1998 Tax Help Archives  

General Information

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1998 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

busielectron.gif (6193 bytes) More Businesses Pay Taxes Electronically

Two million business taxpayers have enrolled in an electronic tax payment system that allows them the convenience of making their federal tax payments directly from their homes or offices. The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) eliminates paper coupons and checks and uses instead telephones or personal computers to pay federal taxes.

Said by the IRS to be "the easiest way to pay federal taxes," EFTPS requires no special equipment. Payments by phone take less than five minutes. If a taxpayer wishes to use a personal computer, free, Windows-based software is available. Taxpayers can also choose to work through their financial institutions. Based on specific direction from the taxpayer, tax information and payment instructions are processed through EFTPS to the government. No government agency or outside party has unauthorized access to a taxpayer�s account or company information.

EFTPS is an alternative offered by the Treasury Department to provide businesses with a simple, integrated approach to managing their tax dollars and information. Last year, the Treasury collected over $1 trillion through the system. Approximately 4,000 businesses are enrolling each week.

Two Treasury Department financial agents, the First National Bank of Chicago and NationsBank, manage the system. These banks enroll people in the system, provide customer service, direct payments to the government�s account and provide the tax payment information to the IRS. Taxpayers do not have to open accounts at these banks to participate. They can authorize their own bank or the Treasury financial agent to initiate payments for them. A business that decides to use its own bank should check with the bank for specific instructions, deadlines and fees for using EFTPS.

Some businesses that use payroll companies may already be making EFTPS payments. A business should ask its payroll company if it has already enrolled the business in EFTPS and which taxes the company will be paying for the business. The IRS says that it is still a good idea for a business to enroll in EFTPS separately so there is flexibility should the business change payroll companies.

To use EFTPS, businesses must first enroll. They can begin using EFTPS as soon as they receive their payment instruction packet and personal identification number. Businesses that want an enrollment form or have questions can call EFTPS Customer Service at 1-800-945-8400 or 1-800-555-4477.

year2000.gif (6774 bytes)Get Ready for Year 2000

On January 1, 2000, some computer-based systems will begin processing information as if it were January 1, 1900. This is called the Year 2000 problem or the "Y2K bug." It may cause problems for businesses unless they act now.

This is not just a computer problem. It could affect any equipment that uses a computer chip, as well as the suppliers and business partners small businesses rely on. Here are three steps every business person should take.

First, take a self-assessment test. People should check their computers, as well as any electronic equipment that uses time-sensitive embedded electronic chips. The U.S. Small Business Administration�s Y2K Web site explains how to take this test.

Second, take action now. People should fix any Y2K problems they uncover, and test their results. They can ask their vendors for assistance.

Third, stay informed. Logging on to various Internet Y2K sites is an excellent way to stay current, and the SBA Web site is a good place to start.

Businesses should ask their banks, building managers, suppliers, customers and others critical to their business if they are Y2K compliant.

For more information, contact the SBA at 1-800-U-ASK-SBA or at www.sba.gov on the Internet.

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