skip navigation
Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index

Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Exempt Organization
Tax Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Publication 80

9. Employer's Returns(p17)


General instructions.(p17)

File Forms 941-SS (or Form 944) for nonfarm workers and Form 943 for farmworkers. (U.S. Virgin Islands employers may be required to file Form 940 for the combined wages of nonfarm workers and farmworkers.)

Employers with employees subject to U.S. income tax withholding.(p17)

If you have both employees who are subject to U.S. income tax withholding and employees who aren't subject to U.S. income tax withholding, you must file only Form 941 (or Form 944) and include all your employees’ wages on that form.

Nonfarm employers.(p17)

File Form 941-SS for the calendar quarter in which you first pay wages for nonfarm workers and for each quarter thereafter unless you’re a seasonal employer or file a final return. Due dates for each quarter of the calendar year are as follows.
Quarter Due
Jan., Feb., Mar.Apr. 30
Apr., May, JuneJuly 31
July, Aug., Sept.Oct. 31
Oct., Nov., Dec.Jan. 31
However, if you deposited all taxes when due for the quarter, you may file Form 941-SS by May 10, August 10, November 10, and February 10, respectively. If the due date for filing your return falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you may file on the next business day.
If you closed your business or stopped paying wages and don't have to file returns in the future, check the box on line 17 of your final Form 941-SS and show the date final wages were paid.

Form 944.(p17)

If IRS notified you to file Form 944, file your 2016 Form 944 by January 31, 2017, or by February 10, 2017 (if you deposited all taxes when due).

Household employers reporting social security and Medicare taxes.(p17)

If you’re a sole proprietor and file Forms 941-SS (or Form 944) for business employees, you may include taxes for household employees on your Forms 941-SS (or Form 944). Otherwise, report social security and Medicare taxes for household employees on Schedule H (Form 1040). See Pub. 926 for more information.

Employers of farmworkers.(p17)

Every employer of farmworkers must file a Form 943 for each calendar year beginning with the first year the employer pays $2,500 or more for farmwork or employs a farmworker who meets the $150 test described in section 6.
File a Form 943 each year for all taxable wages paid for farmwork. You may report household workers in a private home on a farm operated for profit on Form 943. Don't report wages for farmworkers on Form 941-SS or 944.
Send Form 943 to the IRS by January 31 of the following year. Send it with payment of any taxes due that you’re not required to deposit. If you deposited all taxes when due, you may file Form 943 by February 10.


For each whole or part month that a return isn't filed when required (disregarding any extensions of the filing deadline), there is a failure-to-file (FTF) penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax due with that return. The maximum penalty is generally 25% of the tax due. Also, for each whole or part month that the tax is paid late (disregarding any extensions of the payment deadline), there is a failure-to-pay (FTP) penalty of 0.5% per month of the amount of tax. For individual filers only, the FTP penalty is reduced from 0.5% per month to 0.25% per month if an installment agreement is in effect. You must have filed your return on or before the due date of the return to qualify for the reduced penalty. The maximum amount of the FTP penalty is also 25% of the tax due. If both penalties apply in any month, the FTF penalty is reduced by the amount of the FTP penalty. The penalties won't be charged if you have a reasonable cause for failing to file or pay. If you receive a penalty notice, you can provide an explanation of why you believe reasonable cause exists.

Reporting Adjustments to Form 941-SS, 944, or 943(p18)


Current Period Adjustments(p18)

Make current period adjustments for fractions of cents, sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance on your Form 941-SS, 944, or 943. See the Instructions for Form 941-SS, Instructions for Form 944, or Instructions for Form 943 for information on how to report these adjustments.

Prior Period Adjustments(p18)


Forms for prior period adjustments.(p18)

Use Form 941-X or Form 944-X to make a correction after you discover an error on a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944. There are also Forms 943-X, 945-X, and CT-1X to report corrections on the corresponding returns. Form 941-X and Form 944-X also replace Form 843 for employers to request a refund or abatement of overreported employment taxes. Continue to use Form 843 when requesting a refund or abatement of assessed interest or penalties.
See Revenue Ruling 2009-39, 2009-52 I.R.B. 951, for examples of how the interest-free adjustment and claim for refund rules apply in 10 different situations. You can find Revenue Ruling 2009-39, at


Treasury Decision 9405 changed the process for making interest-free adjustments to employment taxes reported on Forms 941-SS, 943, 944-SS, and 944, and for filing a claim for refund of employment taxes. Treasury Decision 9405, 2008-32 I.R.B. 293, is available at . You’ll use the adjustment process if you underreported employment taxes and are making a payment, or if you overreported employment taxes and will be applying the credit to the Form 941-SS, 943, or 944 period during which you file Forms 941-X, 943-X, or 944-X, respectively. You’ll use the claim process if you overreported employment taxes and are requesting a refund or abatement of the overreported amount. We use the terms "correct" and "corrections" to include interest-free adjustments under sections 6205 and 6413, and claims for refund and abatement under sections 6402, 6414, and 6404 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Correcting employment taxes.(p18)

When you discover an error on a previously filed Form 941-SS, 943, or 944, you must:
If you’re correcting underreported tax, you must file Form 941-X or Form 944-X by the due date of the return for the return period in which you discovered the error and pay the amount you owe by the time you file. Doing so will generally ensure that your correction is interest free and not subject to FTP or FTD penalties.
Report current period adjustments for fractions of cents, third-party sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance on Form 941-SS, lines 7–9; Form 943, line 10; or Form 944, line 6. Report the correction of underreported and overreported amounts for the same tax period on a single Form 941-X, Form 943-X, or Form 944-X unless you’re requesting a refund. If you’re requesting a refund and are correcting both underreported and overreported amounts, file one Form 941-X, Form 943-X, or Form 944-X correcting the underreported amounts only and a second Form 941-X, Form 943-X, or Form 944-X correcting the overreported amounts.
See the chart on the back of Form 941-X, Form 943-X, or Form 944-X for help in choosing whether to use the adjustment process or the claim process. See the Instructions for Form 941-X, Instructions for Form 943-X, or Instructions for Form 944-X for details on how to make the adjustment or claim for refund or abatement.
You can't adjust amounts reported as Additional Medicare Tax withheld in a prior calendar year unless it is to correct an administrative error or section 3509 applies. An administrative error occurs if the amount you entered on Form 941-SS, 944, or 943 isn't the amount that you actually withheld. Examples include mathematical or transposition errors. If a prior year error was a nonadministrative error, you may correct only the wages and tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding.

Exceptions to interest-free corrections of employment taxes.(p18)

A correction won't be eligible for interest-free treatment if:
A correction won't be eligible for interest-free treatment after the earlier of the following:

Collecting underwithheld taxes from employees.(p18)

If you withhold no social security tax, Medicare tax, or less than the correct amount of either tax from an employee's wages, you can make it up by withholding from later pay to that employee. But you’re the one who owes the underpayment. Reimbursement is a matter for settlement between you and the employee. Underwithheld Additional Medicare Tax must be recovered from the employee on or before the last day of the calendar year. See section 5 for special rules for tax on tips.

Refunding amounts incorrectly withheld from employees.(p19)

If you withheld more than the correct amount of social security tax or Medicare tax from wages paid, and discover the error before filing Form 941-SS, 944, or 943, repay or reimburse the employee the amount overwithheld before filing the return.


An employer reimburses an employee by applying the overwithheld amount against taxes to be withheld on future wages.
Be sure to keep in your records the employee's written receipt showing the date and amount of the repayment or record of reimbursement. You must report and pay any taxes overwithheld when you file the return for the return period in which the overcollection was made if you haven't repaid or reimbursed the employee.
For an overcollection reported on a previously filed Form 941-SS, 944, or 943, an employer is required to repay or reimburse its employees prior to filing an adjusted employment tax return. Any excess Additional Medicare Tax withholding must be repaid or reimbursed to the employee before the end of the calendar year in which it was withheld.
Employers filing claims for refund of overpaid social security and Medicare taxes may either repay or reimburse the employees their share of social security tax and Medicare tax first or get employee consents to file the claim for the excess tax on their behalf. Employers must retain the written receipt of the employee showing the date and amount of the repayment, record of reimbursement, or the written consent of the employee. You can't use a claim for refund to correct Additional Medicare Tax withholding errors.