September 3, 2014

Tell It to Uncle Sam: 5 IRS Reports You Have to Make

small business irs reports

It seems that the government wants to know everything you do – and you’re required to self-report it. If you don’t, you may be liable for penalties (and they usually aren’t even tax deductible). So don’t overlook these reports below.

1.    Workplace Injuries

Covered employers (those with more than 10 employees) are subject to numerous recordkeeping and reporting about workplace injuries and illnesses under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While small businesses (10 or fewer employees) are exempt from these requirements, there are two instances when even the smallest companies must report:

  • A death of a worker.
  • An incident that sends three or more workers to the hospital.

The report is made orally and must be done within eight hours of the incident. Find more about all recordkeeping and reporting from OSHA.

2.    Cash Transactions

If you receive more than $10,000 in cash in one or more related transactions in the course of your business, you must report the transaction to the IRS as well as to the party that paid you. “Cash” means bank drafts, cashier’s checks currency, money orders, and traveler’s checks with a face amount of more than $10,000.

Reporting is made on IRS Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business. (It is also called FinCEN Form 8300.) It is filed with the IRS Service Center listed in the instructions to the form, regardless of the location of the business (there is no e-filing for this form).

The form must be filed by the 15th day after the date the cash was received. Thus, if you receive a payment in cash of $11,000 on July 1, 2014, you must report it by July 15, 2014. If the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, file by the next business day.

Failure to file this required report can result in civil, and even criminal, penalties.

3.    Retirement Plans

Retirement plans, other than SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs, are subject to annual reporting requirements. Reports are made on an IRS form in the 5500 series (depending on the type of plan); they are filed with the Department of Labor’s Employee Retirement Security Administration.

Small plans covering only an owner (or owner and spouse) or partners (partners and their spouses) are exempt from filing if the assets of the plan don’t exceed $250,000. However, even for these plans an information return must be filed in the final year of the plan.

Failure to file can result in penalties. However, under a pilot program for these plans, no penalties will be imposed if they self-correct (i.e., file the required return) by June 2, 2015.

Caution: If you’ve done a ROBS (rollover as business startup) but have not filed returns on the belief that you’re exempt because of plan assets being under the $250,000 threshold, you have an opportunity to catch up with filing requirements under this pilot program. (Qualified plans under a ROBS arrangement must file annually regardless of plan assets because the plan, not the individual, owns the business.)

4.    Hiring Workers

You can only hire workers who are U.S. citizens or residents or are authorized to work in the U.S.

A number of states require certain employers to verify the eligibility status of a worker through an electronic system. For example, North Carolina mandates the use of E-Verify for companies with 25 or more employees. Find state by state information.

You can also voluntarily use the federal government’s E-Verify to determine the eligibility of workers. It’s free.

5.    Foreign Accounts

If you have a foreign bank account that had a value at any time during the year exceeding $10,000, you have to report the account to the U.S. Treasury. The reporting is done on FinCEN Form 114; it must be filed electronically. The deadline is June 30, 2014, for 2013 accounts exceeding the threshold. There are no extensions permitted.

Note: Reporting is required even if you also reported the account to the IRS on Form 8939 with your tax return.

Conclusion

Make sure to learn about all of your reporting requirements. If you miss one, you may be able to escape penalty by arguing reasonable cause and correcting the error as quickly as possible.

Always consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your legal obligations to report your activities to the government.

Dollar Photo via Shutterstock

6 Comments ▼
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Barbara Weltman


Barbara Weltman Barbara Weltman is an attorney and author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business. She is also the publisher of Idea of the Day® and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business® and is a trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

6 Reactions

  1. If only these were the only 5…

    • I totally agree. If we only have 5 things to keep track of won’t life as a business owner be so much easier

    • Yes being a small business owner is quite tough. With so many things you have to process on top of your business, you certainly cannot do it alone. This is why you need employees to sort things out for you so that you can focus on what’s important – setting the direction of your business.

  2. Great lists. Let us also not forget all the monthly and quarterly reporting requirements for employers like Fed and state 941s, sales tax reports, etc. The lists of things to keep track of could be quite lengthy.

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