I recently formed a c-corp and am looking for outside investment very soon.
I'm paying out of pocket for startup expenses (office lease, office equipment, software licenses, etc). I will spend about 3000 before outside investment comes in.
Is it worth setting up a corporate bank account or finding an accountant? I'm working under the assumption it's not worth the overhead, and that the tax write offs will be less than the accounting expenses. But I want to make sure I'm not missing something important.
Also, I'm aware I need accounting help at 12 months after the incorporation date, but do I need it for the end of the quarter?
You are missing an important big-picture issue:
To the extent that you fail to segregate corporate funds in a corporate bank account, separate from your personal bank account, you are opening yourself up for "alter ego" personal liability, i.e., you are inviting a court to disregard the corporation - making you personally liable - because you failed to comply with corporate formalities.
Please see "Beware Your Alter Ego ".
Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Is it worth setting up a corporate bank account or finding an accountant?Set up your business bank account now. It costs you nothing and keeps your personal and business finances separate. Right now you are basically operating as a sole-proprietor (assuming you're the only owner). Not only will this cause you to lose your liability protection, but the IRS can reclassify your corporation as a sole-proprietor and as a result your income taxes will need to be redone (and possibly result in you having to pay fines/interest to the IRS).
Also, I'm aware I need accounting help at 12 months after the incorporation date...This is not entirely accurate. The IRS lets you choose your tax year. You have two main choices:
Most startups and small businesses use the calendar tax year. If you're going with the calendar year, your tax period ends on Dec 31 regardless of when you incorporated. For example, lets say you incorporated on Sept 1, 2010. Then your corporation's reporting period will be from Sept 1, 2010 to Dec 31, 2010. It will not be from Sept 1, 2010 to Aug 31, 2011 (12 months).
However, if your corporation uses a fiscal tax year, then it's possible that you're looking at a 12 month cycle from when you incorporated, for your first year. This will only be the case if you choose your fiscal year to line up with when you incorporated. For example, again let's say you incorporated on Sept 1, 2010 and you have choosen a fiscal tax year for your business starting Sept 1. Then yes, you are looking at a 12 month reporting cycle for your first year. However, let's say you incorporated on Sept 1, 2010, but you have choosen your fiscal year to start on July 1. In this case, your reporting period for your first year will be Sept 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 (less than 12 months).
For more information on accounting periods see IRS Publication 538 Accounting Periods and Methods.
... but do I need it for the end of the quarter?For information about paying quarterly taxes see How many times a year do LLC's have to file taxes?
BoA is cheap for business accounts.
I like to use BoA and then switch to SVB once real funds are available.