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Publication 583

Starting a  
Business and  
Keeping Records




Table 1. What New Business Owners Need To Know About Federal Taxes

 (Note: This table is intended to help you, as a new business owner, learn what you need to know about your federal tax responsibilities. To use it, ask yourself each question in the left column, then see the related discussion in the right column.)
What Must I Know?Where To Find the Answer
Which form of business will I use?See Forms of Business.
Will I need an employer identification number (EIN)?See Identification Numbers.
Do I have to start my tax year in January, or may I start it in any other month?See Tax Year.
What method can I use to account for my income and expenses?See Accounting Method.
What kinds of federal taxes will I have to pay? How should I pay my taxes?See Business Taxes.
What must I do if I have employees?See Employment Taxes.
Which forms must I file?See Table 2 and Information Returns.
Are there penalties if I do not pay my taxes or file my returns?See Penalties.
What business expenses can I deduct on my federal income tax return?See Business Expenses.
What records must I keep? How long must I keep them?See Recordkeeping.
This publication provides basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business. It also provides information on keeping records and illustrates a recordkeeping system.
Throughout this publication we refer to other IRS publications and forms where you will find more information. In addition, you may want to contact other government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA). See How To Get More Information later.

Comments and suggestions.(p1)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Business Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. You can also send us comments from, select "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications" under "Information about."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.(p2)

Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705–6613


Tax questions.(p2)

If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Future Developments.(p2)

The IRS has created a page on for information about Publication 583 at Information about any future developments affecting Publication 583 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page.

What New Business Owners Need To Know(p2)

As a new business owner, you need to know your federal tax responsibilities. Table 1 can help you learn what those responsibilities are. Ask yourself each question listed in the table, then see the related discussion to find the answer.
In addition to knowing about federal taxes, you need to make some basic business decisions. Ask yourself: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that can help you answer these types of questions. For information on how to contact the SBA, see How to Get More Information, later.