[US] How to manually file Form 941, the employer's quarterly federal return

Form 941 is an employer's federal tax return, which is filed four times a year—once for every business quarter. Employers use Form 941 to report income taxes, social security tax, or Medicare tax withheld from their employees' paychecks and to pay their portion of social security or Medicare tax.

The IRS has detailed instructions on how to file Form 941. For your convenience, this article contains a few essential tips.

You must file Form 941 four times a year:

  • April 30th, reporting on employee taxes withheld between January 1st and March 31st.
  • July 31st, reporting on federal employment taxes withheld between April 1st and June 30th.
  • October 31st, reporting on federal employment taxes withheld between July 1st and September 1st.
  • January 31st, reporting on federal employment taxes withheld between October 1st and December 31st.

If you pay wages subject to income tax withholding or social security and Medicare taxes, you must use Form 941 to report the following amounts:

  • Wages you’ve paid.
  • Tips your employees reported to you.
  • Federal income tax you withheld.
  • Both the employer and the employee share of social security and Medicare taxes.
  • Additional Medicare Tax withheld from employees.
  • Current quarter's adjustments to social security and Medicare taxes for fractions of cents, sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance.
  • Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities.
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