Some businesses are in the midst of the holiday-selling season and are extremely busy, others may be experiencing a slow time because of the nature of what they do. Either way, as the year winds down, there are some key year-end actions to address now. Once the New Year rings in, it’s going to be too late. Here are some year-end actions to address now:
Schedule Your Annual Meeting
If your business is incorporated, state law likely requires you to hold an annual meeting. This is so even if you’re the only owner. Usually most small businesses report their income and expenses on a calendar-year basis, and hold their annual meeting in December. Here are some matters to cover in the meeting:
- Adopting employee benefit plans for the coming year
- Declaring a dividend
- Making or terminating an S election
- Setting salaries and bonuses for owners
Even if your business isn’t incorporated and you’re not obligated to hold an annual meeting, it’s still a good idea to do so. You can review the same types of matters so you’ll be prepared for 2018. Check out more information about your annual meetings that I posted earlier.
Budget for the Upcoming Year
If you haven’t yet created your budget for the coming year (or at least 3 to 6 months), do it now. This will help you stay on top of cash flow needs. You can always modify your budget if things change.
Income Tax Planning and Preparation
There’s still time to minimize 2017 taxes, but only if you act now. First and foremost, meet with your CPA or other tax advisor to discuss your situation and devise some actions you can take, such as:
- Buying any needed equipment or machinery, which you probably can fully deduct
- Paying the final estimated tax installment for the year (December 15, 2017, for C corporations; January 16, 2018, for owners of pass-through entities)
- Setting up a qualified retirement plan if your business doesn’t already have one. By signing the paperwork by the end of the year, you have until the extended due date of your 2017 return to make your tax-deductible contributions. (Note that if you miss this deadline, you’ll still be able to set up and fund a SEP for 2017 by the extended due date of your 2017 return.)
Set Goals for the Upcoming Year
New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about losing weight and exercising more. As the year draws to a close, businesses can dream about what they’d like to accomplish in the coming year.
Maybe you have visions of expanding? Perhaps you’d like to hire additional help so you can work fewer hours yourself. Or maybe there’s a new product or service you’ve had on the back burner and want to get cooking for real. Plan now for 2018.
Napoleon said “every hour of lost time is a chance of future misfortune.” So don’t waste the remaining days of this year; use them to your business advantage!