Teipen Logo

Small business owner? Here are the right forms to pay employment taxes.

Posted on January 8, 2020

Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres’ CPA team works with many small-to-mid-sized business owners ahead of tax season. If your business is gearing up for employment tax payments, here’s a quick review of the rules for filing two commonly-used employment tax returns.

The two forms you may file are:

  • Form 944 Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return


  • Form 941 Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Small business owners should know that these two forms are not interchangeable. Your business will file one or the other and not, TSPA CPAs caution, flip-flop between the two forms. Your CPA team can guide you as to which form is preferable, and help you file in accordance with the designated filing requirement.

Here are some more important details about these two forms to help business owners understand the differences:

Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return

  • This form is for our smallest employers to file and pay taxes owed just once a year, rather than of quarterly.
  • It is intended for employers who owe $1,000 or less annually. Employers can’t file Form 944 unless they receive official IRS notification that they are eligible to do so.
  • Once the employer receives IRS notice they can file this form, they must file this form every year and continue to do so, regardless of the tax they owe, unless the IRS notifies them differently.

Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

  • This form is used to report income taxes withheld from employee’s paychecks; and to pay the employer’s portion of Social Security or Medicare tax.
  • If the IRS advises you to file this quarterly return, you must do so.

Not sure which form your business should file? Talk to us, and with a few questions, we can help walk you through the best scenario for your business. Or, you may call the IRS at 800-829-4933 or 267-941-1000.