Form 944 vs. 941: Should You File the Annual or Quarterly Form?
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Form 944 vs. 941: Which Should You File?

If you’re an employer, you know the importance of depositing and reporting payroll taxes. The IRS requires that employers report taxes quarterly or annually on Form 941 or 944. What’s the difference between Form 944 vs. 941?

Form 944 vs. 941

Form 941 and 944 are the two forms that employers use to report employee wage and payroll tax information to the IRS.
form 944 vs. 941

What is Form 941? Use Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, to report wages and taxes four times per year.

Employers use Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return, to report wages and taxes once per year.

Use either the 941 or 944 form to list the federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes you withhold from your employees’ wages. And, report the total compensation you pay employees.

Employers must use either Form 941 or 944 to report wage and tax information. Do not file both Form 941 and 944.

You do not get to choose between using Form 941 or 944. The IRS decides which form you must use to report.

Form 941

Most employers use Form 941 for reporting. File Form 941 if you have employees and the IRS does not tell you to file Form 944.

Send Form 941 to the IRS even if you don’t have taxes to report. Do not send Form 941 to the IRS if you filed a final return, are a seasonal employer, or handle farm or household employee payroll.

Form 944

Use Form 944 to report tax information annually if the IRS tells you to. Only the smallest employers can file Form 944.

Employers with an annual liability of $1,000 or less for Social Security, Medicare, and federal income taxes file Form 944.

Submit Form 944 to the IRS even if you don’t have taxes to report, unless you filed a final return.

You can request to file Form 944 if you meet the requirements, even if the IRS doesn’t notify you. Either call the IRS at (800-829-4933) or send a written request. If the IRS accepts your request, they will contact you.

If the IRS tells you to file Form 944, you can request to file Form 941 instead.

941 vs. 944 form filing requirements

Do you know how to file Forms 941 and 944? What about when to file them by? Read on for the scoop.

How to file Forms 941 and 944

You can e-File or mail Forms 941 and 944. The IRS encourages electronic filing.

To e-File, you must either purchase IRS-approved software or use a tax professional. Check out the IRS’s website for more information on e-Filing.

If you decide to mail Form 941 or 944, where you send it depends on two factors:

  • What state your business is in
  • Whether you’re sending the form with or without payment

You can view the mailing addresses in the Instructions for Form 944 and the Instructions for Form 941.

If you opt for a full-service payroll software, like Patriot’s, your provider will file Form 941 or 944 on your behalf.

Form 944 vs. 941: Due dates

To avoid penalties, you must accurately report employee wage and tax information on either Form 944 or Form 941 by their due dates.

So, when are Forms 944 and 941 due?

Because Form 944 is an annual form, there’s only one due date you need to worry about:

  • January 31

There are four due dates for Form 941 you must consider:

  • April 30: 1st quarter (January – March)
  • July 31: 2nd quarter (April – June)
  • October 31: 3rd quarter (July – September)
  • January 31: 4th quarter (October – December)

Looking for a better way to run payroll? Start your self-guided demo to find out how much time and money you can save with Patriot Software!

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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