How to Document an Auto Repair Business

at auto workshop image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the number of vehicles on the road will continue increasing over the next 10 years, creating a demand for auto repair professionals and facilities. Auto repair businesses will benefit from this increased traffic, but increasing federal and state regulations on the auto repair industry will require more documentation. Currently, auto repair businesses require documented proof indicating their compliance with state licensing laws and federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Without the required regulatory documentation, auto repair businesses face heavy fines and possible jail terms.

Organize a filing system to hold the documentation required by the IRS and state treasuries as proof of business tax compliance. To comply with business tax regulations keep documents such as payment receipts, invoices, bank deposit records and payroll withholding. The IRS offers IRS Publication 583 and Publication 15 - Circular E Employers Tax Guide to assist businesses with tax deductions and employee withholding taxes. It also offers advice on how to maintain these files. Make sure to contact your state’s Department of Revenue to determine required local tax documentation.

Use IRS Publication 538 Accounting Periods Methods to help select an invoicing system required when filing all auto repair shop documentation related to customers including all repair estimates, invoices or statements of service. Business owners will need to review all state or county auto repair disclosure laws for further compliance reporting. Regulations vary by state and county, but most states require all auto repair businesses to retain all transaction files for a certain period.

Obtain forms and keep files to comply with federal and state environmental regulations for employee safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires a hazard communication and safety plan for all business produce hazardous waste. An OSHA Respirator Evaluation Form is required if auto repair employees use respirators for protection. OSHA also has specific Record-keeping forms: OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report. Each OSHA Record-keeping form is required by law to track work-related illnesses, injuries and hazardous material incidents involving employees. Contact your state’s department of labor and environmental protection agency for local reporting requirements.

Report and document all on-site hazardous waste storage and disposal. Auto repair businesses must document their chemical inventories and provide an OSHA Material Safety Data Sheet for each hazardous chemical used within the shop. Most states require auto repair businesses to keep records on chemical inventories, chemical waste disposal information, invoices pertaining to hazardous waste disposal services and waste recycling information. Certain states, such as Ohio, require auto repair businesses to register for a hazardous waste identification number if hazardous waste disposal reaches a certain amount. However, since each state has different hazardous waste storage and disposal documentation requirements, it is essential for auto repair businesses to contact their state’s department of environmental protection for more information.