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2023 Payroll Tax Calendar and due dates

Updated: January 19, 2023

By: Jacob Thomas

Learning about the current taxabale wage bases for payroll taxes.
Payroll that will never let you down

According to SCORE, the majority of small business owners spend more than 41 hours on tax preparation each year. And this is on top of the nearly 40 hours per month that you spend handling payroll and HR-related tasks.

 

To help make the most of that time, smooth out the process, and make sure you don’t miss any deadlines, we’ve put together this federal payroll tax calendar with everything you need to make sure you get tax filings and payments handled on time. Remember that these dates can vary year to year if they fall on a weekend day or holiday.

 

Here’s an overview of the payroll-related due dates you should add to your calendar in 2023:

  • Jan 31: Quarterly filings for Q4 2022, plus all your year-end filings
  • May 1: Quarterly filings for Q1 2023
  • July 31: Quarterly filings for Q2 2023
  • October 31: Quarterly filings for Q3 2023
  • The 15th of each month (or the first Monday following): Payroll tax payments for the previous month. Note that the due dates for the 15th of each month apply only to monthly depositors.

 

If it seems like January is the busiest month for payroll taxes, you’re right. It’s not a bad idea to block off some time on your calendar to get all those forms done (or make sure your accountant has everything they’ll need to do it for you).

 

January 17, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you make monthly payroll tax payments, your deposit for December is due.

  • These funds are required to be paid via electronic funds transfer to the IRS and include federal income tax withheld and both the employer and employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • They are paid either monthly or semi-weekly and you must determine which schedule you’ll use at the beginning of the year.
  • Note that all new employers start out as monthly depositors.

January 31, 2023 payroll tax filings

Quarterly deadlines:

What’s due: You must file the Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return also known as Form 941, by January 31, 2023. Form 941 is used to report the total compensation paid to employees, the amounts withheld from their wages for FICA and federal income taxes, as well as the employer portions of Social Security and Medicare.

 

You must file Form 941 by the January 31 deadline if you withhold more than $1,000 annually in Social Security, Medicare, and federal income taxes from your employees’ wages. Please note:

  • You’ll report withholding amounts from employee paychecks as well as detailing your payments for the previous three months — in this case, the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2022.
  • Remember that after you file your first Form 941, you must file a return for each quarter, even if you have no taxes to report, unless you filed a final return or meet one of the IRS exceptions.
  • What you’ll need: Form 941

Form 941 vs. Form 944

There are a few exceptions when a small business should file different forms. For example, Form 943 should be filed annually for farm payroll. The most common exception is for the smallest of employers, who should file Form 944 instead of Form 941:

  • Form 944 is designed for small businesses that have a payroll tax liability (including Social Security, Medicare, and federal income taxes) of less than $1,000 annually. Note: Simply because an employer’s annual tax liability is less than $1,000 does not mean they will file a 944. The employer must receive a written notification from the IRS, letting them know that they are a 944 filer.
  • This is fairly rare and will not apply to most companies, but allows small businesses that have few (or no) full-time employees to file and pay their employment taxes annually.
  • What you’ll need: Form 944

More from our experts

Annual deadlines

What’s dueEmployer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return: Form 940

You’ll need to report the federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) you paid throughout the year.  Though this return is only filed annually, employers are responsible for depositing taxes owed on a quarterly basis, with all deposits made using electronic funds transfer.

  • If you have less than $500 in FUTA tax liability for the year, you can send in the form and your annual deposit on January 31.
  • If your business is new and you haven’t filed your first 940 yet, the IRS will automatically enroll you when you apply for your EIN.
  • Don’t forget, most employers are also required to pay state unemployment tax (SUTA).
  • What you’ll need: Form 940

 

What’s due: Annual wage reporting for employees: W-2s and W-3s

All W-2 forms showing prior year wages and taxes for your employees must be submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) by January 31, 2023.

  • Employee W-2s must also be postmarked by this date, as they need them to complete their own taxes.
  • If you don’t file your W-2s electronically with the SSA, you’ll need to include a Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements form.
  • What you’ll need: Form W-3

 

What’s dueReporting payments to non-employees: 1099-NEC

All 1099s are due to the IRS by January 31, along with your 1099-NEC reporting the payments you made to non-employees.

  • Contractors must also receive their 1099s by this date to complete their taxes.
  • What you’ll need: Form 1099-NEC

 

If you are filing paper 1099s with the IRS, you’ll need to submit your Annual Summary and Transmittal of US Information Return to summarize and accompany them.

 

What’s dueAnnual wages reporting for farmworkers: Form 943

  • If you pay wages to farmworkers that are subject to federal income or FICA taxes, you’ll need to report them on your Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees.
  • This form would be filed in place of a 941 if you only have agricultural workers — or in addition to it if your business has both regular employees and farmworkers.
  • What form you’ll need: Form 943

Pro tip for your payroll tax calendar

For employers that mail their returns, the IRS considers payroll filings on time as long as they have the appropriate postage, are postmarked, and are mailed by the filing due date.

 

Sandra Akins, Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)

 

 

Payroll that will never let you down

February 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for January is due.

 

March 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for February is due.

 

April 18, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for March is due.

More calendar resources for 2023

You can download Publication 509 IRS Tax Calendars, which are updated annually, for additional references on deadlines.

May 1, 2023 payroll tax filings

What’s due: Quarterly Federal Tax Form for the first quarter ending March 31, 2023.

  • You’ll report withholding amounts for federal income taxes and FICA from employee paychecks as well as your payments for those items.
  • You’ll be reporting taxes for the previous quarter.
  • What form you’ll need: Form 941

 

What’s dueQuarterly FUTA tax deposits may be due for the first quarter ending March 31, 2023.

  • Although Form 940 covers a calendar year, you may have to deposit your FUTA tax before you file your return.
  • If your FUTA tax payment is more than $500 for the calendar year, you must deposit at least one quarterly payment.
  • If your FUTA tax is $500 or less in a quarter, you will carry it over to the next quarter.
  • You’ll pay these funds via electronic funds transfer to the IRS.

 

May 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for April is due.

 

June 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for May is due.

 

July 17, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for June is due.

July 31, 2023 payroll tax filings

What’s dueQuarterly Federal Tax Form 941 for the second quarter ending June 30, 2023.

  • You’ll report withholding amounts for federal income taxes and FICA from employee paychecks as well as your payments for those items for the previous quarter.
  • What you’ll need: Form 941

 

What’s due: Quarterly FUTA tax deposits may be due for the first quarter ending June 30, 2023.

  • Although Form 940 covers a calendar year, you may have to deposit your FUTA tax before you file your return.
  • If your FUTA tax payment is more than $500 for the calendar year, you must deposit at least one quarterly payment.
  • If your FUTA tax is $500 or less in a quarter, you will carry it over to the next quarter.
  • You’ll pay these funds via electronic funds transfer to the IRS.

 

August 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for July is due.

 

September 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for August is due.

 

October 16, 2023 payroll tax filings

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for September is due.

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October 31, 2023 payroll tax filings

What’s dueQuarterly Federal Tax Form 941 for the third quarter ending September 30, 2023.

  • You’ll report withholding amounts for federal income taxes and FICA from employee paychecks as well as your payments for those items for the quarter ending September 30, 2023.
  • What form you’ll need: Form 941

 

What’s dueQuarterly FUTA tax deposits may be due for the first quarter ending September 30, 2023.

  • Although Form 940 covers a calendar year, you may have to deposit your FUTA tax before you file your return.
  • If your FUTA tax payment is more than $500 for the calendar year, you must deposit at least one quarterly payment.
  • If your FUTA tax is $500 or less in a quarter, you will carry it over to the next quarter.
  • You’ll pay these funds via electronic funds transfer to the IRS.

 

November 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for October is due.

 

December 15, 2023 payroll tax payments

What’s due: If you deposit monthly, your payroll tax deposit for November is due.

Avoid mistakes and save time with payroll taxes

OnPay is a significant time saver. I can easily run payroll, pay payroll taxes, offer benefits to my employees, and set up payroll with direct deposit without any hassle or stress that I handled a step incorrectly. It’s a game-changer!


— Lindsay Jenkins, Humble Beast Fit

December 2023 best practices

December isn’t a busy filing time, but there are a few things you can do to get ready for the new year and make sure you don’t miss any tax deadlines.

  • Get your employee files organized including confirming EIN, Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, and other key employee data
  • Check for any changes in the Social Security Wage Base
  • Check for changes in 401(k) and any other applicable retirement plan limits
  • Schedule time to talk with your accountant
  • Research 401(k) providers if you’re thinking about adding this benefit
  • Carefully document your charitable donations and any entertaining expenses
  • Gather electronic versions of forms or print out anything you need to fill in and mail
  • Review how much time you’re spending on payroll and HR — and whether you’re making any mistakes. You may want to consider payroll outsourcing or choosing a new payroll provider. The end of the year is the best time to switch.

 

There are major penalties for missing or making mistakes with payroll taxes, so it’s important to not only send them on time but also ensure the deposit amount is correct and remitted in the proper way according to the receiving agency. Most states also collect payroll taxes on employee wages, so you’ll want to consult your state’s website to ensure you’re meeting those deadlines as well. If in doubt, consult an accountant or consider using a payroll service provider to take care of deducting, filing, and remitting payroll taxes for you.

 

In addition to this calendar, we’ve also put together a full list of payroll tax forms with links to downloadable PDFs.

 

Please note: this material is educational only. It is not meant to constitute tax or legal advice. Always contact a qualified tax professional or another financial legal advisor in your area for complete tax or legal advice.

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Jacob Thomas is the Marketing and Technical Writer for OnPay. He has more than 10 years experience in writing about and teaching technology. He lives and works in his hometown of Atlanta.