Unless you want a surprise notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it’s important to file all of your taxes on time. If you don’t file before the due date, you may need to request an abatement from the IRS. Fortunately, you can always remit your taxes early if you are uncertain about when they need to be paid.

Filing Federal Employment Taxes

If you have $1,000 or less in payroll liability, you can use Form 944 to file on an annual basis. After the fiscal year ends, this form is due by January 31 of the following year.

Most businesses will need to file Form 941. This is filed every quarter. Once you have filed a Form 941, the IRS will expect you to continue doing so. This is true even if your tax liability changes because the IRS doesn’t know that your tax liability has dropped. The IRS just expects you to turn in the appropriate form, and it will send you a notification if you don’t turn in Form 941 after each quarter ends.

Form 941 is due during the first month that occurs after the quarter ends. You can expect the following due dates.

  • January to March: For the first fiscal quarter, Form 941 is due before April 30.
  • April to June: Form 941 must be turned in by July 31 for the second quarter.
  • July to September: Your payroll tax form for the third quarter is due by October 31.
  • October to December: For the fourth quarter, you must turn in Form 941 by January 31 of the following year.

Before the start of each year, you must determine when you will pay your payroll taxes. You can choose to make semi-weekly or monthly payments. No matter which option you choose, you will still file Form 941 at the same time. Using a payroll software system can help you keep track of which forms you need to file and when your payroll taxes are due.

Filing State Unemployment Taxes

State income taxes and unemployment taxes must also be paid throughout the year. Your state withholding taxes are also known as state income taxes. Typically, these are paid on a semi-weekly or monthly basis. You must report them every quarter.

You are also expected to file and pay your state unemployment taxes. State unemployment taxes are always filed and paid on a quarterly basis. The only exception is Illinois, which requires monthly wage reporting.

Filing Local Employment Taxes

FIling local employment taxes is more challenging than state and federal employment taxes. It is similar to the way each retail branch of a store must tax people based on the local jurisdiction. You will pay local payroll taxes based on the locality your employee is working from. This is an especially important detail to remember if you hire remote workers who could be working from a different locality.

While many localities lack digital options, they still try to make paying employment taxes easier. In general, local government offices will send out a coupon that has three basic lines for listing your liability, the tax amount, and the amount that was withheld. Once you receive this form, you simply have to fill it out. Normally, localities will send out a coupon in October for the upcoming year, so you don’t have to worry about paying this tax on a monthly or quarterly basis.

You can generally call your local government to figure out how employment taxes are paid in your area. In some regions, you can visit your state’s website and get your payroll tax payments set up through the state’s website.

Remember to Mark Your Calendar

Unfortunately, many small business owners are unaware of when specific filings and payments are due. Whether you are dealing with your state government or the IRS, a lack of awareness is not an acceptable reason for not filing and paying your taxes. To make sure your payroll taxes are turned in on time, you should write down every important due date on your calendar.

An estimated 60% of small business owners report having issues understanding and handling government regulations. If you are a part of this group, you may also want to consider getting professional payroll help. The right payroll support and software platform can help you navigate complex federal and state regulations.

To learn more about how we can support your payroll tax needs, reach out to one of our small business payroll experts today.

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