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Publication 583

Business Taxes(p6)

The form of business you operate determines what taxes you must pay and how you pay them. The following are the four general kinds of business taxes.
See Table 2 for the forms you file to report these taxes.
You may want to get Publication 509. It has tax calendars that tell you when to file returns and make tax payments.

Income Tax(p6)

All businesses except partnerships must file an annual income tax return. Partnerships file an information return. Which form you use depends on how your business is organized. See Table 2 to find out which return you have to file.
The federal income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax. You must pay the tax as you earn or receive income during the year. An employee usually has income tax withheld from his or her pay. If you do not pay your tax through withholding, or do not pay enough tax that way, you might have to pay estimated tax. If you are not required to make estimated tax payments, you may pay any tax due when you file your return.

Table 2. Which Forms Must I File?

IF you are a... THEN you may have to pay... FILE form...
Sole proprietor Income tax 1040 and Schedule C 1 or C-EZ (Schedule F 1 for farm business)
  Self-employment tax 1040 and Schedule SE
  Estimated tax 1040-ES
  Employment taxes:  
   • Social security and Medicare
taxes and income tax
 941 or 944 (943 for farm employees)
   • Federal unemployment (FUTA)
  Excise taxes See Excise Taxes
Partnership Annual return of income 1065
  Employment taxes Same as sole proprietor
  Excise taxes See Excise Taxes
Partner in a partnership (individual) Income tax 1040 and Schedule E 2
  Self-employment tax 1040 and Schedule SE
  Estimated tax 1040-ES
C corporation or S corporation Income tax 1120 (C corporation) 2
1120S (S corporation) 2
  Estimated tax 1120-W (corporation only)
  Employment taxes Same as sole proprietor
  Excise taxes See Excise Taxes
S corporation shareholder Income tax 1040 and Schedule E 2
  Estimated tax 1040-ES
1 File a separate schedule for each business.
2 Various other schedules may be needed.


If your business is an LLC, how you elected to have the LLC treated for tax purposes (either as a corporation, partnership, or as part of the LLC owner's tax return) will determine what taxes you must pay and what forms you should use to pay your taxes.

Estimated tax.(p7)

Generally, you must pay taxes on income, including self-employment tax (discussed next), by making regular payments of estimated tax during the year.
Sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation shareholders.(p7)
You generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return. Use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, to figure and pay your estimated tax. For more information, see Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.
You generally have to make estimated tax payments for your corporation if you expect it to owe tax of $500 or more when you file its return. Use Form 1120-W, Estimated Tax for Corporations, to figure the estimated tax. You must deposit the payments as explained later under Depositing Taxes. For more information, see Publication 542.

Self-Employment Tax(p7)

Self-employment tax (SE tax) is a social security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. Your payments of SE tax contribute to your coverage under the social security system. Social security coverage provides you with retirement benefits, disability benefits, survivor benefits, and hospital insurance (Medicare) benefits.
You must pay SE tax and file Schedule SE (Form 1040) if either of the following applies.
  1. Your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more.
  2. You had church employee income of $108.28 or more.
Use Schedule SE (Form 1040) to figure your SE tax. For more information, see Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business.
You can deduct a portion of your SE tax as an adjustment to income on your Form 1040.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) time limit for posting self-employment income.(p7)

Generally, the SSA will give you credit only for self-employment income reported on a tax return filed within 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the tax year you earned the income. If you file your tax return or report a change in your self-employment income after this time limit, the SSA may change its records, but only to remove or reduce the amount. The SSA will not change its records to increase your self-employment income.

Employment Taxes(p7)

This section briefly discusses the employment taxes you must pay, the forms you must file to report them, and other forms that must be filed when you have employees.
Employment taxes include the following.
If you have employees, you will need to get Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide. If you have agricultural employees, get Publication 51 (Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide. These publications explain your tax responsibilities as an employer.
If you are not sure whether the people working for you are your employees, see Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide. That publication has information to help you determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. If you wrongly classify an employee as an independent contractor, you can be held liable for employment taxes for that worker plus a penalty. An independent contractor is someone who is self-employed. Generally, you do not have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to an independent contractor.

Federal Income, Social Security, and Medicare Taxes(p7)

You generally must withhold federal income tax from your employee's wages. To figure how much federal income tax to withhold from each wage payment, use the employee's Form W-4 (discussed later under Hiring Employees) and the methods described in Publication 15.
Social security and Medicare taxes pay for benefits that workers and their families receive under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Social security tax pays for benefits under the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance part of FICA. Medicare tax pays for benefits under the hospital insurance part of FICA. You withhold part of these taxes from your employee's wages and you pay a part yourself. To find out how much social security and Medicare tax to withhold and to pay, see Publication 15.

Which form do I file?(p7)

Report these taxes on Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, or Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return. (Farm employers use Form 943, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees.)

Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax(p7)

The federal unemployment tax is part of the federal and state program under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) that pays unemployment compensation to workers who lose their jobs. You report and pay FUTA tax separately from social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax. You pay FUTA tax only from your own funds. Employees do not pay this tax or have it withheld from their pay.

Which form do I file?(p7)

Report federal unemployment tax on Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. See Publication 15 to find out if you can use this form.

Hiring Employees(p8)

Have the employees you hire fill out Form I-9 and Form W-4.

Form I-9.(p8)

You must verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. Both you and the employee must complete the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You can get the form from USCIS offices or from the USCIS website at Call the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 for more information about your responsibilities.

Form W-4.(p8)

Each employee must fill out Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. You will use the filing status and withholding allowances shown on this form to figure the amount of income tax to withhold from your employee's wages. For more information, see Publication 15.
Employees claiming more than 10 withholding allowances.(p8)
An employer of an employee who claims more than 10 withholding allowances for wages paid can use several methods of withholding. See section 16 of Publication 15.

Form W-2 Wage Reporting(p8)

After the calendar year is over, you must furnish copies of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to each employee to whom you paid wages during the year. You must also send copies to the Social Security Administration. See Information Returns, later, for more information on Form W-2.

Excise Taxes(p8)

This section describes the excise taxes you may have to pay and the forms you have to file if you do any of the following. For more information on excise taxes, see Publication 510, Excise Taxes.

Form 720.(p8)

The federal excise taxes reported on Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, consist of several broad categories of taxes, including the following.

Form 2290.(p8)

There is a federal excise tax on certain trucks, truck tractors, and buses used on public highways. The tax applies to vehicles having a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. Report the tax on Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 2290.

Form 730.(p8)

If you are in the business of accepting wagers or conducting a wagering pool or lottery, you may be liable for the federal excise tax on wagering. Use Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers, to figure the tax on the wagers you receive.

Form 11-C.(p8)

Use Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering, to register for any wagering activity and to pay the federal occupational tax on wagering.

Depositing Taxes(p8)

You generally have to deposit employment taxes, certain excise taxes, corporate income tax, and S corporation taxes before you file your return.
Generally, taxpayers are required to deposit taxes through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
Any business that has a federal tax obligation and requests a new EIN will automatically be enrolled in EFTPS. Through the mail, the business will receive an EFTPS PIN package that contains instructions for activating its EFTPS enrollment.