U.S. Small Business Year-End Checklist

16 steps on your small business year-end checklist to complete before and after December 31.

The end of the year can feel like a blur: Between online holiday shopping, family zoom calls, and running your business you may feel like you barely have time to keep up. Let alone attend to your small business year-end checklist.

But the end of the year and the beginning of the next is the most important time in your business. There are taxes to file, forms to send, and there’s planning to do. Use this checklist to close out this year well, and jump into the next one prepared and ready.

Small Business Year-End Checklist: To-Do Before December 31

This small business year-end checklist is broken down into two parts: to do before December 31 and to do after, so you can easily stay on top of what needs to happen, when.

Know Your Tax Forms and Due Dates

It’s time to grab your calendar and start marking down due dates. This includes due dates for U.S. tax returns. For example, 1040 personal income tax return (with Schedule C), partnership tax returns, corporation tax returns, as well as estimated tax due dates for the entire next year.

If that list feels overwhelming (yes, there are a lot of tax dates to know), we have a list that can help you get started filling out your own calendar.

For individuals and others filing as a disregarded entity (e.g., sole proprietorship):

Personal Income Tax due date (including filing Schedule C): April 15 Personal Income Tax due date (including filing Schedule C) with extension: October 15 Quarterly estimated tax payment due dates for individuals: April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15 (for income earned in the previous year).

For everyone:

1099-NEC, and W-2 forms to be sent by: February 1 1099-MISC paper form to be sent by March 1 (you can file electronically by March 31)

For partnerships and multi-member limited liability companies (LLCs):

Information return due date: March 15 Extended tax return due date: September 15 K-1s required to be filed by: March 15 Quarterly estimated tax payment due dates for individuals receiving income from a partnership or LLC: April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15 (for income earned in the previous year).

S corporations and C corporations:
(Note: that due dates listed below are based on a December 31 end-of-year.)

S corp return due date: March 15 C corp return due date: April 15 S corp extended tax return due date: September 15 C corp extended tax return due date: October 15 Form 941 due dates: April 30, July 31, November 2, and February 1 Form 940 due date: February 1

Remember, if any of these tax due dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the next business date is the due date. And these are just the federal due dates. Check with your state and local authority to determine what else you need to file, and by when.

Review Your Bookkeeping

Ideally, reviewing your books should happen monthly or quarterly. But before you get to the end of the year, take another look at how your year has gone so far. Answer questions like:

Have you earned as much as you expected? Are your expenses what you expected? Is

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