What Tax Forms to File as a First-Time Business Owner

Congratulations on starting your new business. As a new business owner, taxes are probably the last thing on your mind. But since there’s no getting around them, here is some basic information about the forms you’ll need to file as a new business owner. In general, the form you must use to file your business taxes is determined by the type of business you have organized. There are many business structures available today. But for purposes of this article I will stick to the most popular: sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company.

Check with your state and local authorities to see the requirements to form a business, as well as what type of license, permit, etc. you need to operate there. Each entity type should apply to get a Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS using Form SS-4. You should also check with your state about getting a state tax ID.

Sole Proprietor

In most cases, new businesses operate as a sole proprietorship. When tax time rolls around, if you are organized as a sole proprietor, you will need to complete Schedule C* of the Form 1040 to account for your business profit or loss. Note that if you have $5,000 or less in expenses you may be able to file the Schedule C-EZ instead. The profit or loss from the Schedule C is then transferred to page 1 of the Form 1040, where it is included with your taxable income.

*If your small business income is from rents or royalties, you will use Schedule E. If it’s farming income, you will use Schedule F.

It’s important to keep accurate records of your business income and expenses, as you will be required to report these things on the Schedule C. For more information on starting a business and filing with a Schedule C, see Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business. This includes information on EINs, record-keeping, tax year, accounting method, and more.

Partnership, S Corporation, and C Corporation

If you are organized as a Partnership, you file the strictly informational Form 1065. A Schedule K-1 is produced for each partner and then you use that K-1 to determine the income that is reported on your personal Form 1040.

If you are organized as a C Corporation or S Corporation, you should file a Form 1120 or Form 1120S, respectively.

To understand more, be sure to check out these instructions from the IRS: IRS Forms for Partnerships and IRS Forms for Corporations.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Some business owners choose to organize under the popular LLC structure. LLCs have a lot of flexibility when it comes to filing taxes. They can be taxed like a sole proprietor (if they have only one member), partnership, or even like a corporation (C or S). If you are the only member of your LLC, then you will be automatically treated like a sole proprietor. Most multiple member LLCs will be treated like a partnership. If you decide you would like to be taxed in a different manner than these defaults, then you need to file Form 8832 to elect another classification. Note that if you intend to be classified as an S Corporation, you need to complete Form 2553. Once you determine your business structure for tax purposes, just use the recommended forms above to file. To understand more, be sure to check out these instructions from the IRS: IRS Forms for LLCs.

When These Forms are Due

Form 1065 and Form 1040 Schedule C must be filed by April, 15th. Forms 1120, 1120A, and 1120S are due a month earlier, by the March 15th deadline.

Comments (27) Leave your comment

  1. TT Lisa, I am only member of LLC. In some cases above you recommend TT Home Tax & Business. But in another you indicate both TT Business and TT Personal. What is the key that triggers needing both Business and Personal products vs just Home & Business?

  2. I was solicited to start a Web Site /internet business which failed. I was promised that I could claim investment costs on a tax return. The Tax Club, 350 5th Ave., New York, NY which operates with Affiliate Companies took thousands of Dollars on false promises for success.. Is would like to recover some of the money retroactively. I along with many other naive people were scammed by these White Collar Thieves. I pursued them, but they laugh it off by claiming they have done nothing wrong and of course they have an army of lawyers standing behind. them. Please help.

  3. I purchased TT home and business. However, I have rental under LLC and need Form 1065. How do I upgrade to TT Business by paying difference.

    • Hi Vana,
      You would need to purchase TurboTax Business for your LLC so you can do your business tax return. Then your income from your LLC will flow through to your personal tax return so you will still need 2 different TurboTax products. One for your personal tax return and one for your business. The LLC business tax return is separate from your personal.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  4. Hello, we formed a LLC in July 2013.
    The purpose was to form an investment club.
    We would like to file as a Corporation because we are a group of 14 people so having to file 14 personal tax statements would be a hassle.
    Also some people don’t live in U.S.A. is this possible. can Turbo tax Business help.

  5. I have form 1096 to file forms from my subcontractors that have serviced my LLC. I have their W9 info but then I need to give them a 1099. Correct? And then file ALL of these w9 payments under a 1096. As I understand it…since this is my first year submitting as an LLC, is this all I need to do? And then do it all before teh 15th of March?

  6. I formed an LLC late last year, but have not actually starting operating yet. Do I have to file anything? I am a single member LLC, so I know I would include any information in my personal taxes.

    • I formed an LLC in November of 2013. Do I file the information for 2013 on Partnership form 1065? Is that return due on April 15th?

  7. I am forming an LLC. I am unsure how the self employment tax is calculated. If my business don’t earn income for the year am I liable for this tax, or is it based on on earned income.

  8. As a new business owner I have decided to form an LLC, but have selected and filed the necessary paperwork with the IRS to be taxed like an S-corp (and have received noticed back that my selection was accepted). I just wanted to make sure that while running through the set-up of the TurboTax business software, when it asks for the structure of my business that I will need to select S-corp such that I can access the correct steps, processes, and forms

  9. HI I started an LLC in November to make some home made jewelry. I made about 600 and spent about $3,500 in items, bank account , cc reader.etc. What do I do? How do I file? Can I use TurboTax Home and Biz? I have a huge loss and minimal profit so far. Help?

  10. Hi this is my first year in business and i am sole owner , and i am using my boyfriend home for the business and he does not charge me for using his space. how can i file for studio and office space ? Since nothing is in my name at his home.

  11. Hi,

    I begun my new business one year ago, I spend too much money in items, advertisement…etc., I have a question,, I need to pay money or the state need return money?

  12. Hi. I joined a network marketing at home business and I wanted to know how I report my taxes? This is a business that is totally at home and I do receive referral money and bonuses from the founder, however I pay all expenses.

  13. I have a company that is a LLC but I am the sole owner and employee. How do I file this? It is set up as I am employed by my own company, like a subcontractor.

    • Hi Keith,
      You have to file a business tax return for the LLC by March 15 with TurboTax Business not to be confused with Home and Business. Your income from the LLC will be reported on your personal tax return, which can be filed using any of our versions for your personal taxes depending on your tax situation. If you already have a 1099-Misc or W-2 from your LLC you can file your taxes now.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  14. I am an executor of an estate and need to file k-1s for the siblings, which TT product should I be using for tax Year 2013. Mark

  15. On the page “What Tax Forms to File as a First-Time Business Owner”, the link to the IRS page for “IRS forms for LLC’s” near the bottom of the page is no longer good. The IRS has moved the page.

  16. Hi, we are starting a company this year and will be filing as an LLC I would like to be able to speak to someone to go over the forms we will need and the regulations.

  17. My husband and I are 50/50% members of our LLC. I’m not sure what product to use to file our taxes. Can you advise?

  18. Hi, my first year business expenses are more than $5k. This means I can not file with schedule C/EZ. I need the full schedule C. However, from what I can tell, the full schedule C form is not available with Home and Business. Only the Schedule C/EZ is included. Why is this?

  19. Hello, I am a First Time Business Owener I would like information on how to file my taxes and get the most from it . Please call me at 978-594-4140 ask for Junior

    • Hi Junior,
      Whether you are self-employed or a corporation TurboTax will guide you through tax preparation. If you are self-employed, you can use TurboTax Home and Business and if you are a Corporation you can use TurboTax Business.
      We also have free tax advice if you are filing your taxes with Turbotax.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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