The 5 Most Common Small Business Filing Mistakes To Avoid.

Stacy Abrams

Filing taxes for your small business can be daunting and confusing. You need to file correctly so you don’t get in trouble with the IRS, but there are a lot of rules and processes to keep track of.  

It’s time to simplify your taxes! Let’s go through the most common filing mistakes small business owners make, so you can avoid them this tax season (and the rest of the year).  

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1. Missing or incorrect information

One of the simplest mistakes is forgetting to fill out part of your tax form or entering incorrect information. Even one error could flag an audit or require you to re-file, which can cause late fees and penalties.  

The most common mistakes on tax returns include: 

  • Incorrect or missing SSN or employer ID numbers
  • Misspelled names 
  • Incorrect filing status
  • Computation errors for taxable income, withholding, and deductions
  • Withholding or incorrect estimated tax payments 
  • Failing to sign/date return  

2. Not filing or paying on time

If you miss the filing deadline for taxes, your business could face a 5% penalty per month. This fee will increase each month until you file the return. If you neglect to pay your taxes, the IRS will charge 6% interest and a late payment penalty of about .5% each month after the deadline.  

If you need extra time to pay for your taxes, you should file for an extension. Don’t miss deadlines, or you’ll end up with even more owed money on your plate! 

3. Incorrect expense tracking

The most important way to prepare your taxes for April is thorough record keeping throughout the year. Failing to properly track your expenses can be one of the costliest parts of your taxes (and the biggest headache).  

If you don’t track and categorize expenses, you could miss out on deductions that could save your business a lot of money. There are a lot of deductions you may qualify for like furniture, supplies, advertising, equipment, licenses, mileage, and more.  

Worse yet, inaccurate tracking could land you in hot water if the IRS audits you and you can’t substantiate expenses.  

Make sure you keep all receipts for expenses, payroll, sales, and other costs. This makes potential audits easier and ensures you’re receiving any applicable tax breaks.  

4. Not separating business and personal

Small business owners often pay out of pocket for a lot of business expenses. Blurring this line can actually create a problem when tax time comes around. It can be harder to prove business deductions, and you may misfile between your personal and business.  

To avoid this, you should separate expenses by using separate bank and credit accounts, tracking and storing receipts separately, and paying yourself a salary rather than using business accounts to pay for personal expenses.  

5. Not working with a professional

A lot of small business owners want to cut the expense of taxes by using tax software to do it themselves. This can work for smaller businesses, but you could still miss areas or deductions that a professional would catch. In most cases, working with a professional will actually save you a lot of time, money, and errors.

The tax process can be complicated and painful, so don’t do it alone. Start by downloading our Ultimate Small Business Tax Checklist to get started. The checklist walks you through step-by-step to organize your business taxes all-year long, so you can better avoid errors and streamline the filing process. Download the checklist here. 

About the Author

Stacy Abrams is a founder of TaxFaqs. When she’s not serving her clients, she geeks out on board games, cider, and challenging her friends to top her awesome karaoke skills. She calls Bloomington, Minnesota home.


People often ask what "Gearmark" means as a word - so to sum it up:  

Gear = Process | Mark = Brand  

Gear + Mark = Process + Brand = Experience  

Customer Experience is created by defining company processes with brand values in mind.  

A company's brand should be experienced beyond colors, logo marks, and words. It's about it's values. A logo is a visual expression of its values. A company's colors reflect the feeling of a company's value. The words it uses shows how it wants to be perceived by customers and prospects. The way a customer interacts with a company - the app workflow, the call flow, the customer support processes, the sales process - should incorporate the brand values.  

By allowing your brand values to influence the definition of your processes, you are creating a unique Customer Experience for your organization. How a company interacts with customers and prospects reflects its personality in the same way as how an individual interacts with the people around him reflects his personality. (You can read more about this in our paper on Methodology).  

Gearmark was previously focused on User Experience - web and mobile, apps and Web sites for lead gen. However, with the convergence of communication technologies and the growth of conversations driving experiences, there needs to be greater consideration given to the entire Customer Experience. How a customer, prospect or even employee interacts with a company's sales team, customer service team, or accounts payable should reflect its brand. And although there can be nuances about the flow and process based on values - there should be consistency across all channels.  

And contacting your company should be EASY.  

And that's where Gearmark can help. We provide suggestions and guidance for changes to your processes that makes it easy for your customers and prospects to communicate and interact with your company.

Mary Brodie

Mary Brodie, Founder & Strategist

I am an experience strategist and founder of Gearmark, helping companies create memorable customer experiences, online and offline, for over 20 years. From apps to content strategy to lead gen programs, I have helped companies achieve results that contribute to the bottom line. But achieving great results takes a great team that works well together. My work extends into team dynamics and internal processes. I believe that the internal employee experience of a company is just as important as the customer experience it creates. I attended MIT, graduated from Simmons College with a BA and MA, and recently graduated from IE University in Madrid with an Executive Masters in Corporate Communication.  

Read my LinkedIn profile to learn more about me.

Let us help you create better digital customer experiences, build customer relationships, and generate revenue. 


We help companies create great digital experiences that build customer relationships and increase revenue.

Let us tell you more

Build relationships through experiences.

Most of us remember a handful of experiences with companies. If we reflect on what makes these experiences memorable, we'll quickly realize that it's not the uniqueness, the messaging, or that a product is easy use. In fact, if a transactional app is easy to use, it may not be memorable. 

We may say that the experience "spoke to us." But what does that mean?

Read the blog>

What's the magic ingredient to build a relationship with customers? 

Emotional Engagement.

This Webinar Master Class shows you how to add emotions into any experience so customers feel that they are included.


Transactions aren't connections

We often hear that customers need to read at least 11 pieces of content before contacting sales. Or we host promotional events, offer free trials, or provide other activities to reach out to new prospects. We optimize our products to make functionality easier to use. We fix support problems to reduce calls. But we still don't see the results we'd like. 

We often think our customer considers "what's in it for me." But is that what they are really after? 

Maybe they just want a relationship? Or a connection?

Read the blog> 

Want to work with Gearmark?

Go to our Patreon page to learn more.

  • Join our community on Slack
  • Get coaching
  • Get consulting

Learn more about different ways we can help you.

Go check out the blog for more insights

Let's talk! Contact us today.

Email: | Telephone: 415.577.6100


How do you include emotional connection in your experiences?  

We can help with that.

We work with our clients to create memorable experiences that build customer relationships. By using the Customer Relationship Lifecycle construct, we provide a unique perspective to get the engagement you want and need.  

We can enhance existing programs and products. We find most companies have fantastic products and programs to solve their customer's problems. The problem is that they aren't looking for the right results or they aren't targeting the right audience in the right way. Some are focused too much on the transactions.  

Create new programs and products. Sometimes companies need something to augment their current products and services. Or they want to have a different type of engagement of reach different results. We'll work with you to develop the strategy and execute the program or product.  

Which teams do we work with in your organization? All.  

We work with all departments that have a customer touchpoint. And there are ways we can collaborate with teams inside and outside of your organization to develop programs and products that will build emotional connection and memorable experiences. 

CX Magic

How to work with Gearmark

There are many ways you can work with Gearmark:

  • Join the community
  • Get coaching
  • Get consulting

Go to our Patreon page for more information.

Let us help you create better digital customer experiences, build customer relationships, and generate revenue. 



Blog: Process + Brand = Experience

Impakter: Contributions from Mary Brodie

InPower Women: Contributions from Mary Brodie  

Individual Articles:

The Case to Replace Intranets with Bots, UX Magazine, February 14, 2017

The Mobile Revolution: Reconstructing Familiar Interactions, UX Magazine, May 2, 2016

The Top UX Predictions for 2016, Mary Brodie - contributor, UX Magazine, December 30, 2015 

The Top UX Predictions for 2015, Mary Brodie - contributor, UX Magazine, December 20, 2014

The Top UX Predictions for 2014, Mary Brodie - contributor, UX Magazine, December 20, 2013

Usability Testing Includes Users as Stakeholders, UX Magazine, December 21, 2011

Internet Eavesdropping,, March 22, 2006

Navigational Systems Defined by Customer Experience,, February 7, 2002  

Mary Brodie Outlines the Requirements for Developing Successful Navigations and User Experiences,, February 13, 2002  

Methodology Document

Let us help you create better digital customer experiences, build customer relationships, and generate revenue. 


Past presentations by Mary Brodie:  

Listening: Three Shifts You Can Make to Connect and Build Empathy with your Customer, Big Design Dallas 2018, Dallas, TX  

Listening with Empathy to Connect with Customers, CXTalks 2018, Dallas, TX  

Six ways to bridge the distance between UX and Agile Virtual Teams, Big Design Dallas 2015, Addison, TX  

"UX Practitioner? In an Agile virtual team? 6 ways to bridge the distance," Agile 2015, Washington DC  

"Go from a Nebulous Vision to Iteration One in 3 Steps," Agile 2014, Orlando, FL  

Let us help you create better digital customer experiences, build customer relationships, and generate revenue. 


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