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Important Filing and Deposit Dates You Cannot Forget     

Written by Jacob Merkley on August 12, 2020

Filing and Deposit Dates

If you forget to file a tax return or deposit payroll taxes, you can be in a world of hurt. The IRS can now do some nasty things to you (legally).

I often get questions revolved around when to file and how to make these timely tax deposits that I thought I’d put together an article about the subject.

Why Are Filing and Deposit Dates Important?

First, you need to know why filing and deposit dates are important. If you found us through our website or on our social media accounts, you are probably in payroll tax debt. And if you are currently in tax debt, in order to get into resolution with the IRS, you will need to become current and compliant:

  • Current means that you start today to never miss another Federal Tax Deposit Payment.
  • Compliant means that you will comply with filing requirements and will file every Form 941 that should have been filed.

Knowing these dates are also important if you don’t want to end up in tax debt in the future. You would be surprised at how many repeat clients we have that are back in tax debt and have stopped filing correctly.

Now, let’s move onto important filing dates to keep in mind.

Important Filing Dates

There are a few employment filings that we should talk about: Form 940, Form 941, Form 944, and Form 945.

Form 940

Form 940 is the federal unemployment tax annual report form. This form is used to report and pay unemployment taxes to the IRS. If you have employees, you must report and pay unemployment taxes.

The filing due date is January 31st; however, if you deposited all the FUTA tax when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file. If January 31st falls on a weekend or holiday, the Form 940 is due the next business day.

Form 941

Form 941 is used by employers to report quarterly tax withholding amounts for estimated income tax payments, as well as withholding from employee paychecks (income tax, social security, and Medicare taxes). This is “the big one” that all of you will likely need to be filing each quarter.

This form is due four times each year, based on the following schedule:

If you timely deposited all taxes when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file the 941 return. Again, if the file date falls on a weekend or holiday, Form 941 will be due the next business day.

Forms 944 & 945

Form 944 is the annual federal tax return for smaller employers, while Form 945 is the annual return of withheld federal income tax. Very few, if not none of you, will qualify to use either of these forms.

For those with annual payroll tax liabilities of $1,000 or less, Form 944 can be used instead of Form 941. The IRS will send a letter stating that you are eligible or even required to file this form.

If you do qualify, both need to be filed by January 31st.

Important Deposit Dates

Deposit Basics

When I talk about “depositing dates”, I’m talking about depositing taxes the following taxes on certain dates. Those taxes are…

  • Social Security, Medicare, and Income taxes that you are required to withhold from your employee’s wages.
  • Employer’s share of Social Security, and Medicare taxes that are required to be paid on your employees’ behalf (7.65% in 2020).

By law, you are then required to deposit the employee’s and employer’s portion of taxes to the Federal Government. To make that deposit, you use the EFTPS online system.

Deposit Schedules

There are two deposit schedules:

  • Monthly
  • Semiweekly

Your deposit schedule will be based on the total tax liability that you reported during a lookback period. It’s not based on how often you pay your employees.

For Form 941 Filers

Your deposit schedule if determined from the total taxes reported on Form 941, line 12, in a 4-quarter lookback period. This look-back period begins July 1 and ends June 30:

  • July 1 – Sept 30
  • Oct 1 – Dec 31
  • Jan 1 – Mar 31
  • April 1 – June 30

Based on that 4-quarter lookback period, if you:

  • Reported $50,000 or less of taxes = monthly depositor
  • Reported more than $50,000 of taxes = semiweekly depositor

As an example, in the lookback periods above, the employer was a monthly schedule depositor in 2019, but will be a semiweekly depositor in 2020 because the liability exceeded $50,000 during the 4-quarter lookback period.

For Form 944 Filers

If you are a Form 944 Filer for the current year or either of the preceding two years, your deposit schedule is calculated differently. It’s based on the total taxes reported during the second preceding calendar year. Again, if you:

  • Reported $50,000 or less of taxes = monthly depositor
  • Reported more than $50,000 of taxes = semiweekly depositor

When to Deposit

Determining when you need to deposit is based on the schedule you are eligible for, based on the above calculations. For:

Monthly Schedule Depositors – deposit all employment taxes on payments made during the monthly by the 15th day of the following month. For example, July 2020’s employment taxes are due on August 15th, 2020.

Semi-Weekly Schedule Depositors – deposit all taxes based on these two sequences:

  • Taxes from payroll on Wednesday, Thursday, and/or Friday = pay by the following Wednesday.
  • From payroll on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday = pay by the following Friday.

There you have it!

Important filing and deposit dates you should never forget or the IRS is going to have a field day with you.


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