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.
Coronavirus Tax Extension: Federal Deadlines Extended 90 Days
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.
State Tax Deadlines May Vary — Check With Your State
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.
When Are Business Taxes Due in 2020?
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
- employer taxes
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.
Business Income Tax Deadlines in 2020
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||Due Date|
|Tax year 2019 fourth-quarter estimated tax payments||Form 1040-ES||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.||Form 1065||March 16, 2020|
|S Corps to file business tax returns||Form 1120S||March 16, 2020|
|C Corps to file business tax returns||Form 1120||April 15, 2020|
|Sole proprietorship and single-member LLC tax returns on Schedule C||Form 1040||April 15, 2020|
|Tax year 2020 first-quarter estimated tax payments||Form 1040-ES||April 15, 2020|
|Tax year 2020 second-quarter estimated tax payments. Partnerships to file Form 8813 quarterly payment voucher and pay any tax due.||Form 1040-ES||June 15, 2020|
|Tax year 2020 third-quarter estimated tax payments. Partnerships to file Form 8813 quarterly payment voucher and pay any tax due.||Form 1040-ES||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.||Form 1040-ES||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.
Employer Taxes to File in 2020
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:
- Income tax you withhold from your employees’ wages or from nonpayroll amounts you pay out
- Social Security and Medicare taxes, referred to as FICA taxes, you withhold from your employees’ wages and the Social Security and Medicare taxes you must pay as an employer
- Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax you must pay as an employer
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:
|Tax Form||Description and Deadline|
|Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return||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.|
|Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return||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.|
|Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural 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.|
|Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return||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.|
|Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal 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.|
Important Employer Tax Dates and Deadlines
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:
January 31, 2020
This tax deadline is important for both filing tax returns and sending out tax forms to employees:
- File Forms 940, 941, 943, 944 and/or 945 if you did not deposit all taxes when due.
- Send Forms 1098, Mortgage Interest Settlement; Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; and Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, to recipients for certain payments made during 2019. For employers, this means sending Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to employees who worked for you in 2019 and filing Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with Copy A of Forms W-2 you issued for 2019.
- Applicable Large Employers (ALE) provide Forms 1095-C to full-time employees. For all other providers of Minimum Essential Coverage, provide Forms 1095-B to responsible individuals.
February 18, 2020
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:
- All payments reported on Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
- All payments reported on Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions
- Substitute payments reported in box 8 or gross proceeds paid to an attorney reported in box 14 of Form 1099-MISC
February 28, 2020
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:
- File paper Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with IRS if you are an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). For all other providers file paper Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS.
- File Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, with information returns, including Forms 1098, 1099 and W-2G for payments made during 2019.
March 31, 2020
The end of March deadline is the designated date for electronically filing, rather than paper filing, the following tax forms:
- Form W-2G
- Form 1097
- Form 1098
- Form 1094-C
- Form 1094-B
- Form 1095-B
- Form 1099
- Form 3921
- Form 3922
- Form 8027
April 30, 2020
The end of April 2020 marks the start of quarterly tax filings for businesses:
- Employers must file Form 941 for the first quarter.
- Employers must deposit FUTA tax owed through March if more than $500.
July 31, 2020
With the second quarter of 2020 over, another round of tax filings is due:
- Employers must file Form 941 for the second quarter.
- Employers must deposit FUTA owed through June if more than $500.
November 2, 2020
This date comes after the end of the third quarter of 2020:
- Employers must file Form 941 for the third quarter.
- Employers must deposit FUTA owed through September if more than $500.
Business Tax Extension Deadlines
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.
|Business Type||Due Date|
|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.
The Bottom Line
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.
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