2020 Employer's Tax Guide: All You Need to Know About Employer Payroll Taxes

2020 Employer Tax Guide
2020 Employer Tax Guide

As the owner of a business with an array of employees to manage, it can be hard to keep track of every tax due date and all of the fun that that entails. This Employer Tax Guide lists all of the forms that an employer might need to file in 2020 and provides a straightforward overview of all of the taxes that are due in each quarter over the course of the year. All of the tax due dates are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is also good to keep in mind that if any of the tax deadlines fall on a national holiday or weekend that the due date will be moved to the next applicable business day.   

What Are Employer Payroll Taxes? 

Employer Payroll Taxes are taxes paid by employers and employees based on their working salary amount. Employees generally pay this tax by a standard payroll deduction, while employers pay the remaining balance of this tax directly to the IRS. 

How to Calculate Employer Payroll Taxes?

Calculating payroll taxes doesn’t have to be a messy situation. The IRS provides employers with several forms to help with this process:

These quarterly forms must be filed by April 30th, July 31st, October 31st, and January 31st. You will have 10 additional calendar days to file a return if you fail to do so on time if you file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

First Quarter Tax Payments - January, February, and March

January 15th, 2020

Due date applies to:

  1. Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments made in December 2019.
  2. Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments made in December 2019. 

January 31st, 2020

  1. File Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements or IRS Form W-3PR along with Copy A of all of the Forms W-2 that you issued in 2019.
  2. Your staff will need to be provided with copies of Form W-2 for this year. Other more region-specific forms can include Form W-2VI (U.S. Virgin Islands Wage and Tax Statement), Form W-2GU (Guam Wage and Tax Statement), and Form W-2AS (American Samoa Wage and Tax Statement).
  3. To correct any errors on Forms W-2, W-2AS, W-2GU, or Form W-2VI employers may use Form W-3C, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements.
  4. Complete Form W-3SS, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements to transmit Copy A of the most recent Form W-2C, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement.
  5. Form 945-A, Annual Record of Federal Tax Liability can be used to report a federal tax liability for Forms 944, 944-X, 945, 945-X, as well as Form CT-1 and Form CT-1 X.

  6. Form 1099-MISC needs to be filed if as an employer you paid any non-employee compensation for the previous year.

  7. Use Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings if you received any gambling winnings over the course of the previous year.

  8. The following forms will also need to be completed and submitted for 2019:

○ Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return;

○ Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return;

○ Form 941-SS, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return;

○ Form 943, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees and Form 943-PR (in Puerto Rican Spanish);

○ Form 944, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return and Form 944 (SP) (in Spanish);

○ Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund and Form 944-X (SP) (in Spanish);

○ Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax.

If the tax that you are required to report on these forms is paid in full and on time, employers will have an additional length of time to file their taxes. This will shift the due date to the 10th day of the second month that follows the end of the return period. 

February 10th, 2020
  1. For non-payroll taxes, employers should file Form 945 to report income tax withheld for 2019 on all nonpayroll items.
  2. The following forms are needed if you have deposited the tax for the previous quarters in a timely and proper fashion:

○ File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2019;

○ Certain small business employers should file Form 944 to report withheld income tax, social security, and Medicare taxes for 2019;

○ Farm employers must file Form 943 to report withheld income tax, social security, and Medicare taxes for 2019;

○ Concerning the federal unemployment tax, employers should file Form 940 for 2019. 

February 19th, 2020

All employers must begin withholding income tax from the salary of any employee who has claimed an exemption from withholding in 2019 but didn't give the employer Form W-4 or Form W-4(SP), its Spanish version, to continue the exemption this year.

February 28th, 2020
  1. Payers of any gambling winnings must file Form 1096, along with any Copy A of Form W-2G you issued for 2019. If you have filed W-2G Forms electronically, the due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended until March 31st. The due date for giving the receiver these forms is still January 31st.
  2. If you’re an applicable Large Employer the IRS will need you to file paper Forms 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-C.
  3. File Form 8027 to report tip income and allocated tips if your business is a large food and beverage establishment. Use Form 8027-T to summarize and transmit paper versions of 8027 Forms if you have more than one establishment.
  4. For any other providers of essential minimum coverage, the IRS requires that they should file paper Forms 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and Form 1095-B.

If any of these forms are being filed electronically with the IRS, the due date is pushed back until March 31st.

March 31st, 2020

This is the due date for any applicable forms that are filed electronically. These dates only apply to electronically-filed forms. The forms include:

○ Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings (paper version due February 28th);

○ Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips (paper version due March 2nd);

○ Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns (paper version due February 28th);

○ Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage (paper version due February 28th);

○ Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns (paper version due February 28th);

○ Form 1095-B, Health Coverage (paper version due February 28th).

Second Quarter Tax Payments - April, May, and June

April 15th, 2020

If you are a Household employer file Schedule H (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR) if you paid cash wages of $2,100 or more to a household employee in 2019.

April 30th, 2020

File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2020. If taxes for this quarter were deposited in a timely and proper manner you have until May 11th to file the return.

May 11th, 2020

Final due date to file Form 941 for the first quarter of 2020. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

Third Quarter Tax Payments - July, August, and September

July 31st, 2020

File Form 941 for the second quarter of 2020. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, it is possible to pay your taxes due in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax you owe for the quarter in a timely and proper manner, employers have until August 10th to file the return.

For any employers that maintain an employee benefit plan, such as profit-sharing, stock bonus plan or a pension file Form 5500 or Form 5500-EZ for 2019 by this date. If you are an employer which uses a fiscal year as your tax calendar, file the form by the last day of the 7th month after the plan year has ended.

August 10th, 2020

Final due date to file Form 941 for the second quarter of 2020 if taxes for that quarter were deposited in a timely and proper manner.

Fourth Quarter Tax Payments - October, November, and December

As November rolls around, employers should encourage any applicable employees to fill out a new Form W-4 or Form W-4(SP) for 2020 if they experienced any personal or financial changes (for example, changes to filing status, number of jobs, other income, deductions, or credits).

November 2nd, 2020

File Form 941 for the third quarter of 2020. If taxes for this quarter were deposited in a timely and proper manner you have until November 10th to file the return.

November 10th, 2020

Final due date to file Form 941 for the third quarter of 2020 if taxes for that quarter were deposited in a timely and proper manner.


2020 Tax Deadlines for Individuals

Personal tax due dates can change year to year so as an American taxpayer it’s important to follow the IRS-given deadlines to avoid any penalties or late filing fees. Check out our individual tax guide to get all of the key information on critical tax due dates for 2020 and find out everything you need to know. 

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