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Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Federal law requires business owners to withhold certain taxes from their employees’ wages. They must also withhold additional Medicare tax from any employee who is paid more than $200,000 in a calendar year. Employers use Form 941 to report these taxes, as well as pay their portion of Social Security and Medicare tax.

Who Must File Form 941?

If you pay wages to employees that are subject to federal income tax withholding or Social Security and Medicare taxes, you must file Form 941 quarterly. Per the IRS, the following must be included in the amount reported:

  • Wages and salaries paid
  • Employee tips reported to you
  • Federal income tax withheld by you
  • The employer and employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Any additional Medicare taxes withheld from employees
  • The current quarter’s adjustments to Social Security and Medicare taxes for fractions of cents, sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance
  • Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities
  • Credit for qualified sick and family leave wages
  • Employee retention credit
  • Credit for COBRA premium assistance payments
  • All advances received from filing Form(s) 7200 for the quarter

Do not report backup withholding or income tax withholding on non-payroll payments. This includes payments from pensions, annuities, gambling winnings, as well as unemployment taxes. If you believe your employment taxes for the calendar year will be less than $1,000, you may be eligible to use Form 944 instead of 941, if approved by the IRS.

How to Complete Form 941

Enter your name, address, and Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the spaces provided. You should also include your EIN at the top of pages 2 and 3, as well. Be sure to enter your name on the name line and your legal business name on the trade name line. If you don’t have a different business name, leave the trade name line blank.

Next, check the appropriate box for the filing quarter. This is located near the top of the form. The quarter selected should also match the one shown on Schedule B (Form 941), and, if applicable, Schedule R (Form 941).

Follow these tips to reduce potential processing problems:

  • When typing or using a computer, use 10 pt. Courier font if possible
  • Don’t round up numbers
  • Enter dollar amounts to the left of the preprinted decimal point and cents to the right, even if it’s zero (.00)
  • Any data field with a value of zero should be left blank, except for lines 1, 2, and 12
  • Enter negative amounts by using a minus sign or parentheses
  • Include your name and EIN on all pages
  • Enter your name, EIN, “Form 941,” as well as the tax year and quarter on all attachments
  • Staple all forms and attachments together in the upper left corner

Be sure you complete all pages and sign the form (page 3). Failure to do so could delay the processing of your return. Full instructions for completing Form 941 can be found online at IRS.gov.

Filing Your Form 941

Once you complete your 941, you can submit it electronically or by postal mail.

Online

You can file online using one of the many IRS-approved software programs or hire a tax professional to submit it for you. You must also use the Electronic Federal Taxes Payment System (EFTPS) to submit your payment electronically.

By Mail

If you choose to file a paper return, where you send the forms will depend on where you live and whether or not you are including a payment.

If you live in…No payment…With a payment…
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, WisconsinDepartment of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Kansas City, MO 64999-0005Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 806532 Cincinnati, OH 45280-6532
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, WyomingDepartment of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Ogden, UT 84201-0005Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 932100 Louisville, KY 40293-2100
No legal residence or principal place of business in any stateInternal Revenue Service P.O. Box 409101 Ogden, UT 84409Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 932100 Louisville, KY 40293-2100
Special filing address for exempt organizations; federal, state, and local governmental entities; and Indian tribal governmental entities, regardless of locationDepartment of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Ogden, UT 84201-0005Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 932100 Louisville, KY 40293-2100
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Form 941 Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Make Tax Deposits?

You may be required to make tax deposits for the federal tax you withheld, as well as the employer and employee Social Security and Medicare taxes. If your total taxes (after adjustments and non-refundable credits) are less than $2,500 for the current or prior quarter, and you did not incur a $100,000 next-day deposit obligation during the current quarter, you are not required to make a tax deposit.

If your total taxes exceed $2,500, however, you must make deposits. Your deposit schedule depends on the total tax liability you reported on Form 941 during the previous 4-quarter lookback period. The lookback period is July 1 of the second preceding calendar year through June 30 of the preceding calendar year.

  • If you had $50,000 or less in reported taxes during the lookback period, you’ll submit monthly deposits.
  • If you reported more than $50,000 in taxes during the lookback period, you’ll need to make semi-weekly deposits.

Monthly depositors who accumulate $100,000 tax liability on any day during the deposit period are moved to a semi-weekly schedule on the next day. When this happens, you must remain on the semi-weekly schedule for the remainder of the calendar year and the following calendar year.

Do I Have to File a 941 Even If I Have No Taxes to Report?

After you file your first Form 941, you are required to submit it quarterly, even if you don’t have any taxes to report. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule:

  • You filed a final return (business closed)
  • You’re a seasonal employer who didn’t pay any wages during the quarter
  • You only employ household employees
  • You only have farm employees (agricultural labor)

If the IRS sends you a notification to file Form 944 annually, do not file Form 941 quarterly even if you have in the past.

I Currently File Form 944. Can I Switch to Form 941?

If you’re currently required to use Form 944, but would like to switch to quarterly filing, you’ll need to contact the IRS. To request to file Form 941, you can either call 800-829-4933 between January 1 and April 1 or submit a written request to the IRS that is postmarked between January 1 and March 15. If you don’t receive a written notice that you’ve been changed to the 941, you must continue to file using Form 944.

What Are The Filing Deadlines For Form 941?

Your 941 is due by the end of the month that follows the end of the quarter.

The Quarter Includes…Quarter EndsForm 941 Due Date
January, February & MarchMarch 31April 30
April, May & JuneJune 30July 31
July, August & SeptemberSeptember 30October 31
October, November & DecemberDecember 31January 31
Source: Internal Revenue Service

If you made tax deposits in full payment of your taxes for the quarter, however, you may file your Form 941 by the 10th day of the second month that follows the quarter.

Need Help?

If you need help completing Form 941, or other business tax returns, please contact Tax Defense Network at 833-803-4222. We offer business tax preparation services to fit every budget!

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