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Small Business Back Taxes Help: Timeline and Process

April 26th, 2022 | 7 min. read

By CSI Accounting Staff

Nobody likes to fall behind - not on the dishes filling up the kitchen sink, not on the birthday present that’s going to arrive late, and certainly not on your small business’s accounting. We don’t blame you for wanting to know how long it will take an accountant to do your back taxes. 

If you lost track of your accounting for a while and are now taking the right steps to fix it (such as partnering with a monthly accounting service), you may feel the pressure of what feels like a race against the IRS. Give yourself a pat on the back for your effort, then take a deep breath as you find the answers you’ve been looking for here.

The amount of time and process of working on your back taxes varies by:

  • The amount of work that needs to be made up
  • The outside variables that your accountant is also dealing with
  • Who you’re working with

The following information is specific to CSI Accounting & Payroll but can be used as an example when you’re searching for an accounting service that is a good match for you. Once you’ve decided to move ahead with monthly accounting, it’s our goal at CSI to make your processes and estimated timelines as clear to you as possible. For some clients, the first step is getting your back taxes taken care of. 

When you pass the torch to us by fetching the information we need, you’re also letting go of the overwhelming sensation that you’ve been feeling for a while. CSI has been handling small businesses’ back taxes for over 50 years, and we’ve seen clients with several years’ worth of work to correct. We know the best practices to resolve the issues you’re facing.

Other small business owners who want CSI to get their back taxes done want to know more about:

  • What you need to do to help us get started
  • What the process for doing back taxes looks like
  • How long it will take us to do your back taxes

Small business owner frustrated with stacks of back taxes paperwork

How Do You Get Started With Back Taxes?

You should leave your initial strategy session meeting knowing exactly what information you’ll need to get for us to start your back taxes. This information can often include:

  • Bank logins
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Your last filed tax return
  • Other relevant information, depending on your situation

The process should be relatively simple if you’re able to access the information freely, but missing information that you need to wait for a third party to retrieve can take some extra time.

In the meantime, an accountant may be willing to start working on some of your accounting moving forward, but they can’t produce any financial statements for you until the back taxes are filed.

If we’re talking specific to CSI Accounting & Payroll, we would like to have your information in a week’s time - more than enough time to gather it. Even if accounting and taxes haven’t been top priorities in the past, now is the time to make them one. The faster you provide your accountant with the information they need, the faster we can get your back work done!

Read the complete guide to Small Business Taxes For Beginners

How Does an Accountant Do Back Taxes?

Let’s rewind to our first strategy session meeting. It usually occurs over the phone or virtually, and lasts about an hour or two. During this meeting, your accountant should perform a needs analysis and discuss:

  • How many years or months of back work that we need to handle
  • What exactly needs to be done
    • If we are doing back accounting work, back taxes, or both
    • If sales tax filings and payments are current
    • If there is other reporting that needs to be caught up on

After your accountant has all of the information that they requested from you, they can get this thing rolling! From here on out, your accountant should be dedicated to getting your records caught up and accurate, as well as getting your financial statements and tax returns done and ultimately starting your journey with monthly accounting.

How Long Does It Take CSI to Do Back Taxes?

Your initial strategy session with CSI should occur within the first week of you being our client. The meeting lasts about an hour.

When you gather the information we need, we prefer to give you a week to do so. Sometimes this does not fall very high on people’s priority lists and takes a bit longer, so we will check in weekly until we have everything we need. That is why we can’t give a guaranteed timeline for back taxes; sometimes this step can be unpredictable in how long it takes, and this is out of our hands.

As we start to work on your financial statements, we can settle into a more solid timeline since we have everything we need. Generally, we want to say that one year’s worth of back taxes will take us 60-90 days. Since this includes the most time-consuming part, the setup, it will take us less time per year to work on multiple years’ worth of back taxes. To date, our largest back work project did not exceed six months.

There are some external factors that still influence this, though. If we have many other new clients who need back taxes done at the same time, or if we are busier for tax season, the timeline can be a little bit longer. In the meantime, we can start working on some of your current accounting, but we can’t produce any financial statements for you until the back taxes are filed.

Want CSI to Handle Your Back Taxes?

When you fall behind on your dishes, you find the time to tackle them before they overfill your sink. When the birthday present you ordered gets delivered late, you apologize and make a note to shop earlier next time. So why do you worry that falling behind on accounting is a life sentence? It’s a fixable mistake. 

Doing your research on how an accounting service can help you and how long it would take shows that you’re ready to take the next steps. If you decide to come on board with CSI Accounting & Payroll, you’ll have clear timelines and processes for your route to recovery. In a matter of months, your accounting and taxes will be in a much better situation.

If you’re ready to have a conversation about how CSI can help you with back tax work, please schedule a free consultation below.


Otherwise, feel free to read up on the advice that a monthly accountant can give you:

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CSI Accounting Staff

This article was composed by a member of our staff who interviewed our experts to get the facts straight. Any uncited information found here came straight from a knowledgeable accountant or payroll specialist.