Why Getting a Payroll Service Can Help Your Small Business

As a small business owner, there’s no doubt that you know the struggle all too well: wearing multiple hats as you juggle the responsibilities of managing your team, overseeing daily operations, and keeping an eye on your company’s finances. But what if you could save time, money, and effort by delegating one of these tasks to a professional?

In a small business, payroll management can be an exceptionally overwhelming task for business owners, who may lack the expertise or time to handle it efficiently. This is where a payroll service can offer immense value to your small business!

With that in mind, you may be wondering why it’s worth investing in the services of payroll management professionals, so let’s see how their expertise can fill in the gaps and bolster your business’s growth.

1. Time is Money: The Cost-Efficiency of Payroll Services

The time you spend processing payroll is time that could be spent focusing on the growth and success of your business. With so many variables to consider—taxes, benefits, and labor laws—it’s easy to see how manual payroll processing can become a tedious, time-consuming task. The solution? Outsourcing payroll to a professional service.

When you choose to work with a payroll provider, you’re investing in their expertise, technology, and efficiency. A dedicated payroll service has the knowledge and resources to stay up-to-date with ever-changing tax laws, ensuring that your business remains compliant and avoiding costly penalties.

By outsourcing your payroll, you can reallocate the time you previously spent on this task to focus on more strategic aspects of your business.

2. Accuracy Matters: Minimizing Errors and Ensuring Compliance

Mistakes in payroll processing can lead to costly consequences for your business, both financially and in terms of employee satisfaction. With so many intricate details to manage—deductions, benefits, and changing tax laws—it’s easy for errors to slip through the cracks.

When you work with a professional payroll service, you’re partnering with experts who have extensive knowledge and experience in the field. They are well-versed in the latest tax laws and regulations, ensuring that your payroll is processed accurately and complies with all applicable laws.

Ultimately, this minimizes the risk of costly fines and penalties, as well as helps to maintain employee trust and satisfaction.

3. Security and Peace of Mind: Safeguarding Your Sensitive Data

Handling payroll in-house can expose your business to potential security risks. Sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, and salary details can be vulnerable to theft or fraud if not properly protected.

Professional payroll services have the resources and technology in place to securely store and protect your sensitive data. By partnering with a payroll provider, you’re not only outsourcing the responsibility of handling this information, but also leveraging their state-of-the-art security measures to keep your data safe and confidential.

4. Flexibility and Scalability: Adapting to Your Business Needs

As your small business grows, so too will your payroll needs. Hiring new employees, offering additional benefits, and expanding into new territories all require changes to your payroll processes. When you work with a payroll service, you can easily scale your payroll solution to accommodate these changes without the added stress of managing it all in-house.

A professional payroll provider can offer customizable solutions that adapt to your unique business needs, ensuring that you have the support and expertise needed to navigate the complexities of payroll as your business evolves.

The Bottom Line

From ensuring compliance with complex payroll regulations to freeing up valuable time and resources, a payroll service can help your business run more efficiently and effectively. By investing in a payroll service, you can focus on growing your small business while leaving the payroll headaches to the experts.

Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, Practical Taxes can help you manage your payroll operations. Our affordable payroll service can help save you time and money, allowing you to focus on what matters most—running your business. Get started with Practical Taxes today and start streamlining your payroll operations!

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Small Business Tax Essentials: A Comprehensive Guide for Billings, MT, Entrepreneurs

Owning a small business in Billings, MT, brings both unique challenges and opportunities for success. One vital aspect of running a small business is understanding and managing your tax obligations, which is an often complex and evolving process.

A well-executed tax strategy can lead to significant financial savings for your business, while maintaining tax compliance ensures continuing growth and success. This comprehensive guide on small business tax essentials aims to provide entrepreneurs in Billings, MT, with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the complexities of small business taxation.

Effective tax management begins with understanding the various tax obligations that apply to small businesses, including federal and state income tax, employment taxes, and sales taxes. Depending on the nature of your business, these obligations may differ, making it essential to stay informed about any changes that could impact your bottom line.

Choosing the right business structure is essential, as the type of business entity you form can significantly affect your overall tax liability. To create a thriving and financially sound enterprise, you must also be aware of the available tax deductions, ensuring you capitalize on these opportunities to minimize taxable income and maximize tax savings.

In a rapidly changing tax landscape, it’s crucial for small business owners in Billings, MT, to equip themselves with the knowledge and resources needed to manage their unique tax obligations, maintain compliance, and take advantage of tax-saving opportunities. By diving into the world of small business taxation, you will set your enterprise on the path to success in Billings, MT, fostering a stable financial future and expanding your business horizons.

Essential Tax Obligations for Small Business Owners

Understanding your tax obligations as a small business owner in Billings, MT, is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding penalties:

1. Federal Income Tax: All businesses, except for partnerships, must file annual income tax returns with the IRS. Partnerships file an information return instead. Your business structure determines the appropriate tax form to use, such as Form 1120 for corporations or Schedule C for sole proprietors.

2. State Income Tax: Billings, MT, business owners are also subject to Montana state income tax, with varying rates depending on your business structure. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Montana’s tax regulations and file the necessary state tax returns, in addition to your federal returns.

3. Employment Taxes: If you have employees, you’re responsible for withholding Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes, as well as federal and state income tax from employee’s wages. You also need to pay federal and state unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation insurance.

4. Sales Tax: If you sell products or certain services in Montana, you must collect and remit sales tax to the state. Registering with the Montana Department of Revenue and obtaining a sales tax permit will enable you to meet this obligation.

Tips for Choosing a Business Structure with Tax Considerations

Selecting the right business structure is a critical decision that impacts your tax obligations and liabilities:

1. Sole Proprietorship: As a sole proprietor, you report all business income and expenses on your personal income tax return. This structure is relatively simple and may be suitable for individuals starting a small business with limited liability concerns. However, sole proprietors are subject to self-employment tax, which covers Social Security and Medicare contributions.

2. Partnership: In a partnership, business income and losses flow through to the individual partners’ personal tax returns. Partners are responsible for self-employment taxes and must file an annual information return (Form 1065) to report partnership income, deductions, and credits.

3. Limited Liability Company (LLC): Operating as an LLC can provide personal asset protection and allows for flexible tax treatment. By default, single-member LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships, while multi-member LLCs are taxed as partnerships. However, LLCs can also elect to be taxed as corporations by filing Form 8832 with the IRS.

4. Corporation: Corporations face double taxation; profits are taxed at the corporate level, and dividends paid to shareholders are taxed again on the shareholders’ personal income tax returns. However, corporations benefit from lower federal income tax rates and limited personal liability for shareholders.

Consult with a tax professional to determine the best structure for your specific business needs, keeping in mind potential tax liabilities and complexity of each option.

Common Tax Deductions for Small Business Owners

Maximizing tax deductions helps reduce your taxable income and overall tax bill:

1. Home Office Deduction: If you use part of your home exclusively for conducting business, you may qualify for the home office deduction. This deduction allows you to write off a percentage of your home-related expenses, including mortgage interest, utilities, and property taxes.

2. Vehicle Expenses: If you use a vehicle for business purposes, you can deduct expenses related to its use. You may choose between using the standard mileage rate or the actual expense method, which involves tracking all vehicle expenses and deducting a percentage based on business use.

3. Employee Benefits: You can generally deduct expenses related to employee benefits, such as health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, and educational assistance programs. These deductions not only lower your tax bill but also make your business more attractive to potential employees.

4. Advertising Costs: Advertising and marketing expenses related to promoting your business are fully deductible. This includes costs such as print and online ads, business cards, and even sponsoring local events or charities.

Understanding and Managing Sales Tax

Managing sales tax correctly and efficiently is essential for businesses operating in Billings, MT,:

1. Registering for Sales Tax: To collect sales tax in Montana, register with the Montana Department of Revenue and obtain a sales tax permit. Once registered, you’ll receive a certificate that should be displayed prominently in your place of business.

2. Collecting Sales Tax: Upon making a sale, collect the appropriate sales tax based on your customer’s location and the type of product or service you’re selling.

3. Reporting and Remitting Sales Tax: You must file regular sales tax returns, either monthly, quarterly, or annually, with the Montana Department of Revenue. To avoid potential penalties or late fees, ensure that you’re remitting the collected sales tax by the deadline specified.

Decoding Business Taxes for Entrepreneurs in Billings, MT

Successfully managing your small business in Billings, MT, involves more than just providing exceptional products and services. Ensuring compliance and optimizing your tax strategy are also key factors in building a stable and financially sound enterprise.

By understanding your tax obligations, choosing the right business structure, maximizing deductions, and managing sales tax effectively, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the world of small business taxation and achieve financial success.

Need expert guidance to optimize your small business practical tax solutions in Billings, MT? Practical Taxes offers personalized tax advice and financial services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards simplifying your small business tax management.

When you travel for work you have expenses; you have to pay for fuel, lodging, food, etc. And most of the time those expenses are, without a doubt, considered tax-deductible expenses. But then there are those trips where you travel and you mix, unavoidably, your business needs with leisure. For an example, say you travel to California for work, but when work has concluded for the day you decide to take in a Dodger’s baseball game—tickets, hotdogs, etc.—and then the next morning you go back to work. What in that scenario is considered tax deductible? Here’s a few tips…

When you read the above scenario did you think that anything regarding the baseball game could be considered tax deductible? It’s likely given that straightforward scenario that the meal and drinks were absolutely tax deductible—you have to eat when you travel for work, and the IRS can’t determine where you can and can’t eat. Now consider the baseball game tickets. If you are at the ballgame purely for entertainment reasons then it’s likely that you would have a hard time explaining to the IRS why you are deducting those expenses from your income. But if you went to the ballgame to entertain a client then those tickets are likely to be deductible. Most of the time, when you travel for business, your tax deductible expenses are pretty straightforward, and you should never forget to document those expenses on your tax return at the end of the year.

Did you know that there are no gross income limits to how much a small business owner can deduct? But if you are an employee, and you don’t have your expenses reimbursed by your employer (Hopefully, your expenses for work are always reimbursed by your employer when you travel for work), you should be able to deduct those expenses as itemized miscellaneous deductions.

If you have any questions about tax write-offs, or how the tax professionals at Practical Taxes can help you and your business succeed, then call today.

Newspaper-300x225Every business needs to get their name out there. Without visibility you don’t have clients. Without clients you don’t have an income. Without an income, well why are you even in business in the first place? The business world is constantly changing. And you need to stay on top of things or else you will be left with nothing but Yellow Pages ads in a world where Google search engine rankings are all that anyone cares about. If you want to maintain a viable player in your field, follow these tips set forth by your accountant in Billings, MT.


Becoming More Visible as a Business

There are a number of different ways to spread your name around. They are more than just advertising, and you can’t just pick one. You need to keep at the top of your game across multiple methods. Here are a few that have great success.

Google – There are two ways to get to the top of Google. You can pay for an AdWords campaign to put your website at the top of the list when people search for specific keywords. Most of the time people skip right by these ads. The alternative is to organically build your site to be search engine optimized. This includes a lot of content, and some other SEO techniques.

Pay Per Click – You need exposure. One way to do that is to set up a pay-per-click ad campaign targeting local site. Your local news sites will host your ad, but you only ever pay if someone actually clicks on your ad. This drives traffic to you website, and hopefully results in paying clients. You need a great website to convert those visitors to clients.

Media – Many businesses will benefit immensely from media advertising. This is printed ads in the paper, radio spots, TV commercials, and more. These ads are not for everyone, but they can benefit certain businesses immensely.

Networking – One word that many professionals hate is networking. But if you get into the right networking group, you will be rewarded greatly. For instance, Biz to Biz is a fantastic way to generate leads and pass referrals.

Partnering – Some businesses will benefit greatly by partnering with related businesses. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, you may benefit by partnering with a marketing company. You take your information to that company, and the next time they have overflow work, they push it your way. It’s a win-win for both of you.

Online Reviews –Something under-utilized, especially here in Billings, are Google reviews. Every time you have a satisfied customer, give them a card with your information and ask them to write a review for you on Google. You can offer small bribes such as a free coffee to a local kiosk to get a better response rate.

Outsourcing the Right Parts of your Business

Because you are a busy professional, you likely don’t want to take the time to make sure that your business is getting the right visibility. This is where it is important to outsource certain aspects. For instance, how many hours per month do you spend on payroll services? That is something your accountant in Billings, MT can do so you can focus on running your business. Outsourcing your marketing to the professionals is not only easier, but gets dramatically better results. A highly visible business is a profitable business. Where are you lacking?

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, MT. If you need help with your bookkeeping, online payroll services, business consultation, or just simple tax preparation, we are here to help. Call us today at 406-894-2050 to learn more about how we can help you.

Drucker-portrait-bkt_1014Running a business is all about efficiency. Without certain systems in place, you will never be able to accomplish all that you need to get done. For example, if you simply have too much work to get done, then you will need to hire employees. Of course with those employees comes a whole host of other problems that need to be resolved such as payroll, bookkeeping, and many more. You can do all of those yourself, or you can put a system in place to accomplish those tasks for you. Your payroll services specialist in Billings, Montana explains how.


Becoming More Efficient

Peter Drucker, the late business consultant and educator, once said, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” These words have never been truer, especially in today’s world where often business owners try to take on everything rather than delegating and simplifying.

Eliminate – There are many things that business owners simply don’t have to do. But for some reason, perhaps it’s because they want to make sure that everything gets done properly, they do them anyway. For instance, there are a lot of business owners out there that feel they need to incorporate every form of marketing available.

So they stress and worry about their radio ads, billboards, TV ads, internet marketing, and social media marketing. In today’s world, they could easily eliminate three or more of those forms of marketing, and still make just as much of an impression on the community.

Delegate – If you have employees, then you are already delegating. Whenever there is a task that can be done by someone else, you can help alleviate some of the stress by delegating that task to someone else.

Most of us delegate already. We ask our connections on Facebook for advice, we have employees help us, and we have our accountant run our payroll and our bookkeeping. Any time that you can have someone else do the work, it is usually better to have them do the work.

Simplify – Sometimes you just need to simplify your work. Instead of having an elaborately designed 10 page color catalog that nobody ever reads, have a 1 page flyer instead. But as we referred to above, if the work doesn’t need to be done, then simplifying isn’t going to make you more efficient.

That is why we always ask first, “can this be eliminated?” and then, “can this be delegated?” and finally, “can this be simplified?”

Practical Taxes Can Help

In your quest for maximum efficiency, Practical Taxes can help alleviate the burden that you feel. If you have employees, and you are still writing paychecks every two weeks, delegate that to us. If you are slogging your way through bookkeeping every months, delegate that to us.

If you are trying to file your taxes quarterly and are frustrated beyond belief, delegate that to us. As a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana, we can take a lot of the pressure off of you so that you can better run your business.

Don’t fret about an audit, because, for most of us, an audit isn’t an overly scary thing. If you payed your taxes and had the professionals at Practical Taxes help to get your paperwork in order and helped you file that paperwork correctly, by the correct date, you’re probably fine. But still an audit can happen. And it can happen even a year or two after the tax year for which the IRS wishes to audit (Sometimes an audit can come seemingly out of nowhere, a complete surprise). And if you are going to be audited, you will want to be prepared; you will want to be able to show the IRS everything for that particular tax year.

Keep all your receipts from the tax year with your tax paperwork. Oftentimes proof of a particular expense is all the IRS needs to happily close your case and move on. You want every receipt, every scrap of paper that was official evidence that you had an expense pertaining to your tax liability. If you wrote off gas mileage and the like, then make sure to keep that evidence handy as well. Gas logs are invaluable at times like these.

How Long Should I Keep the Records?

The statute of limitations (Admittedly that term sounds too officially criminal, but it just refers to the limit on the span of time for which the law can investigate and then try a person) is different in every state. For most of us it’s important to keep our tax records for five years—longer if you kept tax records for employees.

If you have any questions about dealing with an IRS audit, or if you need accounting help in the coming year—Practical Taxes can help with payroll services, and full service, year-round accounting services—then make sure to call the tax experts at Practical Taxes. Remember, most times an IRS audit is nothing to be worried about, but you can have even more confidence when Practical Taxes guides you through.

run a better businessIf you are a business owner then you are always on the lookout for how to run a better business. You want to have a clean and fluid business that can operate without you. You want to be able to take a vacation and know that when you return, there won’t be a pile of work for you to get done. But you wonder how can that can even happen? You’re scraping by now and can only dream of those days.

It all starts with taking small steps. Let your accountant in Billings, MT explain the three steps it takes to run a better business.

Invest in Your Presence

There are two different types of marketing out there: branding and marketing. Branding is letting people know who you are; marketing is letting people know what you sell. Many businesses skip the first step, and jump right into the second step.

Before you can sell a product to your customer, your customer needs to be familiar with your face. Let’s look at it this way. You need life insurance and the only two companies that you can find are MET Life and XYZ Financial. You have seen the Snoopy commercials, you know “Get MET, it Pays”, and you’re familiar with the brand. XYZ Financial says they offer a premium product for 20% less than MET Life offers. Who do you choose? Most people will go with MET because they trust the brand (although they know nothing about the brand other than they have heard the name often).

As a business owner, you want your name to become a household name (Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Apple, Toyota, etc.). When people already know your name, then they will be more likely to buy your product.

Sell to Your Customer; Not to You

A good sales person knows this rule of sales: make it all about the customer. Don’t tell them what you have to offer, tell them how you can solve their problem.

accountant and payroll services expert in Billingsaccountant and payroll services expert in Billings

Often we hear sales pitches that go like this: “We have the best product on the market. Through years of research and development, we have developed a product that blows away the competition. Our product is ranked better than 98% of all others out there, and our sales show that we are the best!”

Nobody cares. The customer wants to hear a pitch like this: “Are you tired of [xyz]? 98% of our customers report that [product name] has helped them. Don’t suffer any more, try us today. If it doesn’t work out, we have a money back guarantee.”

See the difference? The first pitch is all about how great the product is. The second is all about how the product helps the customer.

Meet the customer’s needs, and the sale will make itself.

Get Organized

One of the biggest business killers is lack of organization. If you want to run a better business, you have to invest time (every single day) into staying organized. Doing so will help ensure that you will remember to reply to all of those emails, return phone calls, and get everything done.

Look at it like this. Suppose you remain unorganized. Every morning, before you get any work done, you have to spend an hour remembering where you left off the day before, figuring out what project you are working on, and de-cluttering your desk. Now let’s suppose you spend 15 minutes at the end of every day organizing for the following day. Now you have that entire hour at the beginning of the day (when you are fresh and thinking clearly), to get as much accomplished as possible. You can run a better business with ease because you gave yourself a boost.

Let Practical Taxes help you Run a Better Business

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You have work to do, prospects to follow up with, and phone calls to return. The last thing that you want to do is worry about your taxes and payroll. Don’t muddle through doing your own taxes, leave them to us!

We offer affordable tax preparation services here in Billings, MT. We spend our time on your taxes, so you can spend your time learning how to run a better business.

It’s becoming a popular thing to do: start up a small business, even a “micro” small business (consider the tiny online stores on the Etsy and Ebay websites). And the talk in Government is all about the encouragement of more small business; encourage the working man or woman to set out on their own, get a tax break in the process… And it’s true that owning a small business has considerable benefit to those willing to take on the responsibility: there can be great pride in building a business, pride in ownership, in being your own boss. But there are many overlooked costs and responsibilities that people may not consider when starting out on their own. Here’s a few.

Wait time and Cost of Licensure, Insurance, Registration…

Most folks consider the process of licensure when they start up the business, but not everyone considers the cost and scope of insurance; the cost and scope of insuring employees, or the liability of using contractors, operating on their own specialized license, in relation to the liability of the business.


Sometimes people get into business without any real foundation of the required paperwork—everywhere in business there seems to be paperwork—and to be bogged down and unprepared for the banal methods of paperwork can be costly for your business. You may want to consider hiring an accountant to help with payroll and other accounting jobs; Practical Taxes will ensure your annual tax liability gets handled smoothly. Did you know, for instance, that when you work for yourself there is a self-employment tax? Have you ever considered how much of your precious time will be taken away by employee background checks and payroll?

Unfortunately, even businesses built with the best of intentions don’t last long without proper financial planning. If you are planning to go into business on your own soon, or if you are still on the fence, considering it, remember that a quality accountant can help your business run smarter and more efficient. If you have any other questions as to how Practical Taxes can help your business, call today.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, or you pay as little attention to the news as possible, you would have heard that our Government—in particular the Republican Party in the Senate—is attempting a massive tax reform. It’s interesting and a little unsettling—the bill passed in the Senate, late at night, just hours after the almost 500-page document—parts of which were edited in pen and scribbled on the margins (taxes are a hotly contested and divisive topic right now!)—was given out to members of the Senate But this is the politics of tax reform. And what does the tax bill, at least at it stands today, mean for the rest of us?

Ok, let’s only scrape the surface of this, focusing only on how a possible tax reform could affect the average person’s taxes. Regardless of the politics behind tax legislation—these days politics are a very, very divisive topic—remember that these numbers will likely—most definitely—change, at least somewhat, and nothing here is completely definitive (nor is it a sure thing) as this bill has only been voted on, and passed, in the Senate; but, the statistics, at least so far, are interesting to dissect. First, earners from across the board, including people who make only ten-thousand dollars every year on up to people making over a million dollars a year could see a possible tax cut in the first year that this bill gets enacted—2019. A good percentage of the people who make over forty-thousand dollars annually on up to over a million will see a tax cut—not everyone, but a good percentage. But—and here is where the legislation gets tricky—by the year 2027, those tax cuts, especially for the people earning under one-hundred-thousand dollars every year, don’t exist, and these people will be required to pay in on their taxes.

No, the current discussion of tax reform will not affect this year’s taxes, which are coming up fast. Make sure to make your appointment with Practical Taxes and forego the anxieties involved with the tax season.


If you own a small business, you know just how important the standard tax write-off is. What you may not know is that marketing costs are win-win write-offs for every small business. Every small business needs to standout, meaning that every small business should be doing everything in their power to get out their name and then to keep their name in their local community (or local online community—i.e. Etsy). And the expense that comes from marketing a business is directly related to a future write-off on your taxes. Now, this isn’t to say that everything you do will lead to a write-off. The IRS believes that all tax write-offs should be reasonable in amount, and directly related to your business (How it’s related could bristle the hairs on the back of an IRS agent’s neck). Here are few ways to market your business that make for simple, straight-forward write-offs at the end of the tax season.

A new or up-to-date website

The rules and designs of the web change almost monthly. Google has new rules for keeping websites at the top of search engines, and customers have come to expect proficient designs that are easy to navigate. So, hiring someone (or, if you yourself have the spare time and experience) to update your website, add to its design, or shake things up. If there are any fees involved to host the website through a third party, these may also be accounted for. Also adding premium services so that your website runs smooth and efficient.

The Google Search Words Campaign

Many businesses spend exorbitant amounts on google ad-words, search terms. These can add up quickly. At the end of every month google should provide you with a receipt from the month’s transactions—this data is also included in your Google analytics package, however, just to be safe, don’t wait until tax season to save this data, in case anything were to happen.


A marketing flyer is still be an effective marketing strategy in the digital age. Or a personalized Christmas card from your business to your customers at Christmas. Oftentimes, things like flyers, cards, and letters are easily deductible. Keep every receipt!

If you need advice as to which potential deductions will benefit your business, Practical Taxes is here and ready to help.