IRS Logo
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Employment Taxes - 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file

 

What:

What is Employment Tax e-file?
Who: Who Can Participate in 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file?
Why: What are the Benefits of 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file?
How: What are the General Requirements to Participate in the 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file Programs?
Info: How can I get more information?


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):


What is Employment Tax e-File System:

The Employment Tax e-file System is part of IRS e-file. It is an electronic filing process that allows the Form 94x Family of Returns to be received through the 94x e-file Program and 94x OnLine Filing Program. The Employment Tax e-file System and its related programs conduct security checks, send electronic acknowledgments and build records to be processed by IRS computer systems.

  • The Employment Tax e-file System offers business taxpayers three (3) paperless options for electronically filing:

  • Form Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return,
  • Form Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, and
  • Form Form 940, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return

Choose from the following three (3) Employment Tax e-file System (94x e-file) Options:

  • Option 1 – Sign and file own returns as a 94x OnLine e-Filer ( IRS Authorized Signer), based on the needs of your business. (Refer to Publication 3823, Employment Tax e-file System Implementation and User Guide)


  • Option 2 – Authorize a Reporting Agent to prepare, sign and e-file all 94x Family of Returns, for you. (Refer to Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation)


  • Option 3 – Become an Authorized e-file Provider by completing the IRS e-file Application and choosing the applicable Provider Role (s) that meet the needs of your business. (Refer to Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation)

Return to Top


Who can participate:

944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file Programs Participants include the following:

  • Software Developers that develops software for the purposes of formatting electronic return information


  • Transmitter that is a firm, organization, or individual that receives returns and 94x PIN Registrations electronically, from clients, reformats the data (if necessary), batches them with returns or electronic 94x PIN Registrations from other clients, and then transmits the data to the IRS.


  • Reporting Agent that is an accounting service, franchiser, bank, or other entity that complies with Rev. Proc. 2007-38, 2003-2 C.B. 403, and is authorized to prepare and electronically file Forms 940, 941, and 944 for a taxpayer. Reporting Agents sign all of the electronic returns they file.


  • Electronic Return Originator (ERO) that is any entity that "originates" the electronic submission of tax returns to the IRS.


  • 94x OnLine Filing Provider that allow taxpayers to self-prepare returns by entering return data directly into commercially available IRS approved software.


  • 94x OnLine e-Filer that is an IRS Authorized Signer that electronically files Forms 94x through a designated Transmitter that will batch, bundle, and transmit files to the IRS, using IRS Approved Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) software.


 

Return to Top


Why:

 

  • What are the Benefits of 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file?

  • It's Convenient


  • It's Paperless


  • Provides Electronic Acknowledgment within 48 hours


  • Provides automated Tax Preparation Work


  • Use preparation software that performs calculations, and highlights needed
    forms and schedules.

  • Allows Integrated Payment Option
  • Owe Taxes? You can e-file a balance due return and, at the same time, authorize an electronic funds withdrawal from your bank account. Payments are subject to limitations of the Federal Tax Deposit Rules.
  • Fast
  • Information is quickly available to IRS Customer Service sites Processing time is reduced to one week or less
  • Accurate
  • Fewer risks of transcription errors and error rates of less than one percent.
  • Safe
    Tax Information is secure and only authorized users have access to the system.

    Return to Top

How:

What are the general requirements to participate in the 944 e-file, 941 e-file and 940 e-file Programs?

 

 

All IRS e-file Applications and/or 94x OnLine PIN Registrations must be complete and accurate and include all pertinent information as specified in the applicable Publication 3112 and Publication 3823, referenced above.

Interested participants who choose the option to use a Reporting Agent should have their Reporting Agent submit a completed IRS e-file Application, electronically, on-line after registering for e-Services. (For complete guidelines refer to Publication 3112)

Interested participants who choose the option to file Employment Tax Returns using IRS Approved Software must complete the 94x OnLine PIN Registration Process to become an IRS Authorized Signer. (For complete guidelines refer to Publication 3823)

    • Potential business participants can also choose the option to become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider, by selecting the provider role that best meets the needs of their company. Review the additional governing rules and regulations for information you need to know regarding the roles and responsibilities of Authorized IRS e-file Providers:

    • Revenue Procedure 2007-40, Authorized IRS e-file Provider Responsibilities


    • Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation


    When are 94x e-file Program Applications Due?

    Potential business participants must submit the IRS e-file Application or 94x OnLine PIN Registration 45 days in advance of the next return due date in order to timely e-file.

    Software Developers and Transmitters will be required to submit a successful test transmission before being granted approval to file tax returns.

    Upon IRS approval of the e-file Application, a Personal Identification Number (PIN), User-ID/Password/Access Code to access the Electronic Filing System will be issued to the participant, as applicable.

    In addition, the IRS e-file Application must include all pertinent information as specified in the following:

    Publication 3112, The IRS e-file Application Package, and

    Publication 3823, Employment Tax e-file System Implementation and User Guide.

    Return to Top


    INFO:

    How can I get more information?

    Remember, employment taxes may be filed electronically, via the following two (2) methods:

    For more information on the 94x e-file for Business Employment Tax Programs, contact the IRS e-help Desk at the toll free telephone (866) 255-0654.

    Return to Top


    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    What types of Form 941 returns are accepted into the 941 e-file Program?

    The 941 e-file Program accepts all current quarter tax returns, and returns for four preceding quarters, with the following exceptions:

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What is Schedule B?

    The Schedule B is a record of federal tax liability that can be electronically transmitted with the 941 return.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What is Schedule D?

    The Schedule D is a report of discrepancies caused by acquisitions, statutory mergers, or consolidations that can be electronically transmitted with the 941 return..

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What is Schedule R?

    The Schedule R is used to allocate the aggregate information reported on Form 941 to each client. Aggregate Form 941filers are defined by Section 3504 of the Internal Revenue Code. The general procedures for designating an agent and reporting and filing as an agent are set forth in Rev. Proc 70-6, 1970-1C.B. 420.
     

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What types of Form 940 attachments are accepted into the 940 e-file Program?

    The 940 e-file Program accepts the Schedule A and Schedule R electronically.

    What is Schedule A (Form 940)?

    The Schedule A (Form 940) is use to report Multi-State Employer and Credit Reduction Information.

    You must fill out Schedule A (Form 940) if you were required to pay your state unemployment tax in more than one (1) state or if you paid wages in any state that is subject to credit reduction.

    Every employer who had four (4) or more employees on at least one (1) day of each of twenty calendar weeks in a calendar year must file a return on Form 940 for such year. Schedule A should be filed with Form 940.

    What is Schedule R (Form 940)?

    The Schedule R, Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 940 filers is used to allocate the aggregate information reported on Form 940 to each client. Aggregate Form 940 filers are defined by Section 3504 of the Internal Revenue Code. The general procedures for designating an agent and reporting and filing as an agent are set forth in Rev. Proc 70-6, 1970-1C.B. 420.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    How do I sign my return?

    A five (5) digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) is used to sign Forms 94x (944, 941 & 944) e-file returns for the Reporting Agent clients, which is assigned to the Reporting Agent when an e-file Application is approved.

    Note: The Reporting Agent must have signature authority on record with IRS for all returns they file for their clients.

    A 10 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) is used to sign 94x (944, 941, & 940) OnLine e-file returns filed through Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS). The PIN is assigned to the IRS Authorized Signer when the 94x OnLine PIN Registration Process is completed and approved.

    IRS Authorized Signatories are only allowed to file and sign their own returns, using their PIN. They are only allowed to file four (4) quarters for Forms 941, one (1) return if filing Form 944 and one (1) Form 940 yearly. An IRS Authorized Signer can not use their PIN to sign returns for other people and cannot file bulk returns.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What are the Reporting Agent requirements?

    In addition to the general requirements, the following applies to Reporting Agents who wish to participate in the 944 e-file, 941 e-file, and 940 e-file Program:

    The e-file Application must include a Reporting Agent List and a Reporting Agent Authorization Form 8655 for each taxpayer on the list. Once reviewed and approved, the Reporting Agent will receive a validated Agent List from the Ogden Submission Processing Campus. This list will contain valid names and Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) that must be used by the Reporting Agent when preparing their electronic returns.

    The Reporting Agent must follow all guidelines associated with adding and deleting taxpayers from the validated Agent List. Refer to Publication 3823, Employment Tax e-file System Implementation and User Guide.

    Review Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization, for complete information.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    When Are Returns Due?

    94x e-file/OnLine returns filed through the 94x e-file Programs have the same due date as Forms 94x filed on paper with due dates as follows:


      Form 944 (ANNUAL), Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return

      e-file returns with a calendar year ending have the same due date as a Form 944 filed on paper - January 31st , of the following year. 

      If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days to (February 10th).

      Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return in XML (Extensible Mark-Up Language)

      Quarter Ending Normal Due Date and Extended Due Date: If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days.

      If March 31st then due April 30th,  May 10th = (extended due date)

      If June 30th then due July 31st,  August 10th = (extended due date)

      If September 30th then due October 31st,  November 10th = (extended due date)

      If December 31st then due January 31st,  February 10th = (extended due date)

      Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return in XML (Extensible Mark-Up Language)

      e-file returns with a calendar year ending have the same due date as a Form 940 filed on paper - January 31st, of the following year. 

    If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days (February 10th).  Returns may be electronically transmitted until April 30th.  However, the return due date is not extended.


    Note:  Additional information regarding due dates for Forms 944, 941, and 940 can be found in Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    Can 944 e-file, 941 e-file, and 940 e-file users make electronic payments?

    Yes. Electronic payments can be made through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), which is a completely separate system. EFTPS is available for individuals and businesses to make all their federal tax payments electronically. Individuals and/or businesses interested in the EFTPS program must enroll prior to participation. Visit  eftps.gov for more information.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    Where Can I find a list of Providers?

    Visit the  Approved IRS e-file for Business Providers' page as well as the  IRS e-file for Business Partners' page for a listing of companies that offer IRS e-file for Business products and services.

    Tip: You may want to bookmark these pages as they are updated frequently as new providers and partners are added, and new products and services become available.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What are the Software Requirements for 94x e-File/OnLine Programs?

    IRS requires software to support returns received and processed through the Employment Tax e-file System be transmitted in an XML (Extensible Markup Language) format.  An IRS 94x Schema is used for this purpose.  To view the current version of the IRS 94x XML schemas visit  the94x XML Developers' Forum - Employment Tax e-file System

    All software developers must adhere to all of the guidelines and requirements set forth in the 94x XML Developers' Forum - Employment Tax e-file Systemdocuments, when creating 94x XML software.

    Current and future version releases will be posted to the 94x XML Developers' Forum - Employment Tax e-file System as needed. A formal change control process governs changes to the schema, and any changes will result in a revised version release with an appropriate version number.

    94x e-file software must be compatible to the IRS Employment Tax e-file System program that conducts security checks, send electronic acknowledgments and build records to be processed by current IRS computer systems.

    The software must provide the ability for Authorized IRS e-file Providers to electronically transmit return information via an IRS provided and certified secure Internet transport.  Use of this secure Internet transport will require the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Version 3.0 using 128-bit encryption keys in an operational mode using the current modem based file transmission commands with a client commonly termed "TELNET/S".

    At present, the Employment Tax e-file System software must support the attachments accepted by the Employment Tax e-file Programs, which includes the following:

    Schedule A (Form 940), Multi-State Employer and Credit Reduction Information
    Schedule B (Form 941), Record of Federal Tax Liability
    Schedule D (Form 941), Report of Discrepancies Caused by Acquisitions, Statutory Mergers, or Consolidations
    Schedule R (Forms 941 and 940), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 941/940 filers

    94x e-file/OnLine Program participants may develop their own software or purchase Commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) software developed by our participating software developers.

      Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What is XML?:

    In 2003, the IRS redesigned the electronic tax filing system for Employment Taxes, using XML (Extensible Markup Language) file format referred to as the  Employment Tax e-file System .  This system addresses user needs by providing a more flexible system and enhanced features, including participation by..."Electronic Return Originators." 

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What types of telecommunications are supported?

    Filers may use any Hayes compatible modem. The IRS has ISDN/56KB telecommunications capability. Contact the IRS e-Help Operations and Strategy and Support (EOSS) Office for additional details.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    What transmission protocols can be used?

    The following asynchronous protocols can be used:  FTP and Z-modem.

    Return to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 22-Jul-2014