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When are payroll taxes due?

When Are Federal Payroll Taxes Due?

You must deposit federal payroll taxes on a regular schedule. You can’t send in the money once a year or whenever you feel like.

You need to deposit your payroll tax liabilities when the government mandates they are due. There are multiple due dates, so you need to know exactly when each tax is due.

So, let’s answer the question, “When are payroll taxes due?”

FUTA tax

FUTA tax funds the federal government’s administration of state unemployment programs. Only employers pay FUTA tax. You will not withhold anything from employee wages.

Your tax liability for FUTA is due on a quarterly basis. If your FUTA tax liability is more than $500 during a calendar quarter, you must deposit your tax. Deposit the tax by the last day of the month after the end of the quarter.

For example, the first quarter ends on March 31. Your FUTA tax liability is due on April 30 (the last day of the month following the end of the quarter).

If your FUTA tax liability is $500 or less during a quarter, you don’t have to deposit the tax. Instead, the liability rolls over to the next quarter. Once the regular quarterly amount and the rolled over amount add up to more than $500, you must deposit the tax.

When are quarterly payroll taxes due? Check out the chart below.

Quarter Quarter end date FUTA tax due date
First quarter
(January, February, March)
March 31 April 30
Second quarter
(April, May, June)
June 30 July 31
Third quarter
(July, August, September)
September 30 October 31
Fourth quarter
(October, November, December)
December 31 January 31

Paying your fourth quarter tax might be different than the first three quarters. If your fourth quarter liability exceeds $500, you must deposit the entire amount through Electronic Federal Tax Form 940 due datePayment System (EFTPS) by January 31. If your fourth quarter liability is $500 or less, you can make a deposit through EFTPS, pay the tax with a credit card, or pay the tax with your Form 940 by January 31.

You will normally deposit your FUTA taxes by using EFTPS.

Reporting FUTA tax

You must use Form 940 to report your FUTA tax liabilities. Your Form 940 is due by January 31 for the previous year. For example, your 2017 Form 940 must be filed by January 31, 2018.

Federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax

Three federal taxes—federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax—use the same deposit deadlines.

These taxes have two deposit schedules: monthly and semiweekly. Every employer must use one of these schedules. You do not get to choose your schedule. The deposit schedule you use is based on a lookback period.

Lookback period

A lookback period is a range of time you review to determine when your federal payroll taxes are due. You will figure out how much you paid in payroll taxes during that time. Based on the amount you paid, you will be assigned a deposit schedule for the next year.

Your lookback period differs depending on if you are a Form 941 or Form 944 filer. To learn about the difference between Form 941 and Form 944, see the section below on reporting your taxes.

Form 941

Form 941 is the quarterly form that some employers use to report their federal income, Social Security, and Medicare tax liabilities.

If you are a Form 941 filer, your lookback period is a four-quarter period that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. For example, the lookback period to determine your 2017 payroll tax deposit schedule is July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Using the lookback period, figure out the total amount of your tax deposits during that time. If you paid $50,000 or less in taxes during the lookback period, you are a monthly depositor. If you paid more than $50,000 in taxes during the lookback period, you are a semiweekly depositor.

Form 944

Form 944 is an annual form that some employers use to report their tax liabilities. You should not file this form unless the IRS tells you to do so.

The Form 944 lookback period applies to anyone who is a Form 944 filer in the current year or either of the two preceding years. The lookback period is the second preceding calendar year. For example, the lookback period for 2017 deposits is the 2015 calendar year.

The lookback period applies to either your Form 944 for that year (an annual form) or to all four quarters on your Form 941 that year (a quarterly form).

Calculate your total tax liability for the lookback period. If your liability was $50,000 or less, you are a monthly depositor. If your liability was more than $50,000, you are a semiweekly depositor.

New employers

New employers have no tax liability during the lookback period. Because of this, all new employers start out as monthly depositors.

Due dates based on depositing type

Monthly and semiweekly depositors have different due dates for submitting their tax liabilities.

To learn even more about monthly and semiweekly deposit schedules, check out IRS Publication 15.

Monthly depositors

When are payroll taxes due for monthly depositors?

For payments you give to employees during a month, you need to deposit the taxes by the 15th. For example, You will withhold the taxes and then deposit them by August 15 for all the payrolls you run in July.
You must use EFTPS to make the tax deposits.

Semiweekly depositors

When are payroll taxes due for semiweekly depositors?

For semiweekly depositors, the deposit due date depends on the day you pay employees.

For employee payments made on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, deposit your tax liability by the following Wednesday. For payments made on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, deposit the taxes by the following Friday.

You need to use EFTPS to submit the tax deposits.

Reporting federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes

You must also report your federal income, Social Security, and Medicare tax liabilities.

Most employers will use Form 941 to report their payroll taxes. You must file a copy of Form 941 for each calendar quarter.

Some employers will report their liabilities on Form 944 instead. Form 944 must be filed annually. The IRS will notify you if you should use Form 944. Do not file this form unless you are told to do so.

Semiweekly depositors must complete additional forms. Semiweekly depositors who file Form 941 must also complete Schedule B Form (941). Semiweekly depositors who file Form 944 must complete Form 945-A.

Do not file any of these forms on a monthly or semiweekly basis.

You don’t need to worry about payroll tax due dates when you use Patriot Software’s Full Service Payroll software. You simply run payroll for your business, and Patriot’s payroll services will take care of filing and depositing your payroll taxes. Get your free trial now!

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