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What is a 940? And 941? And 944? And…

Who is responsible for filing a 940? A 941? A 944? Below is a brief outline of the forms, who needs them, and when to file them.

Form 940:

  • What is it? Businesses file form 940 to report FUTA (Federal Unemployement Tax).
  • Who files it? Most businesses must file, even if they made no eligible payments. Some tax-exempt organizations are not required to file. Some government entities, and some Indian tribal governments are also exempt.
  • When is it due? January 31st of the year after the filing period.

Form 941:

  • What is it? Form 941 reports how much money a business withheld in federal income tax, social security, and Medicare.
  •  Who files it? Most employers file the 941. The IRS may not require employers of household or farm employees to file. Employers don’t need to file for seasonal employees, except in the quarter they worked. Filers notified by the IRS to file form 944 (more below) do not file form 941.
  • When is it due? Form 941 is due each quarter by the last day of the month following the quarter end – April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31.

Form 943:

  • What is it? File form 943 to report farm wages subject to social security, medicare, or income tax withholding. Hand-harvest laborers making under $150 annually may have additional requirements.
  • Who files it? Farmers who pay an individual worker $150 or more in cash/non-cash wages should file. Farmers who pay a group of workers $2,500 or more in cash/non-cash wages should also file.
  • When is it due? January 31 of the year after the filing period.

Form 944:

  • What is it? Form 944 is for small employers whose annual liability for withholding is $1,000 or less.
  • Who files it? The IRS will notify employers who should file the 944, rather than the 941. Notified employers can still request to file form 941. 
  • When is it due? January 31 of the year after the filing period.

Form 945: 

  • What is it? Form 945 reports federal tax withheld from non-payroll payments. Non-payroll payments include: pensions, backup withholding, and gambling winnings.
  • Who files it? Any entity that withholds federal tax from non-payroll payments.
  • When is it due? January 31 of the year after the filing period.

Electronic Filing supports e-filing of the 940, 941, and 944 forms. E-filing for this series of forms goes through the IRS’ Modernized e-File system, or MeF. Tax filers should enter a 5-digit PIN to secure their form entries to the IRS.

Each form has a built-in calculator based on the amounts the user enters. Those calculated amounts can be overridden if needed.