It has happened to everyone at one point or another. You get to work, open the calendar and anxiety sets in almost immediately. You check your phone, your email, and your desk calendar hoping that one will provide relief. Frantically searching for proof that you didn’t actually miss your IRS deadline. Reality hits and you’re filled with dread that quickly turns to panic as you try to do everything to you can extend the deadline, find a loophole or shimmy past the penalties.
This is never a pleasant way to spend your day. Instead, stay on top of your payroll deadlines by making them a priority from the beginning. Start on the right track by knowing what is required and when it’s due.
The first date you should know is when payday actually is. You can choose to pay your employees on a weekly, bi-weekly (every other Friday) or semi-monthly (on the 1st and 15th) or even a monthly basis. For tax purposes, your payday is important because it is used to determine the period in which you need to pay and file payroll taxes.
For most employers, federal and state income taxes are paid on a monthly basis. If you are a large corporation, the government may send you notification that your taxes will be due more often. These income taxes are collected from your employees’ paychecks based on what they marked in their form W-4. Employers must also pay a matching amount of Social Security and Medicare tax.
Federal unemployment tax (FUTA) is usually paid quarterly. Again, this may vary depending on the size of your business. If your FUTA tax amount is $500 or less during a quarter, you can roll it into the next quarter and pay it once it reaches at least $500. Quarterly reporting can be hard to keep track of, so this chart from Square, Inc. helps keeps things organized:
Quarter end date
FUTA tax due date
First quarter (January, February, March)
Second quarter (April, May, June)
Third quarter (July, August, September)
Fourth quarter (October, November, December)
For both quarterly and monthly taxes, payroll providers will generally withhold these taxes each pay period and then pay them to the government when they are due. This ensures the money is set aside and available so you’re not left scrambling with an unexpected bill from Uncle Sam.
Filing Federal Forms:
In addition to tax payments, there are some form that accompany each payment, but not necessarily at the same time. The Form 941 is a quarterly federal tax return (although the taxes are paid monthly). Form 940 is your FUTA tax return that is only filed yearly (although the payments are issued quarterly).
Payroll services take all the anxiety out of payroll deadlines, tax payments, and federal forms. They’ll take care of your business and your employees so you can fill your plate with building your business rather than remembering tax deadlines.