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Publication 15

(Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide


Future Developments(p1)

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 15 (Circular E), such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to

What's New(p1)

2013 withholding tables.(p1)
Employers should implement the 2013 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than February 15, 2013. Use the 2012 withholding tables until you implement the 2013 withholding tables.
Social security and Medicare tax for 2013.(p1)
The employee tax rate for social security is 6.2%. Previously, the employee tax rate for social security was 4.2%. The employer tax rate for social security remains unchanged at 6.2%. The social security wage base limit is $113,700. (Continued on page 2.)
Employers should implement the 6.2% employee social security tax rate as soon as possible, but not later than February 15, 2013. After implementing the new 6.2% rate, employers should make an adjustment in a subsequent pay period to correct any underwithholding of social security tax as soon as possible, but not later than March 31, 2013.
The Medicare tax rate is 1.45% each for the employee and employer for 2013, unchanged from 2012. There is no wage base limit for Medicare tax.
Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household workers you pay $1,800 or more in cash or an equivalent form of compensation. Social security and Medicare taxes apply to election workers who are paid $1,600 or more in cash or an equivalent form of compensation.
Additional Medicare Tax withholding.(p2)
In addition to withholding Medicare tax at 1.45%, you must withhold a 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax from wages you pay to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. You are required to begin withholding Additional Medicare Tax in the pay period in which you pay wages in excess of $200,000 to an employee and continue to withhold it each pay period until the end of the calendar year. Additional Medicare Tax is only imposed on the employee. There is no employer share of Additional Medicare Tax. All wages that are subject to Medicare tax are subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding if paid in excess of the $200,000 withholding threshold. For more information on what wages are subject to Medicare tax, see the chart, Special Rules for Various Types of Services and Payments, in section 15.
Increased withholding on supplemental wages that exceed $1 million. (p2)
Beginning January 1, 2013, the withholding rate on supplemental wages paid to any one employee during the calendar year that exceed $1 million is 39.6%. Previously, the withholding rate on supplemental wages that exceed $1 million was 35%. For more information, see section 7.
Withholding allowance.(p2)
The 2013 amount for one withholding allowance on an annual basis is $3,900.
Leave-based donation programs to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.(p2)
Under these programs, employees may donate their vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for employer cash payments made before January 1, 2014, to qualified tax-exempt organizations providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The donated leave will not be included in the income or wages of the employee. The employer may deduct the cash payments as business expenses or charitable contributions. For more information, see Notice 2012-69, 2012-51 I.R.B. 712, available at
Work opportunity tax credit for qualified tax-exempt organizations hiring qualified veterans extended.(p2)
The work opportunity tax credit is now available for eligible unemployed veterans who begin work before January 1, 2014. Previously, the credit was available for unemployed veterans who began work on or after November 22, 2011, and before January 1, 2013. Qualified tax-exempt organizations that hire eligible unemployed veterans can claim the work opportunity tax credit against their payroll tax liability using Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations Hiring Qualified Veterans. For more information, visit and enter "work opportunity tax credit" in the search box.


COBRA premium assistance credit.(p2)
The credit for COBRA premium assistance payments applies to premiums paid for employees involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010, and to premiums paid for up to 15 months. See COBRA premium assistance credit under Introduction.
Federal tax deposits must be made by electronic funds transfer.(p2)
You must use electronic funds transfer to make all federal tax deposits. Generally, electronic fund transfers are made using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). If you do not want to use EFTPS, you can arrange for your tax professional, financial institution, payroll service, or other trusted third party to make electronic deposits on your behalf. Also, you may arrange for your financial institution to initiate a same-day wire payment on your behalf. EFTPS is a free service provided by the Department of Treasury. Services provided by your tax professional, financial institution, payroll service, or other third party may have a fee.
For more information on making federal tax deposits, see How To Deposit in section 11. To get more information about EFTPS or to enroll in EFTPS, visit or call 1-800-555-4477. Additional information about EFTPS is also available in Publication 966, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: A Guide To Getting Started.
You must receive written notice from the IRS to file Form 944.(p2)
If you have been filing Forms 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return (or Forms 941-SS, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return—American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Formularios 941-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Federal TRIMESTRAL del Patrono), and believe your employment taxes for the calendar year will be $1,000 or less, and you would like to file Form 944 instead of Forms 941, you must contact the IRS to request to file Form 944. You must receive written notice from the IRS to file Form 944 instead of Forms 941 before you may file this form. For more information on requesting to file Form 944, visit and enter "file employment taxes annually" in the search box.
Employers can request to file Forms 941 instead of Form 944.(p2)
If you received notice from the IRS and have been filing Form 944 but would like to file Forms 941 instead, you must contact the IRS to request to file Forms 941. You must receive written notice from the IRS to file Forms 941 instead of Form 944 before you may file these forms. For more information on requesting to file Form 944, visit and enter "file employment taxes annually" in the search box.
Form 944-SS and Formulario 944-PR discontinued.(p3)
Form 944-SS, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return—American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Formulario 944-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Federal ANUAL del Patrono, will no longer be issued by the IRS after 2011. Beginning with tax year 2012, employers who previously filed Form 944-SS or Formulario 944-PR will continue to file annually on Form 944 (or Formulario 944-SP, Declaración Federal ANUAL de Impuestos del Patrono o Empleador, the Spanish language equivalent of Form 944). Alternatively, employers in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands may request to file Forms 941-SS instead of Form 944. Employers in Puerto Rico may request to file Formularios 941-PR instead of Form 944. You must receive written notice from the IRS to file Forms 941-SS or Formularios 941-PR instead of Form 944 before you may file these forms.
Aggregate Form 941 filers.(p3)
Agents must complete Schedule R (Form 941), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 941 Filers, when filing an aggregate Form 941. Aggregate Forms 941 may only be filed by agents approved by the IRS under section 3504 of the Internal Revenue Code. To request approval to act as an agent for an employer, the agent files Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent, with the IRS.
Aggregate Form 940 filers.(p3)
Agents must complete Schedule R (Form 940), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 940 Filers, when filing an aggregate Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. Aggregate Forms 940 can be filed by agents acting on behalf of home care service recipients who receive home care services through a program administered by a federal, state, or local government. To request approval to act as an agent on behalf of home care service recipients, the agent files Form 2678 with the IRS.
Change of address.(p3)
Use Form 8822-B, Change of Address—Business, to notify the IRS of an address change. Do not mail Form 8822-B with your employment tax return.

Electronic Filing and Payment(p3)

Now, more than ever before, businesses can enjoy the benefits of filing and paying their federal taxes electronically. Whether you rely on a tax professional or handle your own taxes, the IRS offers you convenient programs to make filing and payment easier.
Spend less time and worry on taxes and more time running your business. Use e-file and the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to your benefit.
If you are filing your tax return or paying your federal taxes electronically, a valid EIN is required at the time the return is filed. If a valid EIN is not provided, the return or payment will not be processed. This may result in penalties and delays in processing your return or payment.
Electronic funds withdrawal (EFW).(p3)
If you file Form 940, Form 941, or Form 944 electronically, you can e-file and e-pay (electronic funds withdrawal) the balance due in a single step using tax preparation software or through a tax professional. However, do not use EFW to make federal tax deposits. For more information on paying your taxes using EFW, visit the IRS website at A fee may be charged to file electronically.
Credit or debit card payments.(p3)
For information on paying your taxes with a credit or debit card, visit the IRS website at However, do not use credit or debit cards to make federal tax deposits.

Forms in Spanish(p3)

You can provide Formulario W-4(SP), Certificado de Exención de Retenciones del Empleado, in place of Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to your Spanish-speaking employees. For more information, see Publicación 17(SP), El Impuesto Federal sobre los Ingresos (Para Personas Físicas). For nonemployees, Formulario W-9(SP), Solicitud y Certificación del Número de Identificación del Contribuyente, may be used in place of Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

Hiring New Employees(p3)

Eligibility for employment.(p3)
You must verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. This includes completing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You can get the form from USCIS offices or by calling 1-800-870-3676. Contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283, or visit the USCIS website at for more information.
New hire reporting.(p3)
You are required to report any new employee to a designated state new hire registry. A new employee is an employee who has not previously been employed by you or was previously employed by you but has been separated from such prior employment for at least 60 consecutive days.
Many states accept a copy of Form W-4 with employer information added. Visit the Office of Child Support Enforcement website at for more information.
W-4 request.(p3)
Ask each new employee to complete the 2013 Form W-4. See section 9.
Name and social security number.(p3)
Record each new employee's name and number from his or her social security card. Any employee without a social security card should apply for one. See section 4.

Paying Wages, Pensions, or Annuities(p4)

Correcting Form 941 or Form 944.(p4)
If you discover an error on a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944, make the correction using Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, or Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund. Forms 941-X and 944-X are stand-alone forms, meaning taxpayers can file them when an error is discovered. Forms 941-X and 944-X are used by employers to claim refunds or abatements of employment taxes, rather than Form 843. See section 13 for more information.
Income tax withholding.(p4)
Withhold federal income tax from each wage payment or supplemental unemployment compensation plan benefit payment according to the employee's Form W-4 and the correct withholding table. If you have nonresident alien employees, see Withholding income taxes on the wages of nonresident alien employees in section 9.
Withhold from periodic pension and annuity payments as if the recipient is married claiming three withholding allowances, unless he or she has provided Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, either electing no withholding or giving a different number of allowances, marital status, or an additional amount to be withheld. Do not withhold on direct rollovers from qualified plans or governmental section 457(b) plans. See section 9 and Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide. Publication 15-A includes information about withholding on pensions and annuities.
Zero wage return.(p4)
If you have not filed a "final" Form 941 or Form 944, or are not a "seasonal" employer, you must continue to file a Form 941 or Form 944 even for periods during which you paid no wages. The IRS encourages you to file your "Zero Wage" Forms 941 or 944 electronically using IRS e-file at

Employer Responsibilities

Employer Responsibilities: The following list provides a brief summary of your basic responsibilities. Because the individual circumstances for each employer can vary greatly, responsibilities for withholding, depositing, and reporting employment taxes can differ. Each item in this list has a page reference to a more detailed discussion in this publication.
 New Employees:Page  Annually (By January 31 of the current year,Page
Verify work eligibility of new employees3  for the prior year): 
Record employees' names and SSNs from  File Form 944 if required (pay tax with return if 
 social security cards3  not required to deposit)30
Ask employees for Form W-43  Annually (see Calendar for due dates):
 Each Payday:  Remind employees to submit a new Form W-4 
Withhold federal income tax based on each   if they need to change their withholding20
 employee's Form W-420 Ask for a new Form W-4 from employees 
Withhold employee's share of social security   claiming exemption from income tax 
 and Medicare taxes23  withholding21
Deposit:  Reconcile Forms 941 (or Form 944) with Forms 
 • Withheld income tax   W-2 and W-331
 • Withheld and employer social security taxes  Furnish each employee a Form W-28
 • Withheld and employer Medicare taxes25 File Copy A of Forms W-2 and the transmittal 
  Note: Due date of deposit generally depends    Form W-3 with the SSA8
 on your deposit schedule (monthly or semiweekly)   Furnish each other payee a Form 1099 (for example, Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income)8
 Quarterly (By April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31):  File Forms 1099 and the transmittal Form 
Deposit FUTA tax if undeposited amount   10968
 is over $50035 File Form 9408
File Form 941 (pay tax with return if not  File Form 945 for any nonpayroll income tax 
 required to deposit)30  withholding8

Information Returns(p4)

You may be required to file information returns to report certain types of payments made during the year. For example, you must file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report payments of $600 or more to persons not treated as employees (for example, independent contractors) for services performed for your trade or business. For details about filing Forms 1099 and for information about required electronic filing, see the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns for general information and the separate, specific instructions for each information return you file (for example, Instructions for Form 1099-MISC). Generally, do not use Forms 1099 to report wages and other compensation you paid to employees; report these on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. See the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 for details about filing Form W-2 and for information about required electronic filing. If you file 250 or more Forms 1099, you must file them electronically. If you file 250 or more Forms W-2, you must file them electronically. SSA will not accept Forms W-2 and W-3 filed on magnetic media.
Information reporting customer service site.(p5)
The IRS operates the Enterprise Computing Center—Martinsburg, a centralized customer service site, to answer questions about reporting on Forms W-2, W-3, 1099, and other information returns. If you have questions related to reporting on information returns, call 1-866-455-7438 (toll free), 304-263-8700 (toll call), or 304-267-3367 (TDD/TTY for persons who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have a speech disability). The center can also be reached by email at

Nonpayroll Income Tax Withholding(p5)

Nonpayroll federal income tax withholding (reported on Forms 1099 and Form W-2G) must be reported on Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax. Separate deposits are required for payroll (Form 941 or Form 944) and nonpayroll (Form 945) withholding. Nonpayroll items include:
For details on depositing and reporting nonpayroll income tax withholding, see the Instructions for Form 945.
All income tax withholding reported on Form W-2 must be reported on Form 941, Form 943, Form 944, or Schedule H (Form 1040).
Distributions from nonqualified pension plans and deferred compensation plans.(p5)
Because distributions to participants from some nonqualified pension plans and deferred compensation plans (including section 457(b) plans of tax-exempt organizations) are treated as wages and are reported on Form W-2, income tax withheld must be reported on Form 941 or Form 944, not on Form 945. However, distributions from such plans to a beneficiary or estate of a deceased employee are not wages and are reported on Forms 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.; income tax withheld must be reported on Form 945.
Backup withholding.(p5)
You generally must withhold 28% of certain taxable payments if the payee fails to furnish you with his or her correct taxpayer identification number (TIN). This withholding is referred to as "backup withholding."
Payments subject to backup withholding include interest, dividends, patronage dividends, rents, royalties, commissions, nonemployee compensation, and certain other payments you make in the course of your trade or business. In addition, transactions by brokers and barter exchanges and certain payments made by fishing boat operators are subject to backup withholding.
Backup withholding does not apply to wages, pensions, annuities, IRAs (including simplified employee pension (SEP) and SIMPLE retirement plans), section 404(k) distributions from an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), medical savings accounts, health savings accounts, long-term-care benefits, or real estate transactions.
You can use Form W-9 or Formulario W-9(SP) to request payees to furnish a TIN and to certify the number furnished is correct. You can also use Form W-9 or Formulario W-9(SP) to get certifications from payees that they are not subject to backup withholding or that they are exempt from backup withholding. The Instructions for the Requester of Form W-9 or Formulario W-9(SP) includes a list of types of payees who are exempt from backup withholding. For more information, see Publication 1281, Backup Withholding for Missing and Incorrect Name/TIN(s).


Keep all records of employment taxes for at least 4 years. These should be available for IRS review. Your records should include the following information.

Change of Address(p6)

To notify the IRS of a new business mailing address or business location, file Form 8822-B. Do not mail Form 8822-B with your employment tax return.

Private Delivery Services(p6)

You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to mail tax returns and payments. The list includes only the following:
For the IRS mailing address to use if you are using a private delivery service, go to and enter "private delivery service" in the search box.
Your private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.

Telephone Help(p6)

Tax questions.(p6)
You can call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line with your employment tax questions at 1-800-829-4933.
Help for people with disabilities.(p6)
You may call 1-800-829-4059 (TDD/TTY for persons who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have a speech disability) with any tax question or to order forms and publications. You may also use this number for assistance with unresolved tax problems.
Recorded tax information (TeleTax).(p6)
The IRS TeleTax service provides recorded tax information on topics that answer many individual and business federal tax questions. You can listen to up to three topics on each call you make. Touch-Tone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TeleTax topics are also available on the IRS website at
A list of employment tax topics is provided below. Select, by number, the topic you want to hear and call 1-800-829-4477. For the directory of all topics, select
Topic 123.
Teletax Topics
(These topics are available in Spanish)
751Social Security and Medicare Withholding Rates
 (Tasas de retención del seguro social y Medicare, Tema)
752Form W-2—Where, When, and How to File
 (Dónde, Cuándo y Cómo Presentar El La Formulario W-2)
753Form W-4—Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
 (Formulario W-4(SP)—Certificado de Excensión de Retenciones del Empleado)
755Employer Identification Number (EIN)—How to Apply
 (Como Solicitar Un Número de Identificación Patronal (EIN))
756Employment Taxes for Household Employees
 (Impuestos Patronales para Empleados Domésticos)
757Form 941 and Form 944—Deposit Requirements
 (Formulario 941 and Formulario 944—Requisitos de Depósito)
758Form 941—Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return and Form 944—Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return
 (Formulario 941-PR—Planilla para la Declaración Federal TRIMESTRAL del Patrono) (Formulario 944-PR—Planilla para la Declaración Federal ANUAL del Patrono)
759A Business Credit is Available for Qualified Employers Under "The HIRE Act" of 2010
 (Nueva exención tributaria y crédito comercial para empleadores calificados disponibles bajo la Ley de Incentivos para la Contratación y Recuperación del Empleo del 2010 (HIRE, por sus siglas en inglés))
761Tips—Withholding and Reporting
 (Propinas—Declaración y Retención)
762Independent Contractor vs. Employee
 (Contratista Independiente vs. Empleado)
763The "Affordable Care Act" of 2010 Offers Employers New Tax Deductions and Credits
 (Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Costo Asequible del 2010 ofrece a los empleadores deducciones y créditos tributarios nuevos)
Additional employment tax information.(p7)
Visit the IRS website at and click on the Employment Taxes link under Businesses Topics.

Ordering Employer Tax Products(p7)

You can order employer tax products and information returns online at To order 2012 and 2013 forms, click on the Online Ordering for Information Returns and Employer Returns link. You may also order employer tax products and information returns by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
Instead of ordering paper Forms W-2 and W-3, consider filing them electronically using the Social Security Administration's (SSA) free e-file service. Visit the SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information website at to register for Business Services Online. You will be able to create Forms W-2 online and submit them to the SSA by typing your wage information into easy-to-use fill-in fields. In addition, you can print out completed copies of Forms W-2 to file with state or local governments, distribute to your employees, and keep for your records. Form W-3 will be created for you based on your
Forms W-2.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here to Help You(p7)

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. We help taxpayers whose problems with the IRS are causing financial difficulties; who have tried but haven't been able to resolve their problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.
You can contact TAS by calling the TAS toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778 to determine whether you are eligible for assistance. You can also call or write to your local taxpayer advocate, whose phone number and address are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service — Your Voice at the IRS. You can file Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), or ask an IRS employee to complete it on your behalf. For more information, go to

Filing Addresses(p7)

Generally, your filing address for Forms 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, and CT-1 depends on the location of your residence or principal place of business and whether or not you are including a payment with your return. There are separate filing addresses for these returns if you are a tax-exempt organization or government entity. See the separate instructions for Forms 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, or CT-1 for the filing addresses.

Photographs of Missing Children(p7)

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Comments and Suggestions(p8)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Business, Exempt Organizations, and International Tax Forms & Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at Please put "Publication 15" on the subject line. You can also send us comments from Click on More Information and then click on Comment on Tax Forms and Publications.
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.


The following is a list of important dates. Also see Publication 509, Tax Calendars.
If any date shown below for filing a return, furnishing a form, or depositing taxes falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, use the next business day. A statewide legal holiday delays a filing due date only if the IRS office where you are required to file is located in that state. However, a statewide legal holiday does not delay the due date of federal tax deposits. See Deposits on Business Days Only in section 11. For any filing due date, you will meet the "file" or "furnish" requirement if the envelope containing the return or form is properly addressed, contains sufficient postage, and is postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before the due date, or sent by an IRS-designated private delivery service on or before the due date. See Private Delivery Services under Reminders for more information.
By January 31
Furnish Forms 1099 and W-2.(p8)
Furnish each employee a completed Form W-2. Furnish each other payee a completed Form 1099 (for example, Form 1099-MISC).
File Form 941 or Form 944.(p8)
File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of the previous calendar year and deposit any undeposited income, social security, and Medicare taxes. You may pay these taxes with Form 941 if your total tax liability for the quarter is less than $2,500. File Form 944 for the previous calendar year instead of Form 941 if the IRS has notified you in writing to file Form 944 and pay any undeposited income, social security, and Medicare taxes. You may pay these taxes with Form 944 if your total tax liability for the year is less than $2,500. For additional rules on when you can pay your taxes with your return, see Payment with return in section 11. If you timely deposited all taxes when due, you have 10 additional calendar days from January 31 to file the appropriate return.
File Form 940.(p8)
File Form 940 to report any FUTA tax. However if you deposited all of the FUTA tax when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file.
File Form 945.(p8)
File Form 945 to report any nonpayroll federal income tax withheld in 2012. If you deposited all taxes when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file. See Nonpayroll Income Tax Withholding under Reminders for more information.
By February 15
Request a new Form W-4 from exempt employees.(p8)
Ask for a new Form W-4 from each employee who claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year.
On February 16
Forms W-4 claiming exemption from withholding expire.(p8)
Any Form W-4 claiming exemption from withholding for the previous year has now expired. Begin withholding for any employee who previously claimed exemption from withholding but has not given you a new Form W-4 for the current year. If the employee does not give you a new Form W-4, withhold tax based on the last valid Form W-4 you have for the employee that does not claim exemption from withholding or, if one does not exist, as if he or she is single with zero withholding allowances. See section 9 for more information. If the employee furnishes a new Form W-4 claiming exemption from withholding after February 15, you may apply the exemption to future wages, but do not refund taxes withheld while the exempt status was not in place.
By February 28
File paper Forms 1099 and 1096.(p8)
File Copy A of all paper Forms 1099 with Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, with the IRS. For electronically filed returns, see By March 31, later.
File paper Forms W-2 and W-3.(p8)
File Copy A of all paper Forms W-2 with Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration (SSA). For electronically filed returns, see By March 31, later.
File paper Form 8027.(p8)
File paper Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, with the IRS. See section 6. For electronically filed returns, see By March 31 below.
By March 31
File electronic Forms 1099, 8027, and W-2.(p9)
File electronic Forms 1099 and 8027 with the IRS. File electronic Forms W-2 with the SSA. For information on reporting Form W-2 information to the SSA electronically, visit the Social Security Administration's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information webpage at For information on filing information returns electronically with the IRS, see Publication 1220, Specifications for Filing Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935, and W-2G Electronically, and Publication 1239, Specifications for Filing Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, Electronically.
By April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31
Deposit FUTA taxes.(p9)
Deposit FUTA tax due if it is more than $500.
File Form 941.(p9)
File Form 941 and deposit any undeposited income, social security, and Medicare taxes. You may pay these taxes with Form 941 if your total tax liability for the quarter is less than $2,500. If you timely deposited all taxes when due, you have 10 additional calendar days from the due dates above to file the return.
Before December 1
New Forms W-4.(p9)
Remind employees to submit a new Form W-4 if their marital status or withholding allowances have changed or will change for the next year.


This publication explains your tax responsibilities as an employer. It explains the requirements for withholding, depositing, reporting, paying, and correcting employment taxes. It explains the forms you must give to your employees, those your employees must give to you, and those you must send to the IRS and SSA. This guide also has tax tables you need to figure the taxes to withhold from each employee for 2013. References to "income tax" in this guide apply only to "federal" income tax. Contact your state or local tax department to determine if their rules are different.
Additional employment tax information is available in Publication 15-A. Publication 15-A includes specialized information supplementing the basic employment tax information provided in this publication. Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, contains information about the employment tax treatment and valuation of various types of noncash compensation.
Most employers must withhold (except FUTA), deposit, report, and pay the following employment taxes.
There are exceptions to these requirements. See section 15 for guidance. Railroad retirement taxes are explained in the Instructions for Form CT-1.

Employer's liability.(p9)

Employers are responsible for ensuring tax returns are filed and deposits and payments are made, even if the employer retains a third party to perform those functions. The employer remains liable if the third party fails to perform a required action. Employers who enroll in EFTPS will be able to view EFTPS deposits and payments made on their behalf.

Federal Government employers.(p9)

The information in this guide applies to federal agencies, except for the rules requiring deposit of federal taxes only at Federal Reserve banks or through the FedTax option of the Government On-Line Accounting Link Systems (GOALS). See the Treasury Financial Manual (I TFM 3-4000) for more information. You can access the Treasury Financial Manual online at

State and local government employers.(p9)

Payments to employees for services in the employ of state and local government employers are generally subject to federal income tax withholding but not FUTA tax. Most elected and appointed public officials of state or local governments are employees under common law rules. See chapter 3 of Publication 963, Federal-State Reference Guide. In addition, wages, with certain exceptions, are subject to social security and Medicare taxes. See section 15 for more information on the exceptions.
If an election worker is employed in another capacity with the same government entity, see Revenue Ruling 2000-6 on page 512 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 2000-6 at
You can get information on reporting and social security coverage from your local IRS office. If you have any questions about coverage under a section 218 (Social Security Act) agreement, contact the appropriate state official. To find your State Social Security Administrator, visit the National Conference of State Social Security Administrators website at

Disregarded entities and qualified subchapter S subsidiaries.(p9)

The IRS has published final regulations section 301.7701-2(c)(2)(iv), under which QSubs and eligible single-owner disregarded entities are treated as separate entities for employment tax purposes. Under these regulations, eligible single-member entities that have not elected to be taxed as corporations must report and pay employment taxes on wages paid to their employees after December 31, 2008, using the entities' own names and EINs. The disregarded entity will be responsible for its own employment tax obligations on wages paid after December 31, 2008. For wages paid before January 1, 2009, see Publication 15 (Circular E) (For use in 2008).

COBRA premium assistance credit.(p10)

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) provides certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. COBRA generally covers multiemployer health plans and health plans maintained by private-sector employers (other than churches) with 20 or more full and part-time employees. Parallel requirements apply to these plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Under the Public Health Service Act, COBRA requirements apply also to health plans covering state or local government employees. Similar requirements apply under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and under some state laws. For the premium assistance (or subsidy) discussed below, these requirements are all referred to as COBRA requirements.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), employers are allowed a credit against "payroll taxes" (referred to in this publication as "employment taxes") for providing COBRA premium assistance to assistance eligible individuals. For periods of COBRA continuation coverage beginning after February 16, 2009, a group health plan must treat an assistance eligible individual as having paid the required COBRA continuation coverage premium if the individual elects COBRA coverage and pays 35% of the amount of the premium.
An assistance eligible individual is a qualified beneficiary of an employer's group health plan who is eligible for COBRA continuation coverage during the period beginning September 1, 2008, and ending May 31, 2010, due to the involuntarily termination from employment of a covered employee during the period and elects continuation COBRA coverage. The assistance for the coverage can last up to 15 months.
Administrators of the group health plans (or other entities) that provide or administer COBRA continuation coverage must provide notice to assistance eligible individuals of the COBRA premium assistance.
The 65% of the premium not paid by the assistance eligible individuals is reimbursed to the employer maintaining the group health plan. The reimbursement is made through a credit against the employer's employment tax liabilities. The employer takes the credit on Form 941, line 12a, or Form 944, line 9a, once the 35% of the premium is paid by or on behalf of the assistance eligible individual. The credit is treated as a deposit made on the first day of the return period (quarter or year). In the case of a multiemployer plan, the credit is claimed by the plan, rather than the employer. In the case of an insured plan subject to state law continuation coverage requirements, the credit is claimed by the insurance company, rather than the employer.
Anyone claiming the credit for COBRA premium assistance payments must maintain the following information to support their claim, including the following.
For more information, visit and enter "COBRA" in the search box.

1. Employer Identification Number (EIN)(p10)

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees or annuitants, you need an employer identification number (EIN).
The EIN is a nine-digit number the IRS issues. The digits are arranged as follows: 00-0000000. It is used to identify the tax accounts of employers and certain others who have no employees. Use your EIN on all of the items you send to the IRS and SSA. For more information, see Publication 1635, Employer Identification Number: Understanding Your EIN.
If you do not have an EIN, you may apply for one online. Go to the and click on the Apply for an EIN Online link under Tools. You may also apply for an EIN by calling 1-800-829-4933, or you can fax or mail Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, to the IRS. Do not use a social security number (SSN) in place of an EIN.
You should have only one EIN. If you have more than one and are not sure which one to use, call 1-800-829-4933 or 1-800-829-4059 (TDD/TTY for persons who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have a speech disability). Give the numbers you have, the name and address to which each was assigned, and the address of your main place of business. The IRS will tell you which number to use.
If you took over another employer's business (see Successor employer in section 9), do not use that employer's EIN. If you have applied for an EIN but do not have your EIN by the time a return is due, file a paper return and write "Applied For" and the date you applied for it in the space shown for the number.