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previous page Previous Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide
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Electronic Filing and Payment(p3)


Electronic Filing and Payment

Now, more than ever before, businesses can enjoy the benefits of filing and paying their federal taxes electronically. Whether you rely on a tax professional or handle your own taxes, the IRS offers you convenient programs to make filing and payment easier.
Spend less time and worry on taxes and more time running your business. Use e-file and the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to your benefit.

Electronic funds withdrawal (EFW).(p3)


If you file Form 940, Form 941, or Form 944 electronically, you can e-file and e-pay (electronic funds withdrawal) the balance due in a single step using tax preparation software or through a tax professional. However, do not use EFW to make federal tax deposits. For more information on paying your taxes using EFW, visit the IRS website at and click on the electronic IRS link. A fee may be charged to file electronically.

Credit Card Payments(p3)


Credit Card Payments

You can use your American Express® Card, Discover® Card, MasterCard® card, or Visa® card to pay the balance due shown on Form 940, Form 941, Form 943, Form 944, and Form 945. To pay by credit card, call toll-free or visit the website of either service provider listed below and follow the instructions. A convenience fee will be charged by the service provider based on the amount you are paying. Fees vary between the providers. You will be told what the fee is during the transaction and you will have the option to either continue or cancel the transaction. You can also find out what the fee will be by calling the provider's toll-free automated customer service number or by visiting the provider's website shown below. You may not use a credit card to pay taxes that are required to be deposited.

Forms in Spanish(p4)


You can provide Formulario W-4(SP), Certificado de Exención de Retenciones del Empleado, in place of Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to your Spanish-speaking employees. For more information, see Publicación 17(SP), El Impuesto Federal sobre los Ingresos (Para Personas Físicas). You can also provide Formulario W-5(SP), Certificado del Pago por Adelantado del Crédito por Ingreso del Trabajo, in place of Form W-5, Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificate. For nonemployees, Formulario W-9(SP), Solicitud y Certificación del Número de Identificación del Contribuyente, may be used in place of Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

Hiring New Employees(p4)


previous topic occurrence Hiring New Employees next topic occurrence


Eligibility for employment.(p4)


You must verify that each new employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. This will include completing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You can get the form from USCIS offices or by calling 1-800-870-3676. Contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283, or visit the USCIS website at for further information.

New hire reporting.(p4)


You are required to report any new employee to a designated state new hire registry. Many states accept a copy of Form W-4 with employer information added. Visit the Office of Child Support Enforcement website at for more information.

Income tax withholding.(p4)


Ask each new employee to complete the 2009 Form W-4. See section 9.

Name and social security number.(p4)


Record each new employee's name and number from his or her social security card. Any employee without a social security card should apply for one. See section 4.

Paying Wages, Pensions, or Annuities(p4)



Correcting Form 941 or Form 944.(p4)


If you discover an error on a previously filed Form 941 or Form 944 after December 31, 2008, make the correction using new Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, or Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund. For errors discovered before January 1, 2009, taxpayers make corrections to Forms 941 and 944 using Form 941c that is filed with Form 941 or Form 944, or with Form 843 to claim a refund or abatement. Forms 941-X and 944-X are stand-alone forms, meaning taxpayers can file them when an error is discovered, rather than wait until the end of the quarter or year to file Form 941c with Form 941 or 944. Forms 941-X and 944-X are now used by employers to claim refunds or abatements of employment taxes, rather than Form 843. See section 13 for more information.

Income tax withholding.(p5)


Withhold federal income tax from each wage payment or supplemental unemployment compensation plan benefit payment according to the employee's Form W-4 and the correct withholding rate. If you have nonresident alien employees, see Withholding income taxes on the wages of nonresident alien employees in section 9.
Withhold from periodic pension and annuity payments as if the recipient is married claiming three withholding allowances, unless he or she has provided Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, either electing no withholding or giving a different number of allowances, marital status, or an additional amount to be withheld. Do not withhold on direct rollovers from qualified plans or governmental section 457(b) plans. See section 9 and Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide. Publication 15-A includes information about withholding on pensions and annuities.

Zero wage return.(p5)


If you have not filed a "final" Form 941 or Form 944, or are not a "seasonal" employer (see  
lines 16 and 17 of 2008 Form 941 (lines 18 and 19 of 2009 Form 941)), you must continue to file a Form 941 or Form 944 even for periods during which you paid no wages. IRS encourages you to file your "Zero Wage" Forms 941 or 944 electronically using IRS e-file at
Employer Responsibilities Text DescriptionEmployer Responsibilities  

Information Returns(p5)


previous topic occurrence Information Returns next topic occurrence

You may be required to file information returns to report certain types of payments made during the year. For example, you must file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report payments of $600 or more to persons not treated as employees (for example, independent contractors) for services performed for your trade or business. For details about filing Forms 1099 and for information about required electronic filing, see the 2009 General Instructions for Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and W-2G for general information and the separate, specific instructions for each information return that you file (for example, 2008 Instructions for Forms 1099-MISC). Do not use Forms 1099 to report wages and other compensation that you paid to employees; report these on Form W-2. See the Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 for details about filing Form W-2 and for information about required electronic filing. If you file 250 or more Forms 1099, you must file them electronically. If you file 250 or more Forms W-2, you must file them electronically. SSA will not accept Forms W-2 and W-3 filed on magnetic media.
After December 1, 2008, you cannot file 
Forms 1099 using magnetic media.

Information reporting customer service site.(p5)


The IRS operates the Enterprise Computing Center-Martinsburg, a centralized customer service site, to answer questions about reporting on Forms W-2, W-3, 1099, and other information returns. If you have questions related to reporting on information returns, call 1-866-455-7438 (toll free) or 304-263-8700 (toll call). The center can also be reached by email at Call 304-267-3367 if you are a TDD/TYY user.

Annual Employment Tax Filing for Small Employers(p5)


Annual Employment Tax Filing for Small Employers

Certain small employers may have to file Form 944 rather than Form 941 to report their employment taxes. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 944.

Nonpayroll Income Tax Withholding(p5)


Nonpayroll Income Tax Withholding

Nonpayroll federal income tax withholding must be reported on Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax. Form 945 is an annual tax return and the return for 2008 is due February 2, 2009. Separate deposits are required for payroll (Form 941 or Form 944) and nonpayroll (Form 945) withholding. Nonpayroll items include:
  • Pensions (including distributions from governmental section 457(b) plans), annuities, and IRAs.
  • Military retirement.
  • Gambling winnings.
  • Indian gaming profits.
  • Certain government payments subject to voluntary withholding.
  • Payments subject to backup withholding.
For details on depositing and reporting nonpayroll income tax withholding, see the Instructions for Form 945.
All income tax withholding reported on Forms 1099 or Form W-2G must also be reported on Form 945. All income tax withholding reported on Form W-2 must be reported on Form 941, Form 943, Form 944, or Schedule H (Form 1040).

Distributions from nonqualified pension plans and deferred compensation plans.(p5)


Because distributions to participants from some nonqualified pension plans and deferred compensation plans (including section 457(b) plans of tax-exempt organizations) are treated as wages and are reported on Form W-2, income tax withheld must be reported on Form 941 or Form 944, not on Form 945. However, distributions from such plans to a beneficiary or estate of a deceased employee are not wages and are reported on Forms 1099-R; income tax withheld must be reported on Form 945.

Backup withholding.(p5)


You generally must withhold 28% of certain taxable payments if the payee fails to furnish you with his or her correct taxpayer identification number (TIN). This withholding is referred to as "backup withholding."
Payments subject to backup withholding include interest, dividends, patronage dividends, rents, royalties, commissions, nonemployee compensation, and certain other payments that you make in the course of your trade or business. In addition, transactions by brokers and barter exchanges and certain payments made by fishing boat operators are subject to backup withholding.
Backup withholding does not apply to wages, pensions, annuities, IRAs (including simplified employee pension (SEP) and SIMPLE retirement plans), section 404(k) distributions from an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), medical savings accounts, health savings accounts, long-term-care benefits, or real estate transactions.
You can use Form W-9 or Formulario W-9(SP) to request that payees furnish a TIN and to certify that the number furnished is correct. You can also use Form W-9 or Formulario W-9(SP) to get certifications from payees that they are not subject to backup withholding or that they are exempt from backup withholding. The Instructions for the Requester of Form W-9 (also available in Spanish) includes a list of types of payees who are exempt from backup withholding. For more information, see Publication 1281, Backup Withholding for Missing and Incorrect Name/TIN(s).



previous topic occurrence Recordkeeping next topic occurrence

Keep all records of employment taxes for at least 4 years. These should be available for IRS review. Your records should include:
  • Your employer identification number (EIN),
  • Amounts and dates of all wage, annuity, and pension payments,
  • Amounts of tips reported to you by your employees,
  • Records of allocated tips,
  • The fair market value of in-kind wages paid,
  • Names, addresses, social security numbers, and occupations of employees and recipients,
  • Any employee copies of Forms W-2 and W-2c that were returned to you as undeliverable,
  • Dates of employment for each employee,
  • Periods for which employees and recipients were paid while absent due to sickness or injury and the amount and weekly rate of payments you or third-party payers made to them,
  • Copies of employees' and recipients' income tax withholding allowance certificates (Forms W-4, W-4P, W-4(SP), W-4S, and W-4V),
  • Copies of employees' Earned Income Credit Advance Payment Certificates (Forms W-5 and W-5(SP)),
  • Dates and amounts of tax deposits that you made and acknowledgment numbers for deposits made by EFTPS,
  • Copies of returns filed, including 941TeleFile Tax Records (discontinued after June 2005) and confirmation numbers, and
  • Records of fringe benefits and expense reimbursements provided to your employees, including substantiation.

Change of Address(p6)


previous topic occurrence Change of Address next topic occurrence

To notify the IRS of a new business mailing address or business location, file Form 8822, Change of Address. Do not mail Form 8822 with your employment tax return. For information on how to change your address for deposit coupons, see Making deposits with FTD coupons in section 11.

Private Delivery Services(p6)


You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to mail tax returns and payments. The list includes only the following:
  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service; DHL Next Day 10:30 am; DHL Next Day 12:00 pm; DHL Next Day 3:00 pm; and DHL 2nd Day Service.
  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.
  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.
Your private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.

Telephone Help(p6)


previous topic occurrence Assistance for Taxpayers next topic occurrence


Additional employment tax information.(p6)


Visit the IRS website at and click on the Employment Taxes link.

Tax questions.(p6)


You can call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line with your employment tax questions at 1-800-829-4933.

Help for people with disabilities.(p6)


Telephone help is available using TTY/TDD equipment. You may call 1-800-829-4059 with any tax question or to order forms and publications. You may also use this number for assistance with unresolved tax problems.

Recorded tax information (TeleTax).(p6)


The IRS TeleTax service provides recorded tax information on topics that answer many individual and business federal tax questions. You can listen to up to three topics on each call that you make. Touch-Tone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TeleTax topics are also available on the IRS website at
A list of employment tax topics is provided below. Select, by number, the topic you want to hear and call 1-800-829-4477. For the directory of all topics, select  
Topic 123.
Teletax Topics
(These topics are available in Spanish)
752Form W-2—Where, When, and How to File
 (Dónde, Cuándo y Cómo Presentar La Formulario W-2)
753Form W-4—Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
 (Formulario W-4—Certificado de Deducción en la Retención del Empleado)
754Form W-5—Advance Earned Income Credit
 (Formulario W-5—Pago Anticipado del Crédito por Ingreso del Trabajo)
755Employer Identification Number (EIN)—How to Apply
 (Como Solicitar Un Número de Identificación Patronal (EIN))
756Employment Taxes for Household Employees
 (Impuestos Patronales por Empleados Domésticos)
757Form 941 and Form 944—Deposit Requirements
 (Formulario 941 and Formulario 944—Requisitos de Depósito)
758Form 941—Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return and Form 944—Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return
 (Formulario 941—Declaración Trimestral del Impuesto Federal del Empleador) (Formulario 944—Declaración Anual del Impuesto Federal del Empleador)
759Form 940—Deposit Requirements
 (Formulario 940—Requisitos de Depósito)


Form 940—Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
 (Formulario 940—Declaración Anual del Empleador del Impuesto Federal para el Desempleo)
761Tips—Withholding and Reporting
 (Propinas—Declaración y Retención)
762Independent Contractor vs. Employee
 (Contratista Independiente vs. Empleado)

Ordering Employer Tax Products(p7)


Ordering Employer Tax Products

You can order employer tax products and information returns online at To order 2008 and 2009 forms, select "Online Ordering for Information Returns and Employer Returns." You may also order employer tax products and information returns by calling 1-800-829-3676.
Instead of ordering paper Forms W-2 and W-3, consider filing them electronically using the Social Security Administration's (SSA) free e-file service. Visit SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information website at, select "Electronically File Your W-2s," and provide registration information. You will be able to create and file "fill-in" versions of Forms W-2 with SSA and can print out completed copies of Forms W-2 for filing with state and local governments, for distribution to your employees, and for your records. Form W-3 will be created for you based on your Forms W-2.

Contacting Your Taxpayer Advocate(p7)


Contacting Your Taxpayer Advocate

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.
You can contact TAS by calling the TAS toll-free case intake line at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059 to see if you are eligible for assistance. You can also call or write to your local taxpayer advocate, whose phone number and address are listed in your local telephone directory and in Publication 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service – Your Voice at the IRS. You can file Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), or ask an IRS employee to complete it on your behalf. For more information, go to

Filing Addresses(p7)


Filing Addresses

Generally, your filing address for Forms 940, 941, 943, 944, and 945 depends on the location of your residence or principal place of business and whether or not you included a payment with your return. There are separate filing addresses for these returns if you are a tax-exempt organization or government entity. If you are located in the United States and do not include a payment with your return, you should file at either the Cincinnati or Ogden Service Centers. File Form CT-1 (for railroad retirement taxes) at the Cincinnati Service Center. See the separate instructions for Form 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, or CT-1 for the filing addresses.

Photographs of Missing Children(p7)


The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide
next pageNext Page: Publication 15 - Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide - Introduction
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication