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previous page Previous Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - 12. Filing Form 941 or Form 944
next page Next Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - 14. Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink100011776

13. Reporting Corrections to Form 941 and Form 944(p28)


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Reporting Corrections to Form 941 and Form 944

EIC
There is a new process for correcting errors on a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944, beginning with errors discovered in 2009. Corrections to a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944 will be made on new Form 941-X or new Form 944-X. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 941-X (or the Instructions for Form 944-X). Current period adjustments will continue to be reported on Form 941 or Form 944. See the Instructions for Form 941 (or the Instructions for Form 944). There are also new Forms 943-X, 945-X, and CT-1-X to report corrections on the corresponding returns. All of the X forms will be used by employers or payers to make corrections or claim refunds or abatements of employment taxes.
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Current Period Adjustments(p28)


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previous topic occurrence Current Period Adjustments next topic occurrence

In certain cases, amounts reported as social security and Medicare taxes in column 2 of lines 5a, 5b, and 5c of Form 941 (column 2 of lines 4a, 4b, and 4c for Form 944) must be adjusted to arrive at your correct tax liability (for example, excluding amounts withheld by a third-party payor or amounts you were not required to withhold). Current period adjustments are reported on lines 7a, 7b, and 7c of Form 941 (line 6a of the 2008 Form 944, line 6 of the 2009 Form 944) and include the following:
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink100011778

Adjustment of tax on tips.(p28)


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If, by the 10th of the month after the month you received an employee's report on tips, you do not have enough employee funds available to withhold the employee's share of social security and Medicare taxes, you no longer have to collect it. However, report the entire amount of these tips on lines 5b (social security tips) and 5c (Medicare wages and tips) (lines 4b and 4c of Form 944). Include as a negative adjustment on line 7c (line 6a of the 2008 Form 944, line 6 of the 2009 Form 944) the total uncollected employee share of the social security and Medicare taxes.
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Adjustment of tax on group-term life insurance premiums paid for former employees.(p28)


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The employee share of social security and Medicare taxes on group-term life insurance over $50,000 for a former employee is paid by the former employee with his or her tax return and is not collected by the employer. However, include all social security and Medicare taxes for such coverage on lines 5a and 5c (social security and Medicare taxes) (lines 4a and 4c of Form 944), and back out the amount of the employee share of these taxes as a negative adjustment on line 7c (line 6a of the 2008 Form 944, line 6 of the 2009 Form 944). See Publication 15-B for more information on group-term life insurance.
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink100011780

Adjustment of tax on third-party sick pay.(p28)


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Report both the employer and employee shares of social security and Medicare taxes for sick pay on lines 5a and 5c of Form 941 (lines 4a and 4c of Form 944). Show as a negative adjustment on line 7b (line 6a of the 2008 Form 944, line 6 of the 2009 Form 944) the social security and Medicare taxes withheld on sick pay by a third-party payor. See section 6 of Publication 15-A for more information.
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink100011781

Fractions-of-cents adjustment.(p28)


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If there is a small difference between total taxes after adjustment for advance EIC (line 10) (line 9 of Form 944) and total deposits (line 11) (line 10 of Form 944), it may have been caused, all or in part, by rounding to the nearest cent each time you computed payroll. This rounding occurs when you figure the amount of social security and Medicare tax to be withheld and deposited from each employee's wages. The IRS refers to rounding differences relating to employee withholding of social security and Medicare taxes as "fractions-of-cents" adjustments. If you pay your taxes with Form 941 (or Form 944) instead of making deposits because your total taxes for the quarter (year for Form 944) are less than $2,500, you also may report a fractions-of-cents adjustment.
To determine if you have a fractions-of-cents adjustment, multiply the total wages and tips for the quarter subject to: Compare these amounts (the employee share of social security and Medicare taxes) with the total social security and Medicare taxes actually withheld from employees for the quarter (from your payroll records). The difference, positive or negative, is your fractions-of-cents adjustment to be reported on line 7a (line 6a of the 2008 Form 944, line 6 of the 2009 Form 944). If the actual amount withheld is less, report a negative adjustment using a minus sign (if possible) in the entry space. If the actual amount is more, report a positive adjustment.
Deposit
For the above adjustments, prepare and retain a brief supporting statement explaining the nature and amount of each. Do not attach the statement to Form 941 or Form 944.
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink100011783

Example.(p28)

Cedar, Inc. was entitled to the following current period adjustments.
Cedar, Inc. reported these adjustments on line 7 of  
Form 941 as shown in the Current Period Adjustment Example above.
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taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#TXMP618badd9
Current Period Adjustment Example Text DescriptionCurrent Period Adjustment Example  
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No change to record of federal tax liability.(p29)


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Do not make any changes to your record of federal tax liability reported on line 15 of 2008 Form 941 (line 17 of 2009 Form 941) or Schedule B (Form 941) (line 13 of 2008 Form 941 (line 15 of 2009 Form 941) or Form 945-A for Form 944 filers) for current period adjustments. The amounts reported on the record reflect the actual amounts you withheld from employees' wages for social security and Medicare taxes. Because the current period adjustments make the amounts reported on lines 5a, column 2, 5b, column 2, and 5c, column 2 of Form 941 (lines 4a, 4b, and 4c of column 2 for Form 944) equal the actual amounts you withheld (the amounts reported on the record), no additional changes to the record of federal tax liability are necessary for these adjustments.
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Prior Period Adjustments(p29)


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Prior Period Adjustments

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New forms.(p29)


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The Internal Revenue Service has developed Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, and Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, to replace Form 941c, Supporting Statement to Correct Information. There are also new Forms 943-X, 945-X, and CT-1-X to report corrections on the corresponding returns.
Form 941-X and Form 944-X also replace Form 843, Claim for Refund or Request for Abatement, for employers to request a refund or abatement of overreported employment taxes. Continue to use Form 843 when requesting a refund or abatement of assessed interest or penalties.
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink1000120994

Background.(p29)


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Treasury Decision 9405 changed the process for making interest-free adjustments to employment taxes reported on Form 941 and Form 944 and for filing a claim for refund of employment taxes. Treasury Decision 9405, 2008-32 I.R.B. 293, is available at  
www.irs.gov/irb/2008-32_irb/ar13.html. You will use the revised adjustment process if you underreported employment taxes and are making a payment, or if you overreported employment taxes and will be applying the credit to the Form 941 or Form 944 period during which you file Form 941-X or Form 944-X. You will use the revised claim process if you overreported employment taxes and are requesting a refund or abatement of the overreported amount. We use the terms "correct" and "corrections" to include interest-free adjustments under sections 6205 and 6413, and claims for refund and abatement under sections 6402, 6414, and 6404 of the Internal Revenue Code.
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New process for correcting employment taxes.(p29)


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After December 31, 2008, when you discover an error on a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944, you must:
  • correct that error using Form 941-X or Form 944-X,
  • file a separate Form 941-X or Form 944-X for each Form 941 or Form 944 you are correcting, and
  • file Form 941-X or Form 944-X separately. Do not file with Form 941 or Form 944.
Beginning with the first quarter of 2009, Form 941 will no longer provide adjustment lines (formerly lines 7d through 7g) for correcting prior quarter errors. Beginning with calendar year 2009, Form 944 will no longer provide adjustment lines (formerly lines 6b through 6e) for correcting prior year errors. However, continue to report current quarter adjustments for fractions of cents, third-party sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance on Form 941 using lines 7a through 7c, and on Form 944 using line 6.
Report the correction of underreported and overreported amounts for the same tax period on a single Form 941-X or Form 944-X unless you are requesting a refund. If you are requesting a refund and are correcting both underreported and overreported amounts, file one Form 941-X or Form 944-X correcting the underreported amounts only and a second Form 941-X or Form 944-X correcting the overreported amounts.
See the chart on the back of Form 941-X or Form 944-X for help in choosing whether to use the adjustment process or the claim process. See the Instructions for Form 941-X for details on how to make the adjustment or claim for refund or abatement.
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Income tax withholding adjustments.(p30)


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Correct prior quarter income tax withholding errors by making the correction on Form 941-X when you discover the error.
You may make an adjustment only to correct income tax withholding errors discovered during the same calendar year in which you paid the wages. This is because the employee uses the amount shown on Form W-2 as a credit when filing his or her income tax return (Form 1040, etc.).
You cannot adjust amounts reported as income tax withheld in a prior calendar year unless it is to correct an administrative error. An administrative error occurs if the amount you entered on Form 941 or Form 944 is not the amount you actually withheld. For example, if the total income tax actually withheld was incorrectly reported on Form 941 or Form 944 due to a mathematical or transposition error, this would be an administrative error. The administrative error adjustment corrects the amount reported on Form 941 or Form 944 to agree with the amount actually withheld from employees.
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Collecting underwithheld taxes from employees.(p30)


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If you withheld no income, social security, or Medicare taxes or less than the correct amount from an employee's wages, you can make it up from later pay to that employee. But you are the one who owes the underpayment. Reimbursement is a matter for settlement between you and the employee. Underwithheld income tax must be recovered from the employee on or before the last day of the calendar year. There are special rules for tax on tips (see section 6) and fringe benefits (see section 5).
taxmap/pubs/p15-015.htm#en_us_publink1000121104

Refunding amounts incorrectly withheld from employees.(p30)


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If you withheld more than the correct amount of income, social security, or Medicare taxes from wages paid, repay or reimburse the employee the excess. Any excess income tax withholding must be repaid or reimbursed to the employee before the end of the calendar year in which it was withheld. Keep in your records the employee's written receipt showing the date and amount of the repayment or record of reimbursement. If you did not repay or reimburse the employee, you must report and pay each excess amount when you file Form 941 for the quarter (or Form 944 for the year) in which you withheld too much tax.
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Correcting filed Forms W-2 and W-3.(p30)


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When adjustments are made to correct wages and social security and Medicare taxes because of a change in the wage totals reported for a previous year, you also need to file Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3c, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements, with the SSA. Up to five Forms W-2c per Form W-3c may now be filed per session over the Internet, with no limit on the number of sessions. For more information, visit the Social Security Administration's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information webpage at  
www.socialsecurity.gov/employer.
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Exceptions to interest-free corrections of employment taxes.(p30)


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A correction will not be eligible for interest-free treatment if
  • the failure to report relates to an issue that was raised in an IRS examination of a prior return or
  • the employer knowingly underreported its employment tax liability.
A correction will not be eligible for interest-free treatment after the earlier of the following:
  • Receipt of an IRS notice and demand for payment after assessment or
  • Receipt of an IRS Notice of Determination of Worker Classification (Letter 3523).
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Wage Repayments(p30)


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Repayments, Wage

If an employee repays you for wages received in error, do not offset the repayments against current-year wages unless the repayments are for amounts received in error in the current year.
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Repayment of current year wages.(p30)


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If you receive repayments for wages paid during a prior quarter in the current year, report adjustments on Form 941-X to recover income tax withholding and social security and Medicare taxes for the repaid wages (as discussed earlier).
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Repayment of prior year wages.(p30)


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If you receive repayments for wages paid during a prior year, report an adjustment on Form 941-X or Form 944-X to recover the social security and Medicare taxes. You may not make an adjustment for income tax withholding because the wages were wages and income to the employee for the prior year.
You also must file Forms W-2c and W-3c with the SSA to correct social security and Medicare wages and taxes. Do not correct wages (box 1) on Form W-2c for the amount paid in error. Give a copy of Form W-2c to the employee.
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Employee reporting of repayment.(p30)
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The wages paid in error in the prior year remain taxable to the employee for that year. This is because the employee received and had use of those funds during that year. The employee is not entitled to file an amended return (Form 1040X) to recover the income tax on these wages. Instead, the employee is entitled to a deduction (or credit in some cases) for the repaid wages on his or her income tax return for the year of repayment.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - 12. Filing Form 941 or Form 944
next pageNext Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - 14. Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication