What Is the Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return Form 941?


Quick Answer

The Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Form 941 is a form filed quarterly with the IRS by businesses that withhold federal income tax and other payroll taxes from employees, Turbo Tax explains. The form reports the amount of tax the employer withheld each quarter.

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Full Answer

All businesses that have employees must file a 941 form every quarter, even during quarters when there are no employees, Turbo Tax reports. The only exception to filing a 941 is for business that don't operate year-round and only take on seasonal employees. Employers of farm employees or household employees are also exempt from filing Form 941.

When preparing this form, employers must report the number of employees the company has, the total amount of wages paid and the amount of payroll taxes withheld, according to Turbo Tax. The amount of taxes that is indicated on the 941 is paid to the IRS.

The IRS has established four filing deadlines: April 30, July 31, Oct. 31 and Jan. 31 of each year. Deadlines fall on the last day of each month that follows the end of the quarter, which allows businesses one month to prepare the form, and failure-to-file penalties are imposed by the IRS. As of 2015, the penalty is 5 percent of the tax due, with a maximum penalty of 25 percent. There are separate penalties for paying late or underpaying, Turbo Tax advises.

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