TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Small Business Taxes / How to Pay Employer Federal Taxes

How to Pay Employer Federal Taxes

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

As an employer, there are a number of federal taxes you need to pay that relate to your employees.


As an employer, you not only have to report the taxable income of your business, but there are a number of other federal taxes you need to pay that relate to your employees. This includes federal income tax withholding, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. Each type of tax has specific payment deadlines and forms you need to send to the IRS.

Step 1: Complete an IRS Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Income Tax Return

The main purpose of the form is to report the wages you pay, the tips your employees earn and to calculate the amount of federal income tax, Social Security tax and Medicare taxes you should have withheld and owe to the IRS. You can also account for other types of payments, such as any COBRA health insurance continuation assistance you provide.

You must file a separate form each quarter, no matter how many locations you have. The returns are due by the last day of the month following the end of each quarter, which falls on April 30, July 31, October 31 and January 31 each year.

Step 2: Calculate your Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) on Form 940

If you are an employer and pay wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter of the previous year, or if you had one or more employees who worked at least 20 or more different weeks, then you have a responsibility to pay FUTA. If so, report the amount of tax you owe for the year on Form 940 by Jan. 31.

However, you must determine the amount of tax you owe each quarter and make a payment when the cumulative amount for the year reaches $500. If after one quarter you owe less than $500, carry it forward and evaluate the amount again after the next quarter.

Step 3: Sign up for the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

The federal government requires all employers to deposit taxes using this system and doesn’t allow you to mail in checks. If you haven’t been automatically enrolled by the IRS, you can create an account in EFTPS by visiting eftps.gov and clicking on "Enrollment." On the next page you should click the box marked "Business."

Have your employer identification number available and the business bank account and routing numbers you want to make your payments from. Be sure to enroll at least two weeks prior to the payment deadline, as it takes that long to receive your PIN.

Step 4: Make your tax payments

You can pay the employee income, Medicare, Social Security and unemployment taxes you calculate on Forms 940 and 941 at eftps.gov. At the bottom of the page, click on “Make a Payment” and enter your EIN, PIN and Internet password. Your bank will debit the amount you request from your account and send payment to the IRS.

When you finish making the payment, you will receive a tracking number that you should retain for your records. Be sure to make your EFTPS payment by 8 p.m. EST the day before payment is due to ensure you receive credit for a timely deposit.

Perfect for independent contractors
and businesses

Find more tax deductions so you can keep more of the money you earn with TurboTax Self-Employed.

For only $114.99$89.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed ExpenseFinder: ExpenseFinder™ is available year round as a feature of QuickBooks Self-Employed (available with TurboTax Self-Employed, see the “QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed” details below.) ExpenseFinder™ expected late January (late February for mobile app). ExpenseFinder™ not available from within TurboTax Self-Employed for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Availability of historical transactions for import may vary by financial institution. Not available for all financial institutions or all credit cards.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/18/17 and receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18. Activation required. Log in to QuickBooks Self-Employed by 7/15/17 via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and log-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.