tax laws. So the problem is, if you're not working with an expert, you're not going to know what the closest or most relevant deduction is for your specific business or industry. America is so pro-business, and there are so many — I'll call them strategies, not loopholes — but strategies for individuals to take advantage of. There are even tax deductions in place for the size of your car, how much it weighs, what percentage of your house you can write off for office space, meals, business travel, mileage and depreciation of your car — there are things that business owners are spending money on every single day that they don't recognize as tax deductions. And because they're trying to do everything themselves and wear all the hats, they're missing out on those things. Outsource to an expert because it's so niche.

Aside from trying to take everything on all at once and without help, what's another major mistake you see businesses and individuals make when filing their taxes?
The biggest mistake I've seen with companies that are filing their taxes, and even individuals, is that they commingle personal and business expenses. Some people don't have a separate business card and a separate personal card, and they have no way of bookkeeping. So things that should be spent as personal expenses are being spent on business and vice versa. And the biggest issue with the success of these small businesses is managing the numbers. If your numbers aren't accurate, how can you manage them? How can you reduce your tax liability? How can you put yourself in a position to reinvest money to grow? It's always miscategorization of things due to unorganized expense management.

Related: Filing Your Taxes Is About to Get Cheaper in 13 States. Here's Who's Eligible.

When it comes to the 2024 tax season specifically, are there any big changes to filing that people should be aware of?
Let's look at last year, especially for individual returns, which are [due] coming up on April 15. Sixty-four percent of people who filed got a refund — and a refund of up to $2,700 on average. And we're still seeing so many people not even file their taxes, which is just absolutely crazy in today's world. The other thing we're seeing is that the IRS is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into auditing small business and personal tax returns. So, when I think about 2024 and the biggest change within taxes and the IRS, it's that the IRS is putting massive dollars into the audit. If you look at your past few years and things haven't been done properly, you are going to pay [for] it. The IRS is coming in hot; they're coming in hard, and they will be at people's front door when we least expect it.

To avoid a not-so-pleasant run-in with the IRS, is there an ideal timeline you would recommend for people and businesses to start getting their ducks in a row for filing? How early should people be prepared?
Every quarter you should understand where your books are, understand your financials and have all of your tax receipts and invoices for that quarter. When people wait for the full year, things fall through the cracks. There are also so many other deductions that can contribute to your retirement based on the time of the year. If you're contributing to your 401k or if you have a high-deductible health plan, for example, those cut-offs are in Q2 of this year. You're going to miss out on huge savings if you're not contributing to these pre-tax opportunities that will save you money and can be turned into investments. So we all think March 15, we think April 15, filing an extension to October 15 if we miss the deadline. And we think, "That's it" when it comes to taxes. But there are so many different dates and times throughout the year that we could be missing out on an opportunity to take pre-tax dollars and invest them and or qualify for certain expenses.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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