skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Publication 15



Electronic Filing and Payment(p3)

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 A fee may be charged to file electronically.

Credit and debit card payments.(p3)

For information on paying your taxes with a credit or debit card, visit the IRS website at

Forms in Spanish(p3)

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). 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)


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.

W-4 request.(p4)

Ask each new employee to complete the 2011 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, make the correction using 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. Forms 941-X and 944-X are stand-alone forms, meaning taxpayers can file them when an error is discovered. Forms 941-X and 944-X are used by employers to claim refunds or abatements of employment taxes, rather than Form 843. See section 13 for more information.

Income tax withholding.(p4)

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 table. If you have nonresident alien employees, see Withholding income taxes on the wages of nonresident alien employees on page 17.
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.(p4)

If you have not filed a "final" Form 941 or Form 944, or are not a "seasonal" employer, 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: The following list provides a brief summary of your basic responsibilities. Because the individual circumstances for each employer can vary greatly, responsibilities for withholding, depositing, and reporting employment taxes can differ. Each item in this list has a page reference to a more detailed discussion in this publication.
 New Employees:Page  Page
Verify work eligibility of new employees4File Form 941 (pay tax with return if not 
Record employees' names and SSNs from   required to deposit)24
 social security cards4 Annually (see Calendar for due dates):
Ask employees for Form W-44Remind employees to submit a new Form W-4 
 Each Payday:  if they need to change their withholding16
Withhold federal income tax based on each Ask for a new Form W-4 from employees 
 employee's Form W-416 claiming exemption from income tax 
Withhold employee's share of social security  withholding17
 and Medicare taxes19Reconcile Forms 941 (or Form 944) with Forms 
Deposit:  W-2 and W-326
 • Withheld income tax Furnish each employee a Form W-22
 • Withheld and employer social security taxes File Copy A of Forms W-2 and the transmittal 
 • Withheld and employer Medicare taxes20 Form W-3 with the SSA3
 Note: Due date of deposit generally depends on Furnish each other payee a Form 1099 (for 
 your deposit schedule (monthly or semiweekly)  example, Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income2
 Annually (By January 31 of the current year, for the prior year): File Forms 1099 and the transmittal Form 
File Form 944 if required (pay tax with return if   10963
  not required to deposit)25File Form 94029
 Quarterly (By April 30, July 31, October 31,
and January 31):
 File Form 945 for any nonpayroll income tax 
Deposit FUTA tax if undeposited amount  withholding3
 is over $50029   

Information Returns(p5)

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 2011 General Instructions for Certain Information Returns (Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G) for general information and the separate, specific instructions for each information return you file (for example, 2011 Instructions for Form 1099-MISC). Do not use Forms 1099 to report wages and other compensation 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.

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.

Nonpayroll Income Tax Withholding(p5)

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 2010 is due by January 31, 2011. Separate deposits are required for payroll (Form 941 or Form 944) and nonpayroll (Form 945) withholding. Nonpayroll items include:
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 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 payees to furnish a TIN and to certify 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 or Formulario W-9(SP) 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).


Keep all records of employment taxes for at least 4 years. These should be available for IRS review. Your records should include:

Change of Address(p6)

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.

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:
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)


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 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)
751Social Security and Medicare Withholding Rates
 (Tasas de retención del seguro social y Medicare, Tema)
752Form W-2—Where, When, and How to File
 (Dónde, Cuándo y Cómo Presentar El La Formulario W-2)
Teletax Topics
(These topics are available in Spanish)
753Form W-4—Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
 (Formulario W-4(SP)—Certificado de Excensión de Retenciones del Empleado)
755Employer Identification Number (EIN)—How to Apply
 (Como Solicitar Un Número de Identificación Patronal (EIN))
756Employment Taxes for Household Employees
 (Impuestos Patronales para 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-PR—Planilla para la Declaración Federal TRIMESTRAL del Patrono) (Formulario 944-PR-Planilla para la Declaración Federal ANUAL del Patrono)
759A New Tax Exemption and Business Credit are Available for Qualified Employers Under "The HIRE Act" of 2010
 (Nueva exención tributaria y crédito comercial para empleadores calificados disponibles bajo la Ley de Incentivos para la Contratación y Recuperación del Empleo del 2010 (HIRE, por sus siglas en inglés))
760FICA Tax Refunds for "Medical Residents"
 (Ley de Impuestos al Seguro Social—Reclamaciones de reembolsos e impuestos para médicos residentes que son empleados)
761Tips—Withholding and Reporting
 (Propinas—Declaración y Retención)
762Independent Contractor vs. Employee
 (Contratista Independiente vs. Empleado)
763The "Affordable Care Act" of 2010 Offers Employers New Tax Deductions and Credits
 (Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Costo Asequible del 2010 ofrece a los empleadores deducciones y créditos tributarios nuevos)

Additional employment tax information.(p6)

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

Ordering Employer Tax Products(p6)

You can order employer tax products and information returns online at To order 2010 and 2011 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 the 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 Forms W-2 online and submit them to the SSA by typing your wage information into easy-to-use fill-in fields. In addition, you can print out completed copies of Forms W-2 to file with state or local governments, distribute to your employees, and keep for your records. Form W-3 will be created for you based on your Forms W-2.

Contacting Your Taxpayer Advocate(p7)

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 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)

Generally, your filing address for Forms 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, and CT-1 depends on the location of your residence or principal place of business and whether or not you are including 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. See the separate instructions for Forms 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, or CT-1 for the filing addresses or "Where To File" on the IRS website at

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.

Comments and Suggestions(p7)

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions. You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line.
You can write to us at the following address: 

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Products Coordinating Committee 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.