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The thought of business tax deadlines might cause some small business owners to run and hide. Unless you’re 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 10 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.
Business tax filing deadlines depend on the type of business entity you have and your company’s expected taxable income.
Here are the main business tax deadlines you should know:
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 company.
Here are the business tax return due dates for 2019:
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 isn’t 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. Record a reminder in 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 applicable deadline in your calendar.
Here are business tax extension deadlines for 2019:
When reviewing this calendar, keep in mind that the IRS follows a pay-as-you-go system for taxes. S-corporations or C-corporations that expect to owe more than $500 in taxes, and individuals who expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes 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:
Small business owners are responsible for paying Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA) if they have employees. This tax money goes to fund unemployment compensation payments for people who lose their jobs. Small business owners also have to deposit income tax withheld from employees 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. 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.
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 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:
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 work day. Whenever in doubt, consult your tax professional or the IRS’s official tax calendar.
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.
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.
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