If you’re running a small business, there are several dates that will be important to you that you may not have given much thought to before. Filing your taxes and staying on top of essential deadlines will keep things running smoothly.

Below, we’ll cover what you need to know, including:

  • Important tax dates of 2021
  • Filing extensions
  • Small business tax checklist for 2021
  • Best small business accounting software
  • Why accurate accounting is important for small businesses
  • Small business tax resources

Important tax dates of 2021

Source: Bankrate.com

You’re familiar with tax day for your individual filings — it comes around every year on April 15. But for businesses, the days relevant to you for tax purposes happen year-round. Here are the most important tax dates of the calendar year, broken down by each quarter:

Quarter 1:

  • January 15: Quarterly taxes must be submitted
  • January 31: Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) & Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) withholding must be submitted
  • February 1: W2 and 1099 forms must be submitted
  • February 28: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Form 1095-C must be submitted for employers that offer health care to employees
  • March 1: Form 1099-MISC filings must be submitted

Quarter 2:

  • April 15: Annual taxes must be submitted
  • April 15: Quarterly taxes must be submitted
  • April 30: FUTA and FICA withholdings must be submitted

Quarter 3:

  • June 15: Quarterly taxes must be submitted
  • June 30: FUTA taxes must be submitted
  • July 31: FICA and FUTA withholding must be submitted

Quarter 4:

  • September 15: Quarterly taxes must be submitted
  • September 30: FUTA taxes must be submitted
  • November 2: FICA and FUTA withholding must be submitted

Filing extensions

There will be times when it just won’t be possible for you to file your taxes on deadline. Perhaps you’re having trouble getting all of your paperwork in order, are experiencing an emergency situation that’s making it difficult to complete your work, or let the date slip your mind and are now scrambling to get back on track. Don’t worry. In most cases, you can file for an extension to give you more time to submit your taxes.

live bookkeeping
Source: QuickBooks

If you’re unable to file your annual taxes by April 15, you can file an extension by that date instead. If you do, you will be given up to six additional months to submit your taxes. S corporations (S-corps) and partnerships can file Form 7004 and be given until September 15 to submit their annual taxes. Sole proprietorships and LLCs can file Form 4868 and take until October 15 to get their annual taxes in order.

Failure to pay your taxes and failing to not file for an extension can result in fines. You will be required to pay 0.5% of your unpaid tax bill for each month that you don’t pay. This adds up to a maximum of 25% of your total tax bill. If you continue not to pay your taxes, the IRS may choose to deduct what you owe from your future taxes, paychecks, or even repossess your property or possessions to pay back the debt. You may also face jail time for failing to pay.

Small business tax checklist for 2021

Filing business taxes is a bit more complicated than filing your personal income tax. You’ll need to make sure that you cover all of the necessary areas that businesses need to declare with the IRS. This small business tax checklist should help you stay on top of it all:

  • Income taxes: Based on your business income, the form you file depends on the structure of your company.Relevant forms include: Form 1065, Form 1120, Form 1120S
  • Payroll taxesRelevant forms include: Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, Forms 3921 and 3922, and Forms W-2 and W-2G
  • Employment taxes: Employment taxes refers to the withholdings that need to be made from your employee’s paychecks for Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance.Relevant forms include: Form 940, 941, 943, 944, or 945
  • Estimated taxes: Estimated taxes seek to estimate your tax liability for the year and split them into quarterly payments. This information will be adjusted during your annual tax filing and you either need to pay in or receive a refund based on this information.Relevant forms include: Form 1120-W
  • Excise taxes: Excise taxes vary based on your industry.Relevant forms include: Form 720, 730, Form 11-C, Form 2290

Best small business accounting software

There are many options out there for accounting software, but not all of them are best suited for small businesses. These are the best small business accounting software suites available to help you keep track of all your accounting, invoices, inventory, and more.

Accounting Software
Source: Zoho

Intuit QuickBooks Online

One of the most popular options for accounting software for a reason, Intuit QuickBooks Online offers an easy-to-use, scalable, cloud-based accounting service. Great for small businesses with plans to grow.


  1. Scalable as you grow
  2. Easily integrates with third-party applications
  3. Automatic receipts and transaction categorization


  1. Upgrades add to cost
  2. Cloud-based system can cause trouble syncing

Cost: Starts at $12.50 per month


A cloud-based accounting service, Xero stands out with its extensive supply chain management tools and a data-rich dashboard that highlights your financial information in real-time.


  1. Supply chain and inventory management
  2. Marketplace for third-party app support
  3. Cloud-based and accessible anywhere


  1. Limited support for reporting
  2. Additional fee for filing automated clearing house (ACH) payments

Cost: Starts at $60 per month

Zoho Books

Zoho Books is about as easy as it gets when it comes to setting up your bookkeeping. The interface is simple and intuitive, there’s lots of support for third-party apps, and it automates tasks for you to simplify your work.


  1. Easy to navigate interface
  2. Automatic report generation
  3. Lots of document management options


  1. Limited payroll support in some states

Cost: Starts at $15 per month

Why accurate accounting is important for small businesses

Businesses can have a lot of moving parts — assets, liabilities, income, expenses, payroll, and more. Having accurate accounting helps to keep track of all of this, making life easier on you when you need to file your taxes. It also gives you a much better picture of your business’s overall operation and can help you understand where your business is and where its potential for growth may be.

business trends open graph
Source: Xero

Tax types

  • Annual taxes: Annual taxes are filed both for individuals and businesses on April 15. These serve as an overall look at your tax situation over the past year, including how much you owe.
  • Payroll taxes: Payroll taxes are those withheld by an employer from an employee’s paycheck to pay in toward Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment.
  • FICA: taxes are paid to fund Medicare and Social Security programs. FICA requires 15.3% of an employee’s income go toward Medicare and Social Security funds.
  • FUTA: FUTA is taken out of an employee’s paycheck to establish unemployment insurance that can be claimed in case of a layoff. Small businesses typically owe 6% of the first $7,000 paid to each employee, but rates can vary in each state.
  • ACA: Employers providing health care to employees are required to file Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes. This covers the expense of health care plans offered to workers.

Small business tax resources

For additional resources for small business tax-related information, explore these resources:

IRS Online Tax Calculator

Small Business and Self-Employment Tax Center

SCORE’s Tax Planning Resources

Running a small business can feel overwhelming if you’re handling everything yourself. But once you understand the important dates on the small business tax calendar and have access to accounting software that can streamline some of the work, managing your small business can be easy.

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