Whatever stage your business is at –
from hiring your first employee, filing your first W-2, or applying for a loan –
a barrage of forms will require your attention. And as a small business
owner, it’s more than likely your responsibility to take care of this
particularly time consuming area of business management.
However, in many instances, small
business owners either aren’t aware of their regulatory obligations or simply
don’t know where to find the multitude of government-wide forms they need to
ensure they are operating their business within the law.
For example, when it comes to hiring
your first employee, did you know that your form checklist should include – an
EIN application form; federal tax withholding (Form W-4): federal wage and tax
statement (Form W-2); employment verification (Form I-9), and more? (For more information read Ten Steps to hiring your First Employee).
And that’s just one facet of business
and Forms.gov: All the Government Forms Your Business Needs
The good news is that the government
has leveraged its growing Web-based citizen services to connect small business
owners to essential regulatory and other government forms needed to help
them start, grow and operate their small business.
agencies such as the IRS and SBA have housed agency-specific forms on their Web
site for many years. But only relatively recently has relief come to small
business owners in the form of two government-run Web sites – the Business.gov and Forms.gov – that combine
government forms and resources from multiple agencies in one place.
Business.gov is the U.S. government’s official Web site
for small businesses and was originally
meant to be a portal for federal forms. Even though the site has grown to offer
a rich array of tools and information for small businesses, it’s still a great
resource for forms. Check
out the Essential
page on the site for links to the most frequently requested forms (for example:
W-2, W-4, SS-4, 1040 Schedule C, and so on) to forms categorized by business
need – starting a business, financing a business, operating a business, and
even closing a business.
It also includes links to state
government forms as well as forms that support business incorporation, the
protection of intellectual property, business licenses and permits, and more.
Forms.gov, on the other hand, is a useful searchable
online catalog of more than 5,000 federal forms managed by the General Services
Administration (GSA). However, it’s best to use this site when you know the
precise name and number of the form you need access to – for example, if you
just type “tax” you’ll get a listing of hundreds of tax forms.
Business.gov on Twitter and Facebook for up up-to-the minute information
and resources for small businesses. You can also discuss, share
and get insights from fellow business owners as well as industry and government
at the Business.gov