IRS Form 944 vs 941: Which One Should You File

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If you are a business owner, then you have to pay your employees. This means that you have to worry about payroll taxes.

These taxes include:

  • Federal Income Tax withheld
  • Social Security and Medicare tax withheld
  • Employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld

Forms 941 and 944 are the two forms that employers use to report employee wage and payroll tax information to the IRS. A broad overview of the two follows:

Form 941Form 944
Filing FrequencyQuarterly Annually 
Deadline DateThe last day of the month following the end of the quarter:

Quarter 1 (April 30)
Quarter 2 (July 31)
Quarter 3 (October 31)
Quarter 4 (January 31)
January 31st
ThresholdMost businesses start with Form 941, regardless of tax liability sizeTax liability less than $1,000
DetailsMost businesses will file Form 941Only filed after written notice from the IRS

It’s important to note that the information mentioned below is general tax information and not advice. We highly recommend speaking with a tax consultant first while filing your taxes. \

What Is Form 941

Form 941 is a quarterly tax form that employers use to report taxes withheld from employee paychecks to the IRS. It includes federal income taxes, social security taxes, and Medicare taxes withheld (employer portion of Social Security or Medicare tax is typically paid upon filing Form 941).

Note: if you are a seasonal employer, handle a farm or a household, or have filed a final return, you may not need to file this form. If you’re unsure about this filing, speak to a qualified CPA.

What Is Form 944

Form 944 is a tax form designed for businesses and entities with small payrolls. These companies will report federal income taxes, social security, and Medicare withheld and pay to the IRS annually, however, only if these taxes are $1,000 are less and only if notified to file form 944 by the IRS.

From the IRS:

Only small business employers who’ve been notified by the IRS to file Form 944 may file it.

It includes federal income taxes, social security taxes, and Medicare taxes (withheld from employees’ paychecks and employer contribution). This form is designed for smaller businesses with fewer employees and lower tax liabilities ($1,000 or less).

Form 941 vs Form 944: Differences

The main difference between Form 941 and Form 944 is that Form 941 is filed quarterly, while Form 944 is filed annually with tax liabilities less than $1,000, and only by request of the IRS.

Who files Form 941

You will automatically file Form 941 unless the IRS instructs you differently. 

Who files Form 944

You are only eligible to file Form 944 if the IRS has officially and in writing sent you a notification to do so. If the IRS has not informed you to file Form 944, you will file Form 941 on a quarterly basis.

Deadline To File

Form 941

Form 941 is filed the last day of the month filing the end of the quarter. You have to submit Form 941 to the IRS by:

  • Quarter 1 (April 30)
  • Quarter 2 (July 31)
  • Quarter 3 (October 31)
  • Quarter 4 (January 31)

Form 944

You have to submit Form 944 to the IRS by January 31 as it’s filed annually.

Form 941 and Form 944: Similarities

In some aspects, Forms 941 and 944 are similar, like how they both are employment taxes. Below are some of the common things in both forms.


Whether you’re filing the 944 or 941 tax form, you’ll need to provide the same information to the IRS. As a business, you’ll need to report:

  • Information about your company, like your Employer Identification Number (EIN), name, and address
  • The total number of employees you paid during the reporting period
  • The compensation you paid to your employees, including wages, tips, and any other payments
  • The amount of federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax you paid and withheld from your employees’ paychecks
  • Your total tax liability for the reporting period
  • Any paid sick or family leave wages, if applicable
  • COBRA information, if applicable
  • Any necessary adjustments that need to be made to your tax forms.

Form 941 and 944 Filing Methods

You can file Forms 941 and 944 by mailing them to the IRS or by e-filing through the IRS website. The IRS prefers e-filing because it’s easier to process. This is a faster and safer process.

If you want to mail your payroll tax forms to the IRS, then the mailing address may vary depending on which state you are in. You can look up your state address through the IRS website.

For more information on these forms, visit the IRS website: Topic No. 758 Form 941 and Form 944

Don’t Forget to Deposit!

Make sure that you are depositing payroll taxes ongoing, rather than paying at the time of filing! However, you may pay the employer portion of Social Security or Medicare tax when filing Form 941.

If you are filing Form 944, you will file and pay these taxes once yearly.


If you are a business owner and you are still unsure about how to file your employee’s payroll taxes to the IRS, then you can consult our professional tax experts. They have years of experience dealing with the IRS and have worked with hundreds of taxpayers.

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