Overview

This article explains how to file quarterly tax forms, including federal Form 941.

Details

Filing requirements

As an employer, you are required to file tax forms on a regular basis. Some forms are filed quarterly, whereas others are filed annually. This article covers quarterly forms, which include the following:
  • Federal Form 941, Employer's Federal Quarterly Tax Return
  • State unemployment insurance (SUI) form
  • State income tax (SIT) form
All states require quarterly SUI filings. Most (but not all) states that have state income taxes require quarterly SIT filings. In a few states, there are additional quarterly filing requirements for state disability insurance (SDI) or workers' compensation (WC) taxes.

Filing methods

In general, quarterly tax forms can be filed electronically or manually. You can e-file Form 941 through your Online Payroll account if it's active for federal electronic services. In most cases, you can also e-file your SUI and SIT forms if your account is active for state e-services. In a few states where e-filing isn't available, we'll provide you with a signature-ready paper form or a worksheet to prepare the official form provided by the state tax agency.
Important! We don't automatically file forms on your behalf. When a form is due, you need to log in to your Online Payroll account, and either submit the electronic filing, or view, print, and archive the manual filing.

Due dates

Form 941 is due on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. For example, the 1st quarter Form 941 is due to the IRS on April 30. If the form is e-filed, it must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time two banking days before the due date. If the form is manually filed, it must be postmarked by the due date to be timely.
Many, but not all, state quarterly forms have the same electronic and manual filing deadlines as for Form 941. In some states, an e-filing must be submitted three to five banking days before the due date instead of two banking days. In some states, the form is automatically filed with the quarterly tax payment.

Taxes

Online Payroll requires that all tax payments be made before the corresponding form can be generated or filed. (The Tax Liability Report will show a tax owed amount of zero for that tax type.) If there's a positive amount for the tax owed, you've underpaid the tax. In that case, we'll prompt you to make one or more additional payments. Once those payments are approved, you can file the form.
If there's a negative amount for the tax owed, you've overpaid the tax. This can occur for a variety of reasons. If the overpayment is valid, you'll need to resolve it by marking it for refund, or applying to a future liability period. Once the overpayment has been resolved, you can file the form. (For more information, see Resolve a tax overpayment.)

Reminders

During the month in which quarterly form filings are due, we'll remind you to submit the forms by sending you email reminders and by placing items on your payroll To Do list. For example, an item in the It's time to file forms section of your To Do list will look like the following:
Form filing due on 01/29/2019 5:00 PM Pacific: 941 (4th quarter of 2018)

Special situations