2021 Business Tax Deadlines – What to File and When

Updated on February 2, 2021
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Update: New Business Tax Deadlines Due to Coronavirus

Due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the deadline to file and to pay federal income taxes has been extended by 90 days to July 15, 2020.[1] According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

During the three-month deferral, tax payments won’t accrue interest or be subject to penalties.

If, as a small business owner, you know that you’ll owe the federal government tax payments, this is a good opportunity not to tie up your capital in tax payments and to instead take the penalty-free extension. Otherwise, the Treasury advises you to file your taxes as soon as possible in order to receive your refund quickly.

Use the information below to understand what tax forms you’ll need to use to file your taxes, as well as an understanding of what happens if you miss the deadline.

A Guide to Business Tax Deadlines

Unless your business is in business accounting or finance, filing small business taxes probably isn’t something that you look forward to. However, keeping on top of what you need to file—and when—will save you from costly IRS penalties and back taxes.

We’ll take a look at the essential business tax deadlines to save in your calendar. With these deadlines in mind, you can keep your financials organized during the year and save yourself from any unpleasant surprises at tax time. Of course, even the best-laid plans can go astray, so we’ll also go over business tax deadline extensions—just in case.

Business Tax Deadlines for 2020

Business tax filing deadlines depend on the type of business entity you have and your company’s expected taxable income. You can find all of the 2020 business tax deadlines from the IRS along with the background and specific forms that need to be filed.

Here are the main business tax deadlines you should know:

Business Tax Return Deadlines

*Update: Keep in mind that the below dates refer to deadlines that were in place before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Please see the March 2020 update at the top of this page for more information. 

One of the most important parts of filing your business taxes is to file your tax return. This is used to verify any quarterly payments you’ve made to date and to authenticate other information about your business.

Here are the business tax return due dates for 2020:

  • Sole proprietorships and LLCs taxed as a disregarded entity: File Schedule C along with personal tax return by April 15, 2020
  • Partnerships: File IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1 (due from each partner) by March 16, 2020
  • Multi-member LLCs: File IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1 (due from each member) by March 16, 2020
  • S-corporations: File IRS Form 1120S and Schedule K-1 (due from each shareholder) by March 16, 2020
  • C-corporations: File IRS Form 1120 and Schedule K-1 (due from each shareholder) by April 15, 2020

Business Tax Extension Deadlines

Tax extensions are handy if you can’t file your taxes by the original filing date or if you’d like more time to work with your accountant to identify deductions and file your return. If the IRS approves your request for an extension, then you can file by a later date without paying penalties. Just remember—an extension to file is not an extension to pay. You typically have to pay any taxes you owe by the initial deadline to avoid penalties.

The quickest way to file for a tax extension is to do it online. Sole proprietors and owners of single-member LLCs taxed as a disregarded entity should file Form 4868 to request an extension (e-filing is the easiest method). Corporations, LLCs, and partnerships should use Form 7004. Schedule a reminder two weeks ahead of your original tax deadline, so if it looks like you will need an extension, you can begin preparing your documents in advance. Once you’re granted the extension to file, you’ll need to save the new deadline in your calendar so you make sure you don’t miss it.

Here are business tax extension deadlines for 2020:

  • Sole proprietorships and LLCs taxed as a disregarded entity: October 15, 2020
  • Partnerships: September 15, 2020
  • S-corporations: September 15, 2020
  • C-corporations: October 15, 2020

Estimated Tax Payment Deadlines

When reviewing this calendar, keep in mind that the IRS follows a pay-as-you-go system for taxes. For S-corporations or C-corporations that expect to owe more than $500 in taxes, as well as individuals who expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes, you’ll need to make quarterly estimated tax payments along with filing a tax return annually.

Paying four times per year rather than once means you have four times as many tax deadlines to meet. If you miss the deadline, you’re required to pay 5% annual interest on the money owed. This amount gets calculated from the day you miss your deadline—meaning that, the longer you leave your quarterly estimated taxes unpaid, the more they’ll end up costing you.

This year’s deadlines for quarterly business tax payments are:

  • April 15, 2020 (covering the period from January 1 to March 31)
  • June 15, 2020 (covering the period from April 1 to May 31)
  • September 15, 2020 (covering the period from June 1 to August 31)
  • January 15, 2021 (covering the period from September 1 to December 31)

Employment Tax Deadlines

Small business owners are also responsible for paying Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA) if they have employees. This tax money goes to fund unemployment compensation payments for employees who lose their jobs. Small business owners also have to deposit income tax withheld from employees’ paychecks and the employee and employer share of Medicare and social security taxes. These taxes are called FICA taxes after the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

Companies must deposit their FUTA taxes and file IRS Form 941 each quarter. They are due on the last day of the month after the end of the quarter. If that day falls on a weekend, then they will be due on the following business day. You must complete and file IRS Form 940 on January 31. However, if you deposited all your FUTA tax when it was due, you can file Form 940 by February 10.

For FICA taxes, businesses follow either a monthly or semiweekly depositing schedule. Generally, businesses that paid $50,000 or less in employment taxes are on a monthly depositor schedule. Businesses with more tax liability are on a semiweekly depositor schedule. Businesses are required to use electronic funds transfer (EFTPS) to make all federal tax deposits.

  • File IRS Form 940: January 31 (you have until February 10 if you deposited all your FUTA taxes on time)
  • Deposit FUTA taxes: April 30, July 31, November 2, and February 1
  • File IRS Form 941: April 30, July 31, November 2, and February 1
  • Monthly deposit schedule for FICA taxes: Each payment due by the 15th of the following month
  • Semiweekly deposit schedule for FICA taxes: Deposit taxes for payments made on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday by the following Wednesday. Deposit taxes for payments made on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday by the following Friday.

Deadlines for Employee and Contractor Tax Forms

If you have employees or contractors working for you, there are certain IRS forms that you’ll need to provide to them to fulfill your obligations as a business owner.

Businesses with employees must furnish W-2 forms, and these forms should be received no later than January 31. You can send the W-2 forms by regular email or make them available in digital form, though employees do have the right to request a paper copy. Provide these forms late, and you can be penalized by the IRS anywhere from $30 to $100 per employee, depending on how late you were.

The deadline for making these forms available to employees and contractors is not the same as the filing deadline. You only have to file your W-2 and 1099 forms by the end of February or March.

If you worked with any independent contractors during the tax year, you will need to provide them with a Form 1099 no later than January 31. The same penalties and deadlines that apply for W-2 forms apply for 1099s.

Here’s a summary of deadlines for employee and contractor forms:

  • Provide W-2s to employees and 1099s to contractors: January 31 (this is also the deadline for businesses to file W-2 forms with the Social Security Administration)
  • Employer files 1099s if filing by regular mail: Last day of February (file with Form 1096)
  • Employer files 1099s if e-filing: March 31 (file with Form 1096)

Understanding Business Tax Deadlines

As you can see, different business tax deadlines apply to different types of business entities. You should follow the deadlines for your type of business. Most businesses also need to be mindful of quarterly tax deadlines.

If a tax deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, the deadline is the following workday. Whenever in doubt, consult your tax professional or the IRS’ official tax calendar.

What If You Miss a Business Tax Deadline?

The best rule of thumb is to always pay your taxes and file your tax returns as soon as possible. If you’re approaching an initial tax return deadline and think that you might miss it, it’s important to request an extension so you don’t incur any penalties or back taxes.

If you didn’t file for an extension or if the business tax extension deadline has passed, it’s important to contact the IRS as soon as possible. They might be able to work out an installment plan with you so you can pay what you owe in smaller, more manageable pieces. While on a payment plan, you can avoid racking up additional interest and penalties.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let business tax filing deadlines sneak up on you. Add reminders for each of these deadlines in your calendar, and you’ll have enough time to take advantage of financial planning and opportunities for growth, well before each deadline is due.

A carefully curated and well-populated financial calendar will help you keep your business on track throughout the fiscal year—and make you don’t miss any important dates or opportunities.

Article Sources:

  1. CNBC.com. “IRS Extends Tax Filing Deadline to July 15 as Coronavirus Spreads, Mnuchin Says

Bryce Warnes
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Bryce Warnes

Bryce Warnes is a writer for Bench, the online bookkeeping service that pairs you with a team of professional bookkeepers who do your bookkeeping, so you don’t have to.

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