Your company’s 941 forms, and any additional tax payments required, are due to the IRS on October 31st.
Oh, and Happy Halloween!
Hopefully, this deadline comes as no surprise. If it does, you might want to consider getting better accounting and bookkeeping help. Or start listening more carefully to the help you have.
As noted in this space on a couple occasions, once you get in the routine of filing the 941 form and making the payments, it becomes just another part of your operation. But if you’re still fairly new, or just want to have a better handle on what and when you’re paying, here’s a summary of the basics.
Who Files the 941 Form?
Since you’re reading this, probably you. At risk of stating the obvious, as a business owner or operator with employees you are required to withhold federal income tax and other payroll taxes from each worker’s pay. Form 941 tells the IRS how much was withheld, and sent to the IRS, during the previous three months.
So if you run a company and have employees, you’re supposed to file IRS Form 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) four times each year.
There are some exceptions. Seasonal employers who don’t pay wages during one or more quarters each year, employers of some household workers and employers of most farm hires are not required to file Form 941. Consult your tax professional with any questions.
Completing the 941 Form
So what information must be provided in Form 941? Enough to make sure the payments you’ve made – or are about to make – on behalf of your employees during the quarter cover the tax obligations incurred.
Form 941 entries include:
- Number of employees
- Total payroll for the reporting period
- Taxes withheld from employees paychecks during the period
- Total Social Security and Medicare wages
- Calculation of taxable Social Security and Medicare wages for the period
- Any adjustments made for tips, group life insurance, and sick days
Most importantly, Form 941 calculates the total tax liability and the total deposits made during the previous quarter. The difference between the total taxes due and the total deposits already made is the amount still owed.
Changes to Form 941
Form 941 and the information you’re required to provide remains fairly standard from year to year. But changes do occur from time to time. In 2013, for example, the employee contribution taxes for Social Security increased by two percentage points, reflecting the expiration of the payroll tax cut implemented for 2011 and 2012.
Also, the 2013 form included a line for additional Medicare tax that was to be withheld from higher-earning employees to help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The new tax is 2.35% of an employee’s wages above certain thresholds, but there was no increase in the employer’s share of the tax.
Your tax professional should keep you advised of changes that impact you.
Form 941 Due Dates
The IRS schedules filing deadlines for the last day of the month following the last day of the filing quarter. This gives you a month to prepare.
After the October 31st deadline for forms and payment for 2013 Quarter 3 (July/August/September), filing deadlines for the coming year are:
- January 30, 2014
- April 30, 2014
- July 31, 2014
- October 31, 2014
What if You Can’t Make Your 941 Payments?
First, consult with your tax adviser as soon as possible and get a game plan together. Just failing to file the 941 Form can result in penalties of five percent of the taxes due, per month that the return is late.
In addition, the IRS will penalize you up to 15% of the amount owed, depending on how late the payments are made, so it pays to be on time, or as close to on time as possible.
Image courtesy United States Treasury
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