Conquering Employment Tax Filing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Filing employment taxes is a crucial responsibility for employers and business owners. These taxes fund essential government programs and ensure compliance with labor laws. However, navigating the complexities of employment tax can be daunting. In this guide, we’ll break down the process into manageable steps to help you file your employment taxes accurately and on time.


Step 1: Determine Your Employment Tax Obligations

Before you start filing employment taxes, you need to understand your obligations. These obligations may include:

Payroll taxes: This includes federal and state income tax withholding, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Employers are responsible for withholding these taxes from their employees’ paychecks.

Unemployment taxes: Employers must pay federal and state unemployment taxes to fund unemployment benefits for eligible workers.

Additional taxes: Depending on your business type, you may need to pay other taxes such as federal excise taxes, state disability insurance, or local taxes.


Step 2: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to obtain an EIN from the IRS. This unique identifier is essential for reporting employment taxes. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.


Step 3: Collect Employee Information

Ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information for all your employees. This includes their full names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and tax withholding forms (e.g., W-4 for federal income tax withholding).


Step 4: Calculate and Withhold Taxes

Calculate the appropriate amount of federal and state income tax, Social Security, and Medicare taxes to withhold from your employees’ paychecks based on their W-4 forms. Use the IRS tax withholding tables to help with these calculations.


Step 5: Keep Accurate Records

Maintain detailed records of all payroll transactions, tax withholdings, and payments. Accurate record-keeping is crucial for audit purposes and ensures you can provide accurate information when filing taxes.


Step 6: File Form 941 – Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

As an employer, you are generally required to file Form 941 quarterly to report federal income tax withholding, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Ensure you complete this form accurately and on time to avoid penalties.


Step 7: Deposit Taxes

Follow the IRS deposit schedule to ensure timely payment of employment taxes. Most businesses are required to make electronic deposits, which can be done through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).


Step 8: File Form 940 – Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return

Annually, employers must file Form 940 to report and pay federal unemployment taxes. This form is due by January 31 of the following year.


Step 9: File State Employment Tax Returns

Check with your state’s tax agency for specific requirements related to state income tax withholding, unemployment taxes, and other state employment taxes. Ensure you comply with state deadlines and regulations.


Step 10: Report New Hires

Most states require employers to report new hires to their state’s new hire reporting program. This helps state agencies locate parents who owe child support and prevents fraudulent benefit claims.



Filing employment taxes can be simplified by following these steps and seeking professional guidance from us, Legacy Tax & Financial, Inc., for a worry-free experience. Schedule a consultation with us today!

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