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  • Writer's pictureSummit Bookkeeping

January 31st | A Major Deadline for Employers

Updated: Jan 5

January 31st is an extremely important date for employers. There are multiple year-end and quarterly forms you need to file and taxes you may need to pay to the federal and state governments. Here’s a brief overview:

Federal Requirements due January 31

Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

Most employers need to file a Form 941 every quarter. This form is used to report the number of employees you have, the amount of taxes withheld from employee paychecks, and your share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. 

Those exempt from filing a Form 941 include:

  • Employers who were notified to file a Form 944

  • Seasonal employers (for quarters that have no tax liability)

  • Employers of household employees

  • Employers of farm employees

Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return

Certain small employers who have an annual liability of $1,000 or less for Social Security, Medicare, and withheld federal income taxes may be notified by the IRS to file a Form 944 instead of Form 941. This form covers most of the items on Form 941 but will be filed annually rather than quarterly. 

Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return

As an employer, you may need to pay federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) to the IRS and report them using Form 940.

You must pay unemployment taxes if:

  • You paid wages of $1,500 or more to an employee in any calendar quarter

  • You had one or more employees work at least part-time in any 20 or more different weeks

W-2, Wage and Tax Statement

A Form W-2 needs to be filed for each employee who had income, Social Security, or Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks. This form reports the amount withheld along with the employee’s annual wages. You must provide employees with the Form W-2 on or before January 31st. 

1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation

If you made payments equal to or more than $600 to a nonemployee, such as an independent contractor, you will need to report it on Form 1099-NEC. You will file one with the IRS and give one to each nonemployee. Before 2021, this was reported in box 7 on a 1099-MISC.

1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income

If miscellaneous income falls outside of nonemployee compensation, you will need to file a Form 1099-MISC. This includes payments over $600 towards rent, medical and health care payments, and payments to an attorney. For a full list, please visit About Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.

Washington State Requirements due January 31

Quarterly Department of Revenue (DOR) Excise Rax Return

As a business in Washington, you must report business income, sales tax, and use tax using an Excise Tax Return. When you register your business with the Department of Revenue, you will receive a packet of information that includes your filing frequency (monthly, quarterly, or annually). If you are required to file quarterly, the deadline for Q4 is January 31.

State Unemployment Insurance (SUI)

Washington state businesses that pay FUTA taxes also must pay state unemployment taxes (SUI) every quarter. You will need to report and pay taxes to the Washington State Employment Security Department. It is preferable to file your unemployment online using the Employer Account Management Services (EAMS) or ePay.

Workers’ Compensation (L&I)

You must report and pay for workers’ compensation insurance to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (LNI) on a quarterly basis through the LNI website

Paid Family and Medical Leave

The Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave collects employees’ gross wages, paid by the employees and employer, for paid leave benefits. If you have fewer than 50 employees, then you are not required to pay the employer portion, but you must still collect and submit the employees’ share on a quarterly basis using a Paid Leave account through SecureAccess Washington (SAW).

WA Cares Fund

The WA Cares Fund premiums need to be collected and reported quarterly. You will need to report wages and hours and pay premiums on a quarterly basis using a Paid Leave account through SecureAccess Washington (SAW).

The List Doesn't End Here

All businesses are unique and require different taxes and filing. This is not an exhaustive list, so please check in with your accountant or bookkeeper to see if there are any additional forms or requirements for you.


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