Businessman reviews documents and views a tablet screen while seated at a table with charts, documents, a notebook, and a pen. Text overlay reads, "How to Fill Out Form 944.

Payroll compliance is an important aspect of running your small business. The goal of payroll should be to pay your employees correctly and on time while ensuring that you take appropriate actions to comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards.

Completing and filing the correct payroll-related form is an essential part of fulfilling your payroll duties. While most businesses will file Form 941, an employer's quarterly federal tax return, there are obscure tax forms that might be more appropriate, including IRS Form 941-SS for employers in certain US territories and IRS Form 941-PR for employers in Puerto Rico.

IRS Form 944, an employer’s annual federal tax return, is another uncommon payroll-related form that you may be responsible for. If your business qualifies, the IRS will notify you directly in writing. If your business has received that notice, use this guide to learn all about filing this annual form detailing your employee's wage information.  

How To Fill Out Form 944

Use this guide to learn about the information you need to gather as you prepare Form 944, how to fill it out, and how to file with the IRS

Gather Information Required for Form 944

These materials will you determine your current year’s tax liability in Form 944. Gather this information before you begin filling out the form. Information required to complete Form 944 include: 

  • Your business's information, including your business name or trade name, mailing address, and employer identification number (EIN)
  • The number of Form W-2 workers you employ
  • The total amount of wages they received
  • Total taxes withheld from each employee paycheck
  • Total Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from each employee
  • Filling Out Form 944

    There are five parts across three pages you must complete before you submit Form 944 to the IRS. You must also sign the form. If any element is missing from your submission it might create delays associated with processing your return. 

    Form 944, Part 1 

    Most of the information from the materials you've gathered will be entered into Part 1 of Form 944. This section details wages, tips, and other compensation. Areas to address include line 1, line 2, line 3, line 4e, line 5, and line 6.

    Form 944, Part 2

    In this section of Form 944, you would disclose your deposit schedule and annual liability. 

    Form 944, Part 3

    Fill out Part 3 of Form 944 if your business has closed or if you've stopped paying wages. Skip if this does not apply to you. 

    Form 944, Part 4 

    If you would like a third-party designee, such as an employee or paid preparer, to discuss this return with the IRS on your behalf, select "yes" and submit their information. If you are uninterested, select "no." 

    Form 944, Part 5 

    To complete Form 944, sign and date Part 5. 

    Filing Form 944

    You must e-file via the electronic federal tax payment system (EFTPS) on the IRS website or mail Form 944 to the IRS by January 31st of the following year. If January 31st falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is bumped to the following business day.

    If your business meets the eligibility requirements for Form 944 in 2024, submit it by the January 31st, 2025, due date, which is a Friday. 

    Federal Tax Deposit Requirements

    Tax LiabilityDeposit Requirement
    If your tax liability is $2,500 or less annually. No federal tax deposits are required at this threshold. Pay this tax along with your tax return
    If your tax liability exceeds $2,500 annually but is less than $2,500 quarterly. You are required to make a deposit after the quarter has concluded. You have until the last day of the following month to submit the deposit. 
    If your tax liability exceeds $2,500 per quarter. You are required to make deposits based on your designated deposit schedule, which may be twice a week or monthly. 

    Penalties For Late Filing of Form 944

    There are penalties for missing Form 944's filing deadline. The IRS imposes a 5% (of your tax bill) late filing penalty that can be charged for up to five months from the missed deadline.

    It is always in your best interest to file as soon as possible after a missed deadline to minimize the penalty you will be responsible for paying. 

    Work With the Payroll Experts

    Gathering all of your materials for Form 944, filling it out accurately, and submitting it on or before the deadline is a complex, time-consuming process. That's why many small business owners and entrepreneurs trust 1-800Accountant, America’s leading virtual accounting firm for small businesses, for their financial needs.

    Whether it's business tax preparation, payroll taxes, bookkeeping, or any of our professional accounting services, we have the affordable solutions you need to ensure your business remains payroll-compliant. To learn more, schedule a quick consultation–usually 30 minutes or less.

    This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. 1-800Accountant assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.