7 Tips for Filing IRS Form 941: Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
As an employer, you’re required to withhold income, Social
Security, and Medicare taxes from your employees’ paychecks. You’re also
required to pay the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes and
report your payroll taxes to the IRS every quarter using Form 941: Employer’s
Quarterly Federal Tax Return. It can be daunting, especially if you’re a new
employer. Keep these seven tips in mind to make the filing process easier.
1. Determine if you need to file
Form 941 is a summary of your company’s
payroll taxes, so you will need to file it if you paid employees
during the quarter. Once you’ve filed your first 941, you will need to file it
every quarter, even if you didn’t have any employees for the quarter and have
no taxes to report.
There is an exception to this, however. If you’re a seasonal
employer, check the box on Line 18 to indicate that you will only file for
quarters when you paid wages.
2. Mark deadlines on your calendar
Form 941 is always due on the last day of the month
following the end of the fiscal quarter. Mark the following dates on your
calendar so you’ll never miss a deadline:
3. Deposit payroll taxes on time
Your deposit schedule is determined by how much you’ve paid
your employees and withheld from their paychecks for four previous quarters, also
known as a lookback period. The
lookback period for 2019 begins on July 1, 2017 and ends on June 30, 2018. It’s
common for small businesses to need to deposit their taxes quarterly, monthly,
or semi-weekly. Learn more about when to
deposit your payroll taxes.
4. Remember to fill out both pages
Form 941 is two pages long and packed with information. You’ll
need to include:
your company’s address and employer
identification number (EIN)
number of employees paid during the quarter
total wages paid during the quarter
wages taxable to Social Security and Medicare
total federal income tax withheld
Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld
employer portions of Social Security and
how much you’ve already deposited in payroll
If you’re a monthly depositor, you will also include your
total tax liability for each month during the quarter. If you’re a semi-weekly
depositor, you’ll need to fill out Schedule B,
which breaks down your tax liability per day.
5. Determine if you owe anything
On lines 5a-5d, you’ll calculate your total Social Security
and Medicare tax liability, including the employer portions. After you’ve added
your FICA tax liability to the amount of income tax withheld, calculate any
adjustments for sick pay or group-term life insurance that was paid by an
Then, compare your total tax liability to any tax deposits
you’ve already made. If you still owe the IRS, write how much on Line 14 and
remember to pay that amount. If you’ve deposited too much money, enter the
difference on Line 15 and choose if you would like a refund or would like the
overpayment applied to your next return.
6. Double-check your form
After you’ve filled out Form 941, verify the information on
every line. The IRS has a record of all your deposits, so the amounts you enter
on your form must match those exactly. You should also confirm that your EIN
and company name are correct on both pages, so the IRS can track the form and check
that you filed it on time.
7. Let Workful help
When you run payroll through Workful, we’ll
calculate your tax liability for you and fill out your Form 941 at
the end of every quarter. All you have to do is review the information, print
the form, sign it, and send it to the IRS.