8 tips for completing your first-quarter 941

Your first-quarter Form 941 is due Monday, May 2. So you have two more days to ensure your form is correct (yay!). But of course, those two days fall on the weekend (boo!). Here are eight tips to help you get you out of the office free and clear on Friday afternoon.

1. Use consistent EINs

The IRS assigned one Employer Identification Number to your business. Ensure the EIN you enter on the form exactly matches the EIN the IRS assigned to your business. You can’t use your Social Security number on Form 941.

A valid EIN is required if you’re e-filing. If you don’t provide a valid EIN, the return will be rejected and penalties will apply.

2. Check the box for the quarter

Check the proper quarter in the Report for this Quarter box to the right on the top of the form.

This is a lot easier on this quarter’s form, since the other boxes are blocked out with a red circle and slash.

FLSA Compliance D

3. Check the box for the same quarter on Schedule B

Make sure you check the same quarter box on Schedule B, the Report of Tax Liability for Semiweekly Schedule Depositors. Schedule B hasn’t been reissued since 2017, so the red circle and slash won’t appear.

4. Pay attention to entries on Line 5a

If you paid taxable qualified sick and family leave wages this quarter, for leave employees took after March 31, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2021, complete Line 5a.

If you paid taxable qualified sick and family leave wages this quarter for leave employees took after March 31, 2020, and before April 1, 2021, complete Lines 5a(i) and 5a(ii).

5. Use the fractions-of-cents line correctly

When you multiply a dollar figure by a percent, the product often results in decimal figures, This may cause the amount you report as the total of employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes to differ from the amount you actually withheld from individual employees.

This fraction-of-cents adjustment, which may be positive or negative, is reported on Line 7.

6. Keep track of any remaining tax credits for paid leave

Pandemic-related payroll tax credits for paid leave need to be reported separately on the following lines:

  • The nonrefundable portion of the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees who took leave before April 1, 2021, is reported on Line 11b. This is leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act.
  • The refundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees who took leave before April 1, 2021, is reported on Line 13c.
  • The nonrefundable portion of the credit for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees who took leave taken after March 31, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2021, is reported on Line 11d. This is leave under the American Rescue Plan.
  • The refundable portion of credit for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees who took after March 31, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2021, is reported on Line 13e.
  • The qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees, as well as group health benefits attributed to those wages, are reported in Part 3 on Lines 19, 20, 23, 24, 26 and 27.

Complete and balance Schedule B

Schedule B reports your accumulated tax liability, which arises on paydays, not your tax deposits.

Your total tax liability for the quarter as reported on Schedule B must equal the amount you report on Line 12 of your 941.

Mail or email your form on time

If you’re filing on paper, postmark your envelope by May 2 and send it certified, return receipt requested. This ensures you timely filed your return, even if the IRS never receives it. Save the receipt and the green postcard.

If you send your forms via a private delivery service, be sure the service you choose is from an IRS-approved private delivery service.

If you’re e-filing, choose the proper option—filing the form yourself or having a third-party file it for you.

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