A quarterly federal tax return is a payroll tax that all employers are required to submit to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using IRS Form 941 (“Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return”). This form is used to report each employee’s tax withholding amounts for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare.
Form 940 and Form 941 are different from each other. Form 941 is used to report Social Security, Medicare, and withholding taxes. Form 940 is used to report Federal Unemployment taxes (FUTA) to the IRS.
How can you pay an employer’s quarterly federal tax return?
A quarterly federal tax return is deposited monthly or semi-weekly via the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
You must also complete and submit Form 941 which indicates the following:
Federal income taxes that were taken from the employees’ wages
Number of employees
Medicare and Social Security taxes withheld from employees’ wages
Employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes
Any tax credits for participation in COVID-19 related tax relief program
When are the deposits due?
Always remember that the deadline for Form 941 deposits is the last day of the month following the end of the quarter.
First Quarter: January through March
Due date: April 30
Second Quarter: April through June
Due date: July 31
Third Quarter: July through September
Due date: October 31
Fourth Quarter: October through December
Due date: January 31
If the due date for filing falls on a weekend or a legal holiday, it is all right to file before the end of the next business day. This will still be considered timely filing.
Is filing a Form 941 required if there were wages paid?
Yes, generally Form 941 is filed each quarter even if there were not any wages paid during the quarter. However, some employers may be exempted from filing Form 941 such as:
Employers who have been notified to file Form 944 yearly.
Employers of household employees. If you must pay for Social Security and Medicare taxes or federal unemployment taxes, or if you withhold income tax, you can use Schedule H (Form 1040) (Household Employment Taxes).
Employers of farm employees. To report wages for and taxes for farm employees, Form 943 (Employer’s Annual Tax Return for Agricultural Employees) is used instead.
Seasonal employers. You only file Form 941 for quarters in which you paid wages. You do not have to file Form 941 for quarters where no wages were paid to employees.
Where can you file?
The IRS encourages taxpayers to file Form 941 electronically. However, it is still possible to file a paper return. Before doing so, it is best to check the IRS website for information on where to send paper returns. The address will depend on whether or not you are mailing it with a payment.
Is a church required to file Form 941?
Churches are generally considered from completing and filing Form 941. According to the IRS, the following are exempt from filing Form 941:
A church or interchurch organization of local units of a church
A convention or association of churches
An integrated auxiliary of a church
A church-affiliated organization that is exclusively engaged in managing funds or maintaining retirement programs
A school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order
Church-affiliated mission societies if more than half of their activities are conducted in, or are directed at persons in, foreign countries
An exclusively religious activity of any religious order
What is a Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return?
A Quarterly Federal Excise tax Return is reported to the IRS using Form 720. Federal excise tax is a type of tax that is imposed on employers on the manufacturing or sale of various goods and services such as:
Tobacco and alcohol
Indoor tanning services
For a more complete list and information on quarterly federal excise tax returns, it is best to visit the IRS website.
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