Federal and state compliance requires the filing of several different reports by certain deadlines. In this lesson I explain the various reports, filing deadlines and best practices to comply with the law. I’ll explain the quarterly set of reports first then the respective annual requirements.
Form 941 is a quarterly report filed with the Internal Revenue Service reporting taxes withheld from employees and the corresponding matching tax required to be paid by the employer. Form 941 identifies total amount required and amounts paid.
Similar to the bookkeeping cycles, payroll cycles have many frequent activities, fewer incremental requirements and one important end of the year report. This lesson explains these respective cycles and how they tie together for the final year-end report. Other lessons in this section of the website go into some details about various functions of payroll and are linked when appropriate.
The bookkeeping cycle is like a huge giant clock with several dozen gears from a multiple cog gear rotating the most frequently turning cog cascading into the one large gear that once turned changes the timer one year forward. The bookkeeper’s job is to make all the gears click and keep the system lubricated. At the end of the year, hopefully the final gear moves one click on time and the process starts all over.
Payroll is envisioned as the simple employer employee agreement related to compensation for services. I often think of this as the simple handshake whereby the employer agrees to pay the employee a set rate per hour of work. This was true a hundred or more years ago, but over time; history and governmental regulations complicated this simple relationship.
Form 941 is the employer’s quarterly federal tax return. It reports how much federal income taxes were withheld; Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes that are due and how much was paid in deposits to the Internal Revenue Service. The report is filed every three months for each of the four calendar quarters.