Congratulations! You've sold some items on the Internet and decided to start a virtual sales business. Unfortunately, every silver lining has a cloud, and now you need to register with the government, keep records, and pay taxes. How do you go about doing that? Where do you start?
This little book will answer your questions. It will explain your registration and tax requirements, discuss the records you need to keep, and suggest some bookkeeping options. However, you must bear in mind that no book can substitute for a relationship with a good tax professional.
Every state has its particular laws and requirements, and each is a little different from the rest. In addition, your city or county probably has separate rules of its own. It's impossible for one book to explain each and every state and local government's requirements, especially since those requirements often shift with the political winds. That's why every business person, Internet or otherwise, should find and work with a compatible local tax advisor.
How do you find a tax advisor? If you already use an income tax preparer that you're happy with, you probably need look no farther. Otherwise, talk to friends, business associates, professionals, and the small business owners that you deal with. One of them is bound to know an advisor that will be right for you.
One other note: the terms "tax advisor" and "accountant" often are used interchangeably. More often than not, your tax advisor and your accountant will be the same person. Just be aware that there are good tax advisors who don't do accounting, and there are good accountant/bookkeepers who don't give tax advice. You're probably going to need both services, whether or not the same person provides them.
Before you start looking, the ground rules in this book can help give you a feel for this new environment. I hope they'll also enable you to make informed choices about how much you can do on your own, when to seek help, and what kind of help to look for. With that, let's begin.