Every Document and Form You Need For Your Home Business

my documents

Do you know what legal forms you need for your work-at-home business?  Or would you just like to have easy access to free forms to help you stay organized as a work at home mom?

Well then let’s start with the basics.

Because each state has different laws regarding the regulation of home-based businesses it’s best if you visit the Small Business Administration website to search for what you need.  Find out if you need to register your business, if you need any licenses or permits, etc.  Here is a screenshot that shows you how to search for what you need:Business Plan

Everybody says you need to have a business plan.  Am I right?  I can hear a collective groan here from WAHMS everywhere.  No worries it can be as detailed or not as detailed as you would like.

If you don’t have the time for one, I have a fix for that; the one-day business plan model that can be found and downloaded here:

One Day Business Plan

If you are looking for something with more substance you can check out SCORE’s (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Business Plan Template.

SCORE is probably one of the best FREE resources to use for your at home business.  You can literally spend hours sifting through all of their valuable information.

Financial Statements

Trying to sort through the world of financial statements can be a daunting task.  SCORE provides just about every financial statement under the sun.

Tax Forms

Applying for an Employer Tax Identification Number (EIN)?  Fill out the SS-4 form or use the EIN assistant.

You don’t have to have an EIN to operate your home-based business; you can use your social security number if you like.

Below are the must-have tax forms that you need to file:

Federal 1040 Personal Tax Return – Most of us are familiar with this form because it’s the one required of us annually.  If you run a business from your home and are self-employed then in addition to your 1040 you will also need to file a Schedule C & SE Attachment which can be found here:

  • Schedule C or Schedule C EZ  – You are required to complete this form as a sole proprietorship.  It is your Profit or Loss from Business tax form.
  • Schedule SE – Self-Employment Tax form which you must use to report your Medicare and Social Security taxes.

Estimated Tax For Individuals Form – Also know that you need to file quarterly estimated taxes which can become cumbersome but is required.  Since you do not have an employer withholding taxes for Medicare and Social Security, you need to submit this estimation yourself.

Great Tip! Do you keep all your business receipts in an old shoe box?  Check out shoeboxed.com.

It beats the shoe-box method of keeping track of receipts and finances.  It’s free to sign up and you won’t regret that you did!

Useful Checklists

The Small Business Startup Checklist – This is self-explanatory and is a public file under Google Docs. 

The Beginner’s Checklist for Small Business SEO – At some point you are either going to have to learn this or hire someone that is an expert.  This is from an excellent SEO website by the name of SEOmoz.com.

Website Standard Terms and Conditions Template

Not required but certainly important for any small business website to include policies spelled out for the users of your site.  For example, privacy policy, earnings disclaimer, confidentiality notice, etc.  Here is a template that contains the basics:

Website policies template

Free Business Forms

Below is a listing of the most useful free business forms to use in your business:

  1. Legal-Forms-Kit.com  – This site offers a one-time offer of free legal forms up to $25.  The rest you have to pay for, but free is always a good thing.
  2. FreeBusinessForms.com – A very comprehensive site that offers a load of free forms from profit and loss statements to join venture agreements. Some of the forms you can only use online, but some you can download to your desktop as well.  You can also review free business reports and business plan templates on this site.
  3. Quarterly Income Statement – Keep track of your income using this quarterly income statement that is a shared file on Google Docs.
  4. Profit and Loss StatementEntrepreneur.com is another resourceful site for business forms.  Here you can find a nice profit and lost statement designed as an Excel spreadsheet.
  5. Cash flow Worksheet – Another great Excel spreadsheet.

These are the basics that will get your work-at-home business organized in terms of your paperwork and help you stay on top what’s required of you and your business.

And last but not least The Frugal Enterpreneur  is a fantastic blog all about how to run your business effectively and on the cheap.

Disclaimer:  The above forms and information are not considered nor are intended as legal or tax advice.  You must contact your attorney or tax professional when completing your forms.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.