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Updated: June 4, 2024

2024 Form 941: Updated instructions and PDF Download

Published By:

Erin Ellison

Payroll that will never let you down

If you’re an employer that withholds more than $1,000 in Social Security, Medicare, and federal income taxes from your employees’ wages, you’ll need to fill out and submit Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. This form breaks down how much you’ve withheld from your staffers’ paychecks, as well as how much you’re sending in for the employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Fast facts about Form 941

  • Form 941 is the official form that employers use to report their quarterly income and payroll taxes to the IRS.
  • The official name of Form 941 is “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.”
  • Form 941 is due by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter, and missing this deadline can result in the IRS charging significant penalties and interest.
  • Form 941 reports information about your employes’ income tax withholdings, social security taxes, medicate taxes, and more to the IRS each quarter.

The form has undergone some changes in recent years. In February 2022, the IRS issued a new version of Form 941 that employers needed to use beginning with Q1’s tax filings. It was revised to account for the limited availability of Covid-19 employment tax credits and instructions were updated with requirements to claim remaining credits in 2022.

 

Previously revised in accordance with the American Rescue Plan Act, in June 2021, the previous Form 941 had 23 new (or adjusted) lines. It included lines for the COBRA Premium Subsidy, employers who need to report both the refundable and the non-refundable portions of the employment tax credits for qualified sick and family leave wages, and reconciling payroll tax credits and deferral opportunities available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Download the current Form 941, revised March 2023→

Above is a fillable PDF version that you can print or download.

Here’s a guide to how the revised 941 works, with instructions for completing yours, and a downloadable PDF of the new form in case you need a copy.

What is Form 941 used for?

A 941 return is used to report payroll tax withholdings such as federal income tax plus Social Security and Medicare (typically called FICA) that are withheld from employees’ paychecks. Your Form 941 filing also reports your business’s quarterly contribution to Social Security and Medicare taxes for all employees. Keep in mind that the 941 is meant to reconcile the amounts deducted from employee paychecks and amounts due from employers, but it is separate from the semiweekly or monthly deposits you are making.

There were significant changes made to Form 941 in 2021 to allow for the reporting of new employment tax credits and other tax relief related to COVID-19, including 10 new lines, and 13 more changes.

 

The revised Form 941 in June 2021 included lines to report:

  • Credit for qualified sick leave and expanded family and medical leave wages
  • Employee Retention Credit
  • Deferrals of the employer share of social security tax during the quarter
  • Credits received from filing Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, for the quarter
  • Additional instructions for Lines 5a, 5a(i), and 5a(ii) for reporting the refundable and nonrefundable portions of employment tax credits for qualified leave taken after March 31, 2021 (or for wages paid after March 31, 2021, for leave that was taken before April 1, 2021)

 

The revised instructions also included a new Worksheet 1, to be used to figure the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages.

Here are changes made to Form 941 instructions in March 2022 of note:

Credits for qualified paid sick and family leave wages may only be claimed for wages paid for leave taken after March 31, 2021 and before October 1, 2021. That being said, employers that pay qualified wages in 2022 for leave taken during that time period still may claim the credit.

 

Any qualified leave wages paid in 2022 for leave taken in the second or third quarters of 2021 are to be included in Line 5a(i). Lines 5a(i) and 5a(ii) are to be used only for qualified leave wages paid in 2022 for leave taken after March 31, 2020 and before April 1, 2021. Lines 11b, 11d, 13c, and 13e continue to allow reporting of the non-refundable and refundable portions of the qualified paid leave credit.

 

Keep in mind the employee retention credit expired December 31, 2021 for recovery startup businesses and September 30, 2021 for all other eligible employers. Lines 11c, 13d, 21, and 22 – which had been used to report amounts pertaining to the employee retention credit, are now labeled “Reserved for future use.” Lines 13 h and 13i – previously in reference to Form 7200 advances – are also now labeled “Reserved for future use” as employers in 2022 cannot receive advance payments. Employers who qualified for the employee retention credit during 2021 (but did not claim it) can file Form 941-X, which is an amended Form 941, in 2024 or 2025.

 

Worksheets 2 and 4 have been removed – they had allowed employers to calculate the employee retention credit. Worksheets for calculating the credit for qualified leave wages and the COBRA premium assistance credit have new numbers.

 

The revised 941 form released in February 2022 was only to be used for the first quarter of 2022. If you need it, there’s a version linked here. Earlier versions of the form were not to be used for 2022 reporting.

 

Revisions in June 2022 to keep in mind

In June 2022, the IRS released a revised version of Form 941 (and instructions for completing it) to reflect the end of the COBRA premium assistance credit, which expired on September 30, 2021 for most businesses. Line 11e, which previously was used to report the nonrefundable portion of the credit, and line 11f, which was used to report the number of individuals receiving assistance, are both now labeled “Reserved for future use.” Additionally, line 13f, which reported the nonrefundable portion of the credit was also labeled “Reserved for Future use” as part of the June revisions.

 

Line 11g (which is used to report the total amount of nonrefundable credits) was updated, and a reference to Line 11e was removed. Also, Line 13g was changed in the same way, and a previous reference to Line 13f was removed from the sheet.

 

Worksheet 3, which employers used to calculate the COBRA premium assistance, is no longer included in the form instructions. However, worksheets 1 and 2, which can be found in the Form 941 instructions, are still part of the form and should continue to be used to calculate the credits for qualified leave wages, which still may be claimed for wages paid in 2022 for leave taken after March 31, 2020 and before October 1, 2021.

 

Moving forward, the IRS expects employers to use the version of Form 941, released in June 2022, to report the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2022. The instructions provided in this resource are for the June 2022 version of Form 941.

When should Form 941 be filed?

The deadline for filing your 941 is the last day of the month that follows the end of each quarter: April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31. As a business owner, once you file a Form 941 the first time, you must file the form quarterly going forward, even if you have no taxes to report. If your business closes, you must also file a final return for the year the business closed.

 

The second quarter Form 941 and its schedules, when applicable, are due July 31 (or August 10, if all tax deposits were submitted in a timely manner for the second quarter). The following table will help you visualize the deadlines:

 

Quarter includes the months below Quarter end date Form 941 is due on the date below
January, February, March March 31 April 30
April, May, June June 30 July 31
July, August, September September 30 October 31
October, November, December December 31 January 31

 

 

Based on how much you’ve withheld for taxes, your company will be a either a monthly or semiweekly depositor, and all payments must be made through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. If your taxes due are less than $2,500, you can pay them when filing the return, but if your tax liability for the quarter is more than $2,500, you will be asked to make a monthly or semiweekly deposit.

How do I know if I need to file a 941?

Depending on how much tax you pay, you may need to file either a Form 941 or a Form 944, which is much simpler than the 941. For example, if you expect to have tax liability less than $1,000 annually, you may be able to file a simpler 944. If you are a new business owner, you’ll be advised on what form to file when you receive your Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you want to dive a little deeper, we’ve also got an overview of how Form 944 works as well as instructions to complete it.

What do you need to complete for the Revised Form 941?

You’ll need to gather the following information:

  • 2023 Form 941 (Revised March 2023) – Downloadable PDF 
  • Your EIN and other basic business information
  • The number of employees who received wages, tips, or other compensation in the current quarter
  • The amount of wages that have been paid for the quarter
  • Any tips reported by employees
  • Federal income tax withheld from an employee’s wages
  • The employee’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the employee’s wages
  • The amount of Social Security tax or Medicare tax paid by the business
  • Any employment taxes retained in anticipation of refundable tax credits or deferral
  • If applicable, information on COBRA premium assistance credits
  • Any additional Medicare taxes withheld from an employee’s wages
  • Current quarter’s adjustments to Social Security and Medicare taxes for fractions of cents, sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance
  • Information about qualified family or sick leave wages paid

Instructions for filling out Revised Form 941

The IRS released the final instructions for the updated Form 941 in June of 2022, ahead of the second quarter’s end.

 

There are five parts that need to be completed on the revised Form 941:

  • Part 1 — Information about this quarter (taxes and wages)
  • Part 2 — Your deposit schedule and tax liability for this quarter
  • Part 3 — Your business
  • Part 4 — Approve a third-party designee (optional)
  • Part 5 — Signature

 

The Form 941 instructions include two worksheets (called Worksheet 1 and Worksheet 2) to help with the calculations. Only certain steps of the worksheet need to be completed depending on what type of qualified wages your business paid during the quarter:

  • Steps 1, 2, and 3 will need to be completed if an employer paid both qualified sick and family leave wages and qualified wages for purposes of the Employee Retention Credit in the quarter.
  • Steps 1 and 2 will need to be completed if the employer paid qualified sick and family leave wages in the quarter but did not pay any qualified wages for purposes of the Employee Retention Credit in the quarter.
  • Steps 1 and 3 will need to be completed if the employer paid qualified wages for purposes of the Employee Retention Credit in the quarter but did not pay any qualified sick and family leave wages.

 

Read on for a line-by-line explanation of all the details and calculations that are included in the Revised Form 941.

Form 941, Part 1:

  1. Number of employees who received wages, tips, or other compensation for the pay period including: March 12 (Quarter 1), June 12 (Quarter 2), September 12 (Quarter 3), or December 12 (Quarter 4): All employees on your payroll for the specified period need to be included, except the following:
    • Employees currently in a non-pay status
    • Household employees
    • Farm employees (see Form 943)
    • Pensioners
    • Active members of the Armed Forces
  2. Wages, tips, and other compensation: Enter the amount of wages, tips, and other taxable compensation paid to employees for the quarter on line 2.
  3. Federal income tax withheld from wages, tips, and other compensation: Enter the federal income tax you withheld (or were required to withhold) from your employees on this quarter’s wages, including qualified sick leave wages, qualified family leave wages, and qualified wages (excluding qualified health plan expenses) for the employee retention credit; tips; taxable fringe benefits; and supplemental unemployment compensation benefits.
  4. If no wages, tips, and other compensation are subject to social security or Medicare tax: If the wages paid are not subject to Social Security or Medicare Tax withholding, check the box here and skip ahead to line 6.

2023 Form 941 form update Line 1

  1. Taxable social security, sick and family leave, and medicare wages, and tips: Lines 5a through 5e are used to report taxable Social Security and Medicare wages and tips, as well as any Additional Medicare Tax withholding.
    • 5a. Taxable social security wages: Enter the total of all wages subject to social security taxes, including taxable qualified sick and family leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021 that you paid to your employees during the quarter. Enter the amount before payroll deductions. Do not include tips on this line.
    • 5a. (i) Qualified sick leave wages: Enter the total of all sick pay subject to (employee only) social security taxes you paid to your employees after March 31, 2020, for leave taken before April 1, 2021.
    • 5a.  (ii) Qualified family leave wages: Enter the total of all family leave wages subject to (employee only) social security taxes you paid to your employees after March 31, 2020, for leave taken before April 1, 2021.
    • 5b. Taxable social security tips: Enter all tips your employees reported to you during the quarter until the total of the tips and wages for an employee reaches $160,200 (the 2023 Social Security wage base) for the year.
    • 5c. Taxable Medicare wages & tips: Enter all wages, tips, sick pay, and taxable fringe benefits that are subject to Medicare tax. Unlike social security wages, there is no limit on the amount of wages subject to Medicare tax.
    • 5d. Taxable wages & tips subject to additional medicare tax withholding: Enter all wages, tips, sick pay, and taxable fringe benefits that are subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding.
    • 5e. Total social security and Medicare taxes: Add Column 2 from lines 5a, 5a(i), 5a(ii), 5b, 5c, and 5d 5e.
    • 5f. Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand — Enter the tax due from your Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand on line 5f. The IRS issues a Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand to advise an employer of the amount of tips received by employees who failed to report or under-reported tips to the employer. An employer isn’t liable for the employer share of the social security and Medicare taxes on unreported tips until notice and demand for the taxes is made to the employer by the IRS in a Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand.

2023 update Form 941 lines 5a through 5f

  1. Total taxes before adjustments: Add lines 3, 5e, and 5f, and enter the total here. This will total all federal income tax withheld from wages, tips, and other compensation, the total social security and Medicare taxes before adjustments, and any tax due under a Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand.
  2. Current quarter’s adjustment for fractions of cents: Enter adjustments for fractions of cents due to rounding for both Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld. This may be a positive or a negative adjustment.
  3. Current quarter’s adjustment for sick pay: Enter Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld and deposited by third-party sick pay payers. Enter a negative adjustment for the employee share of social security and Medicare taxes withheld and deposited by your third-party sick pay payer (if sick pay is paid by a third party). These wages should be included on line 5a, line 5c, and line 5d (if the withholding threshold is met).
  4. Current quarter’s adjustments for tips and group-term life insurance: Enter a negative adjustment for:
    • Any uncollected employee share of social security and Medicare taxes on tips, and
    • The uncollected employee share of social security and Medicare taxes on group-term life insurance premiums paid for former employees.
  5. Total taxes after adjustments: Add Lines 6, 7, 8, and 9 and enter the total here.

  1. Payroll tax credits, including qualified sick and family leave wages, and employee retention credit.
    • 11a. Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities: For businesses that qualify, Form 8974 must be filled out and attached to Form 941 to claim the credit. See the IRS for more information on Form 8974 and who is eligible for the credit.
    • 11b. Non-refundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave wages leave taken before April 1, 2021 from Worksheet 1: Enter the non-refundable portion of the credit for wages paid for qualified sick and family leave taken before April 1, 2021, from Worksheet 1, Step 2, line 2j. The non-refundable portion of the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages applies to the employer share of social security tax on wages paid in the quarter that is remaining after it is reduced by any credit claimed on line 11a.
    • 11c. Reserved for future use — skip this line

    • 11d. Total non-refundable credits. Enter the nonrefundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021 (and before October 1, 2021). This line is no longer used to report the total amount of nonrefundable credits.

    • 11e. Reserved for future use — do not complete this line
    • 11f. Reserved for future use — another line you can ignore

    • 11g. Add lines 11a, 11b, and 11d to get the total of all nonrefundable credits.

  1. Total taxes after adjustments and nonrefundable credits: This is the total tax amount that is due. To get this number, subtract line 11g from line 10 and enter the total here (and it cannot be less than zero).

  1. Total deposits for this quarter, plus refundable credits, minus advances received13a. Total deposits for this quarter: Enter the total amount of tax deposits made for the quarter. This includes overpayment applied from a prior quarter, and overpayments applied from the following forms:
    • 941-X
    • 941-X (PR)
    • 944-X
    • 944-X (SP) filed in the current quarter

    13b. Reserved for future use — there’s nothing to add to this line

    13c. Refundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave leave taken before April 1, 2021: Enter the refundable portion of the credit from Worksheet 1, Step 2, line 2k for wages paid for qualified sick and family leave taken before April 1, 2021. The credit for qualified sick and family leave wages consists of the qualified sick leave wages, the qualified family leave wages, the allocatable qualified health plan expenses, and the employer share of Medicare tax allocatable to those wages. The refundable portion of the credit is allowed after the employer share of social security tax is reduced to zero by nonrefundable credits.

     

    13d. Reserved for future use — don’t add anything to this line


    13e. Refundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave leave taken from March 31 – October 1, 2021: Enter the refundable portion of the credit from Worksheet 1, Step 2, line 2k for wages paid for qualified sick and family leave taken after March 31, 2021, and before October 1, 2021. The credit for qualified sick and family leave wages consists of the qualified sick leave wages, the qualified family leave wages, the allocatable qualified health plan expenses, and the employer share of Medicare tax allocatable to those wages. The refundable portion of the credit is allowed after the employer share of social security tax is reduced to zero by nonrefundable credits.

     

    13f. Reserved for future use


    13g. Total deposits and refundable credits. Add lines 13a, 13c, and 13e.

     

    13h. Reserved for future use — this line stays empty

     

    13i. Reserved for future use — nothing to add here

  1. Balance Due: If line 12 is more than line 13g, then tax is due. Subtract 13g from 12, and enter the difference here. This is the amount of tax you owe for the year. If line 12 is not greater than 13g, DO NOT enter anything in line 14, and move on to line 15.

  1. Overpayment: If line 13g is more than line 12, enter the difference on line 15. Never make an entry on both lines 14 and 15. If you deposited more than the correct amount for the quarter, you can choose to have the IRS either refund the overpayment or apply it to your next return. Check only one box on line 15. If you don’t check either box or if you check both boxes, the IRS will generally apply the overpayment to your next return. Regardless of any boxes you check or don’t check on line 15, the IRS may apply your overpayment to any past due tax account that is shown in their records under your EIN. If line 15 is under $1, the IRS will send a refund or apply it to your next return only if you ask them in writing to do so.

Form 941, Part 2

  1.  Tax Liability for the Quarter. 

Note: There are no changes to Part 2 of the revised Form 941 (Revised June, 2022, so there are no changes in the instructions for this section.

 

Based on how much you’ve withheld for taxes, your company will be a monthly or semiweekly depositor, and all payments must be made through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. If your taxes due are less than $2,500, you can pay them with the return, but if your tax liability for the quarter is more than $2,500, you will be asked to make a monthly or semiweekly deposit.

 

 

  • If Line 12 is less than $2,500, the prior quarterly return was less than $2,500, and there was no next-day deposit obligation for $100,000, you can check the first box on Line 16.
  • If you reported $50,000 or less in taxes during the lookback period, you’re a monthly schedule depositor. Check the second box on line 16 and enter your tax liability for each month in the quarter corresponding with the date of the paid wages, not the date payroll liabilities were accrued or when deposits were made. Add the amounts for each month. Enter the result in the “Total liability for quarter” box.
  • If you reported more than $50,000 of taxes for the lookback period, you’re a semiweekly schedule depositor. Check the third box on line 16. You must also  complete Schedule B (Form 941) and submit it along with your Form 941. Do not file Schedule B (Form 941) with your Form 941 if you’re a monthly schedule depositor.

Form 941, Part 3:

  1. If your business has closed or you stopped paying wages: If you go out of business or stop paying wages to your employees, you still must file a final return. Check the box on line 17 (on the right-hand side) and enter the final date you paid wages. You will also need to attach a statement to your return showing the name of the person keeping the payroll records and the address where those records will be kept.

  1. If you’re a seasonal employer: If you hire employees seasonally — such as for summer or winter only — check the box on line 18 (on the right side of the line). This tells the IRS not to expect four Forms 941 from you throughout the year because you haven’t paid wages regularly. Note: Seasonal employers must file at least one taxable return each year.

 

 

Important: You will use lines 19 and 20 only for paid leave taken before April 1, 2021.

 

  1. Qualified health plan expenses allocatable wages for qualified sick leave taken before April 1: Enter the qualified health plan expenses allocatable to qualified sick leave taken before April 1, 2021. You will also need to enter this total on Worksheet 1, Step 2, line 2b.
  2. Qualified health plan expenses allocatable wages for qualified family leave taken before April 1: Enter the qualified health plan expenses allocatable to qualified family leave taken before April 1, 2021. You will also need to enter this total on Worksheet 1, Step 2, line 2f.

 

 

  1. Reserved for future use — do not fill this line out
  2. Reserved for future use — do not complete this line

 

 

Important: You will use lines 23 and 26 only for paid leave taken after March 31, 2021.

 

  1. Qualified sick leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021 and before October 1, 2021.: Enter the Qualified sick leave wages for leave taken after March 31, 2021 and prior to October 1, 2021. This line no longer reports the amount of the credit in Line 11 of Form 5884-C.
  2. Qualified health plan expenses allocable to qualified sick leave wages: Enter expenses allocable to the wages reported on Line 23.
  3. Amounts under certain collectively bargained agreements allocable to qualified sick leave wages: Enter amounts allocable under certain agreements that were reported on Line 23.

 

 

  1. Qualified family leave wages for leave taken after March 31: Enter the qualified health plan expenses allocatable to qualified family leave taken after March 31, 2021 and before October 1, 2021.
  2. Qualified health plan expenses allocable to qualified family leave wages: Enter expenses that are allocable to qualified family leave reported on line 26.
  3. Amounts under certain collectively bargained agreements allocable to qualified family leave wages: Enter amounts allocable under certain agreements that were reported on line 26.

 

 

OnPay helps us to streamline our small law firm’s payroll process, saving us time dealing with administrative tasks so we can stayed focused on our clients. Payroll with direct deposit is simple, takes only a few minutes, and OnPay handles our 940 and 941 filings with ease. It used to take time away from our practice to manually handle our tax filings and payroll, but it’s now painless.


— Benjamin Sperry, Bruce J Sperry, PA

Form 941, Part 4

Part 4 is used if you want to designate an employee or paid preparer or service to talk with the IRS about Form 941. If you elect yes, you will need to provide the designee’s name and phone number, as well as create a 5-digit PIN to use when talking to the IRS. The authorization will automatically expire one (1) year from the due date (without regard to extensions) for filing your Form 941.

 

 

Form 941, Part 5

Complete all information and sign and date the Form 941 — and you’re all set. Note that approved signers for Form 941 include the Sole Proprietor, Corporation President, Vice President, or Principal Officer, Partnership Member or Partner, Owner of an LLC, or Fiduciary of a Trust or Estate.

 

 

Be sure to review your return for accuracy and send deposits on or before the due dates. If you use a payroll service provider, your 941 may be completed for your business, so be sure to check on what will be provided to you and to the IRS.

 

If you have any questions or need additional Form 941 (Revised June 2021) instructions, you can find help on the IRS website or consider contacting a tax professional.

 

Now that we have covered how to complete and file Form 941, let’s talk about some common questions that arise when companies need to complete it.

 

What is the penalty for failing to file 941?

The IRS is very strict when it comes to requiring that tax forms be filed promptly and that taxes due are paid on time. As a result, they impose penalties for both failing to file Form 941 (or Form 944, if applicable) and failure to pay any taxes due – and these penalties can be significant. The penalties are calculated as follows:

  • Failure to file penalty: failing to file Form 941 can result in the IRS charging a penalty of 5% of any unpaid taxes due for each month (or part of a month) that your return is late, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax.
  • Failure to pay penalty: failing to pay taxes due with Form 941 can result in the IRS charging a penalty of 0.5% of any unpaid taxes due for each month (or part of a month) that the return is late, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax. Additionally, if you don’t pay the tax within 10 days after receiving either an IRS notice or an intent to levy, that penalty will increase to 1% per month (and would still max out at 25%).

 

“OnPay makes payroll easy, saves me tons of time and turn-keys everything in one transaction, including direct deposits, 941 deposits and all quarterly and annual filings. We love OnPay!”


— Lisa J. Grissom, Promising Projects

What happens if you don’t file form 941?

If you are required to file Form 941 but neglect to do so, the IRS will start by sending you a letter informing you that they have not received the form. If you owed taxes with Form 941, then the IRS may also send an official notice informing you that you have taxes due and requesting that you file the form as soon as possible. They will also begin to calculate penalties on the taxes they estimate you owe, including both a failure to file penalty and a failure to pay penalty (mentioned above).

 

If you still do not file the form and pay taxes due, the IRS might decide to seize some of your property as payment for the taxes owed. In this case, they’ll send you a notice of intent to seize property and give you time to prepare for this situation. Property can include wages or other income, bank accounts, business or personal assets, social security benefits, and more.

 

Does an LLC have to file form 941?

LLCs are called pass-through entities, which means that the income the LLC earns is passed through to the LLC’s members rather than being kept in the company and being paid to employees. Members of an LLC are generally not employees, and if the LLC hasn’t hired any other employees, then the company does not have to file form 941. However, any LLC who hires and pays employees is required to file Form 941(or Form 944, if applicable) and report payment and tax information related to their employees to the IRS each quarter.

 

This article has been updated with the most up-to-date information available. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors for formal consultation.

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Erin Ellison is the former Content Marketing Manager for OnPay. She has more than 15 years of writing experience, is a former small business owner, and has managed payroll, scheduling, and HR for more than 75 employees. She lives and works in Atlanta.

Frequently asked questions employers have about Form 941

  • Who must file form 941?

    The IRS requires Form 941 to be filed periodically by most employers who pay wages to employees and withhold federal income tax, social security tax, or medicare tax from their paychecks. Only businesses who pay employees or have payroll are required to file the form – businesses with no employees are not. Some employers may receive a notification from the IRS that they should file Form 944 instead of Form 941, which is a filing option for employers with $1,000 or less in annual tax liability.

  • Do I have to file a 941 if I have no employees?

    If your business doesn’t have employees, then you’re off the hook for filing Form 941! Form 941 only reports information related to payroll and payroll taxes, which only applies to employees – not contractors, partners, or non-employee owners. This might sound random, but just make sure that you aren’t technically an employee of your own business – which can happen sometimes as a tax or financial strategy – because that might require you to file the form to report your own payroll information.

  • Do I have to file a 941 if I have no payroll?

    If your business doesn’t have employees and instead only uses the help of contractors and gig workers, then you are not required to file Form 941. The IRS does not require businesses that don’t have payroll – or don’t have employees – to file the form. But again, make sure that you aren’t an employee of your own business, as this could require you to file Form 941 to report your own employment taxes.