Taxes are complicated even as an individual taxpayer. But for businesses, taxes are even more complex, with far more information and documents to be processed. Your business has to pay income tax in some manner, whether it’s directly through corporate income tax, or through your personal tax return via a pass-through business structure such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability company (LLC). On top of this, there are employer taxes to keep up on as well. All these various business taxes have deadlines. In a regular year, some of them align with the April 15, 2020 deadline for filing individual income tax returns. However, other business tax due dates are completely different and fall at varying times of the year. In particular, the first round of business tax deadlines fell on January 31, 2021. Although last year taxes were extended, this year's deadlines have returned to normalcy and are due on April 15, 2021. Read on to find out when business taxes are due and all the critical tax deadlines you need to meet to file on time.
Across the globe, economies are being hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus and its spread. The Federal Reserve has taken emergency measures, twice cutting the fed funds rate in March in response to the economic havoc wrought by the virus. On March 17, 2020, another exceptional step was taken as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced that his department was pushing back the April 15 federal tax deadline, letting individuals and many businesses get an additional 90 days to file their taxes. This includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020, also due on the April 15 deadline. What's more, individuals can defer up to $1 million of tax liability and corporations have been granted an extension on up to $10 million. These tax moves by the U.S. government are part of a general economic stimulus in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Keep this in mind as you review the deadlines listed below. The information here reflects the deadlines as they stood before the tax extension was announced. While some deadlines will apply for the July 15 tax extension, others may not. Always double-check with the IRS directly for more information.
Note that this extension applies to federal tax deadlines. State tax deadlines, however, are determined on a state-by-state level so check with your state's department of revenue or franchise tax board to confirm the deadline for the state you live in or do business in. Some may allow automatic extensions, whereas others may not.
The short answer is: there are a ton of deadlines and it varies based on your business structure. It's not as simple as a single date as it is for personal income taxes. Business taxes more or less break down into two categories:
Business income taxes are similar to individual taxes in that you file a tax return documenting your income, profit and losses. Employer taxes are taxes related to areas such as income you pay out to employees or independent contractors, and items withheld from your employees such as Social Security and FICA taxes. What’s more, your taxes and business tax deadlines vary depending on the structure of your business. For example, C corporations vary in many ways from S corporations , one way being that they have a different business tax deadline. Depending on your business structure, the way you file business income taxes varies. For pass-through business entities, which include sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and S corporations, your company doesn’t pay corporate income taxes. Instead, the owners or shareholders report it on personal tax returns. On the other hand, C corporations pay both corporate income tax and tax on dividends paid out to shareholders. Bear in mind that not all pass-through business entities use the same forms. If you’re self-employed and your business is, therefore, a sole proprietorship, you would file Form 1040 , the standard individual income tax return. If your business is a partnership, then you use Form 1065 , U.S. Return of Partnership Income. For an LLC, it’s slightly more complicated: You must elect to have your LLC taxed in a certain way, either as a partnership, which means using Form 1065 or as a corporation, which requires Form 1120 . S corporations and C corporations also have their own tax returns forms.
Here's a table with key dates and forms for filing business tax returns related to business income, as it stood prior to any announcement of tax extensions:
Tax Item Due
IRS Tax Form
Tax year 2019 fourth-quarter estimated tax payments
January 15, 2020
Partnerships/LLCs to file business tax returns. If your LLC is taxed like a partnership, then file Form 1065. If taxed like a corporation, file Form 1120.
March 16, 2020
S Corps to file business tax returns
March 16, 2020
C Corps to file business tax returns
April 15, 2020
Sole proprietorship and single-member LLC tax returns on Schedule C
April 15, 2020
Tax year 2020 first-quarter estimated tax payments
April 15, 2020
Tax year 2020 second-quarter estimated tax payments. Partnerships to file Form 8813 quarterly payment voucher and pay any tax due.
June 15, 2020
Tax year 2020 third-quarter estimated tax payments. Partnerships to file Form 8813 quarterly payment voucher and pay any tax due.
September 15, 2020
Tax year 2020 fourth-quarter estimated tax payments for corporations. Partnerships to file Form 8813 quarterly payment voucher and pay any tax due.
December 15, 2020
One thing that is central to all business structures is that they are required to make quarterly tax payments in the form of estimated taxes. Estimated tax is an important aspect of paying business taxes. Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This income includes earnings from self-employment, interest, dividends, rents and alimony. Taxpayers who do not choose to have taxes withheld from other taxable income should also make estimated tax payments. The idea behind the estimated tax is to ensure businesses pay most of their estimated tax liability during the course of the fiscal year instead of in a single payment when tax returns are filed.
Besides paying business or corporate income taxes, if you’re a business that employs people, you have employer taxes to file and deadlines to meet. There are also tax-related items that you must send out to individuals and organizations that you paid money to in the last year. On top of that, you also must file forms to the IRS about these payments. Here are some of the key employer taxes you need to be aware of:
All of these employer taxes have their respective IRS tax forms that must be submitted. Here is a breakdown of the principal employment tax forms you may need:
Description and Deadline
This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report the FUTA tax on wages you paid.
This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar quarter ends. Use it to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income taxes on wages if your employees aren't farm workers or household employees.
This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income taxes on wages if your employees are farm workers.
This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Certain small employers use it instead of Form 941 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax.
This form is due the last day of the first calendar month after the calendar year ends. Use it to report income tax withheld on all nonpayroll items. A list of nonpayroll items is available in the Instructions for Form 945.
There are several important dates that are related to taxes that all businesses should mark on their calendars. These tax-related items go beyond just corporate income. Here are some of these key business deadlines for tax season:
This tax deadline is important for both filing tax returns and sending out tax forms to employees:
For this tax deadline, businesses must provide annual information statements to recipients of certain payments your company made during 2019. This applies only to the following types of payments:
The end of February tax deadline is primarily a follow-up to forms your business sent out to employees and other recipients the previous month:
The end of March deadline is the designated date for electronically filing, rather than paper filing, the following tax forms:
The end of April 2020 marks the start of quarterly tax filings for businesses:
With the second quarter of 2020 over, another round of tax filings is due:
This date comes after the end of the third quarter of 2020:
Many individuals and businesses may need to file documents requesting an extension of the tax due date. The key IRS form for filing a business tax extensions is Form 7004 , Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Tax, Information, and Other Returns. Below is a breakdown of the due dates for businesses to file tax extensions by. Note that these dates assume the businesses are calendar year taxpayers.
Partnerships/LLCs to file extensions
March 16, 2020
S Corps to file extensions
March 16, 2020
C Corps to file extensions (Form 1120)
April 15, 2020
Sole proprietorships to file extensions (Form 1040)
April 15, 2020
It’s important to note that you cannot use one Form 7004 to cover several tax return extensions. Instead, you must file a Form 7004 for each tax return you’re requesting to extend.
As you can see, business taxes and tax filing is a complicated matter. And business income taxes also are only just half of it. The bulk of important business tax deadlines relate to employer taxes, such as the withholdings you make from your employees’ paychecks. And, if your business grows into a corporation, this brings in a whole slew of further complexities involving shares, bonds and dividends and much more. This is the principal reason why it is so commonly advised that your business employ or hire a CPA to handle your taxes. Business taxes are not an area you want to mess up when you’re trying to run a successful company . More From Seek
Business Loan Resources
Photo credit: create jobs 51/Shutterstock.com