You may be an Etsy owner with an employee or two. Or if you are a freelancer that receives a salary from your company of one, then you are required to submit a form 941 to the IRS four times a year.

You don’t need to feel intimidated, though. This guide will help you understand everything there is that you need to know regarding form 941 from preparation up to payment.

What is a form 941?

Form 941 or Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return is a tax report that businesses and employers submit to the IRS. When you have employees that you pay, including yourself if you receive a salary from your business, then you have various tax obligations. This means you are responsible for income tax withholdings and FICA taxes such as Social Security and Medicare.

Aside from income and FICA tax withholdings, the report also includes adjustment calculations for tips, sick pays, and over- or underpayments made by the employer.


You must submit a 941 report quarterly even when you don’t have employees for some quarters. However, there are some exemptions to this IRS requirement:

  • employers of household or agricultural employees
  • seasonal employers

Form 941 vs Form 944

If you are a small-time employer with a payroll of less than $6,000 (meaning your employment taxes are less than $1,000) then you can use form 944 instead.

However, you can only use the Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Report once you secure permission from the IRS. Call 800-829-4933 or mail them a written request.

It’s pretty much similar to a 941, except that you are only required to submit a report once every tax year. Also, refer to the next section to help you complete your form.

Need help filling out your form 941?

First, form 941 has five parts. You must complete each part as accurately as possible. Accuracy and fast processing of your tax returns and refund should be enough reasons to e-file your taxes this year.

The 4-page document will seem confusing to you at first. But you will actually only fill in the first 2 pages and then lower section of the 3rd page. You will then detach the the bottom of page 3. Attach the form and mail the bottom of page 3 with your 941.

It’s really rather easy once you have all the required information with you.

Form 941 Step-by-step Guide

In the topmost section write your or the employer’s information:

  • Personal name
  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Employer’s Identification Number

Essential and Accurate Information is Required

This is the first part of the form that requires all the essential information regarding the taxes you have paid for your employees for the quarter.

  1. Indicate the number of employees you paid and the amount for compensation including wages, tips, and sick pays.
  2. Also, put the taxes before and after adjustments and the total deposits made for the quarter.
  3. In the last 2 lines (Line 14 and 15), write either the balance due or over-payments, which can either be refunded or deducted from the next quarter payments.

To be more specific, the types of taxes are:

  1. Line 3 – Income taxes that are withheld from the employee’s payroll
  2. Line 5a (wages) or 5b (tips) – Social Security taxes calculated at 12% (shared by both employee and employer)
  3. Line 5c/5d – Medicare taxes at 2.9% (shared by both employee and employer)
  4. Any additional tax from compensation beyond $200,000 at 0.9% (paid solely by the employee)

For part 2, tick one box from the options regarding your deposit schedule.

If your scheduled payments are paid monthly, you can use the boxes on the form for your tax liabilities.

If you pay semi-weekly, then you need to use Schedule B of form 941 for your tax liabilities.

If your taxes are over $100,000 then you are required to make a next-day deposit. On the other hand, if your taxes are less than $1,000 you can submit payment together with the form.

Part 3 is applicable only applicable for businesses that ceased operation or for seasonal employers.

If it does not apply to you, leave the boxes blank.

Using a Third-Party Preparer

If you want to let the IRS speak with a third-party tax preparer, you can use part 4 to provide the necessary information.

Provide the name and contact number of your chosen individual and indicate their government-issued 5-digit PIN.

Certify the Correctness of the Information

After completing the previous sections and making sure you put the correct information, affix your signature, your full name, contact number, and the date signed.

Tax Preparers Only

This section is only to be filled out by your professional tax preparer, if you hired one to do your taxes for you.

Detach and Fill-in the Payment Voucher in Page 3

This section can be found on the bottom of the third page of the document. You will need to put the name, address, EIN, tax period, and amount attached. You need to detach this and mail it together with your payment and form 941.

When to Mail 941 Reports

Report these payments every quarter and send them to the IRS before the following deadlines:

  • First quarter ends on March 31 and the report is due on April 30
  • Second quarter ends on June 30 and the report is due on July 31
  • Third quarter ends on September 30 and the report is due on October 31
  • Fourth quarter ends on Dec 31 and the report is due on January 31of the following year

You must pay employment taxes on a schedule, either monthly or semi-weekly.

When to Send 941 Payments

File your quarterly payments on your form 941 and send them quarterly to the IRS before the following deadlines:

However, if the due date falls on a holiday or weekend then the deadline is moved on the next business day. Also, get an additional 10 days past the deadline if you have completed paying your tax deposits for that quarter on time. This means that:

  • The April 30 deadline for the first quarter is extended to May 10
  • The July 31 deadline for the second quarter is extended to August 10
  • The October 31 deadline for the third quarter is extended to November 10
  • The January 31 deadline for the fourth quarter is extended to February 10

Form 941 Mailing Address

The table below provides you with the appropriate addresses you should forward your form 941 to depending on your location and whether you are mailing with or without your payment.


Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

With Payment

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 804522
Cincinnati, OH 45280-4522

Without Payment

Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Cincinnati, OH 45999-0005

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico,, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37941
Hartford, CT 06176-7941

Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0005

No legal residence or principal place of business in any State

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37941
Hartford, CT 06176-7941

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 409101
Ogden, UT 84409

Exception: Exempt organizations, Federal, State, and Local Government Entities regardless of location

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37941
Hartford, CT 06176-7941

Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0005

You can also opt to submit your 941 reports online using the IRS portal regardless of your location. IRS made it more convenient for you to handle your tax obligations. You can e-file your forms and electronically make payments as well.

Here’s how to avoid tax penalties

Tax preparation is essential in avoiding late fees and penalties. If you can, hire a professional tax preparer (link to finding right tax accountant article) to stay on top of all your tax obligations. You can also use a reliable tax software to assist you with tax preparation.

First, keep tab of dates and payments constantly throughout the year. Accurate filing begins with accurate information.

This will help you cope with those 4 deadlines within the tax year. You can also hire someone certified to handle your payroll for you. They will be in charge of handling those documents that you might be dreading.

If you file your form 941 past the due date, your business will be fined by the IRS at 5% to 25% rate.

Also, if you pay your dues late, you will be fined at 0.05% each month, up to 25%.

Moreover, on top of these penalties, the IRS will charge your taxes owed with interests calculated at the federal short-term interest rate + 3%. The interests are compounded daily and they start accumulating the day after the deadline.

Review of how much you will be penalized for late payments

  • 1-5 days late payment: 2% of your tax dues
  • 6-15 days late payment: 5% of your tax dues
  • 16 days or more late payment: 10% of your tax dues
  • If you pay within 10 days after receiving a notice of delinquency: 15% of your tax dues

If for some reason you are encountering problems with settling your tax bills or submitting your form 941….

  • Consult with a tax professional regarding your case. Have them contact the IRS immediately on your behalf. Make sure that you still file your form 941 before the deadline to avoid further penalties.
  • Hire someone who can advise you the proper course of action. This has to be someone who can represent you in the IRS to plead your case.
  • The IRS only severely penalizes those who intentionally avoid paying tax dues. If you have a clean record with the IRS, you may get favorable outcomes in negotiating with the IRS.