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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 on the page shown in the right column.)
What Must I Know?Where To Find the Answer
Which form of business will I use?See Forms of Business on page 3.
Will I need an employer identification number (EIN)?See Identification Numbers on page 3.
Do I have to start my tax year in January, or may I start it in any other month?See Tax Year on page 4.
What method can I use to account for my income and expenses?See Accounting Method on page 5.
What kinds of federal taxes will I have to pay? How should I pay my taxes?See Business Taxes on page 5.
What must I do if I have employees?See Employment Taxes on page 6.
Which forms must I file?See Table 2 on page 6 and Information Returns on
page 8.
Are there penalties if I do not pay my taxes or file my returns?See Penalties on page 9.
What business expenses can I deduct on my federal income tax return?See Business Expenses on page 9.
What records must I keep? How long must I keep them?See Recordkeeping on page 11.
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 page 24 to find out how to get more information.

IRS mission.(p1)

Provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.

Comments and suggestions.(p1)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
You can write us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Business Forms and Publications Branch 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6406 
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.

Tax questions.(p2)

If you have a tax question, visit or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions at either of the addresses listed above.

What New Business Owners Need To Know(p2)

As a new business owner, you need to know your federal tax responsibilities. Table 1, below, 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 page 26.