General Instructions:

Purpose of Form 941-SS

Use Form 941-SS to report social security and Medicare taxes for workers in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Pub. 80 (Circular SS) explains the requirements for withholding, depositing, and paying social security and Medicare taxes. It explains the forms you must give your employees, those your employees must give you, and those you must send to the IRS. See Pub. 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, for specialized employment tax information supplementing the basic information provided in Pub. 80 (Circular SS).

Federal law requires you, as an employer, to withhold certain taxes from your employees' pay. Each time you pay wages, you must withhold – or take out of your employees' pay – certain amounts for social security tax and Medicare tax. You must also withhold Additional Medicare Tax from wages you pay to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. Under the withholding system, taxes withheld from your employees are credited to your employees in payment of their tax liabilities.

Federal law also requires you to pay any liability for the employer's portion of social security and Medicare taxes. This portion of social security and Medicare taxes is not withheld from employees.

Who Must File Form 941-SS?

Generally, you must file a return for the first quarter in which you pay wages subject to social security and Medicare taxes, and for each quarter thereafter until you file a final return. Use Form 941-SS if your principal place of business is in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, or if you have employees who are subject to income tax withholding for these jurisdictions.

Use Form 941-SS to report the following amounts.

  • Wages/tips subject to social security and Medicare taxes.

  • Both the employer's and the employee's share of social security and Medicare taxes.

  • Additional Medicare Tax withheld from employees.

  • Current quarter's adjustments to social security and Medicare taxes for fractions of cents, sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance.

Do not use Form 941-SS if you have both employees who are subject to U.S. income tax withholding and employees who are not subject to U.S. income tax withholding. Instead, you must file only Form 941 (or Form 944) and include all of your employees' wages on that form.

Do not use Form 941-SS to report backup withholding or income tax withholding on nonpayroll payments such as pensions, annuities, and gambling winnings. Report these types of withholding on Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax.

After you file your first Form 941-SS, you must file a return each quarter, even if you have no tax liability to report, unless you filed a final return or one of the exceptions listed next applies.

Exceptions

Special rules apply to some employers.

  • Seasonal employers do not have to file a Form 941-SS for quarters in which they have no tax liability because they have paid no wages. To tell the IRS that you will not file a return for one or more quarters during the year, check the box on line 16 every quarter you file Form 941-SS. The IRS generally will not inquire about unfiled returns if at least one taxable return is filed each year. However, you must check the box on line 16 on every quarterly return you file. Otherwise, the IRS will expect a return to be filed for each quarter.

  • Employers of household employees do not usually file Form 941-SS. See Pub. 80 (Circular SS) and Pub. 926, Household Employer's Tax Guide, and Schedule H (Form 1040), Household Employment Taxes, for more information.

  • Employers of farm employees do not usually file Form 941-SS. See Form 943, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees, and Pub. 51 (Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide.

If none of the above exceptions applies and you have not filed a final return, you must file 
Form 941-SS each quarter even if you did not pay wages during the quarter. Use IRS e-file, if possible.

What if You Reorganize or Close Your Business?

If You Sell or Transfer Your Business . . .

If you sell or transfer your business, you and the new owner must each file a Form 941-SS for the quarter in which the transfer occurred. Report only the wages you paid.

When two businesses merge, the continuing firm must file a return for the quarter in which the change took place and the other firm should file a final return.

Changing from one form of business to another—such as from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation—is considered a transfer. If a transfer occurs, you may need a new EIN. See section 1 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS). Attach a statement to your return with:

  • The new owner's name (or the new name of the business);

  • Whether the business is now a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation;

  • The kind of change that occurred (a sale or transfer);

  • The date of the change; and

  • The name of the person keeping the payroll records and the address where those records will be kept.

If Your Business Has Closed . . .

If you go out of business or stop paying wages to your employees, you must file a final return. To tell the IRS that Form 941-SS for a particular quarter is your final return, check the box on line 15 and enter the date you last paid wages. Also attach a statement to your return showing the name of the person keeping the payroll records and the address where those records will be kept.

See the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 for information about earlier dates for the expedited furnishing and filing of the following Wage and Tax Statements when a final Form 941-SS is filed.

  • W-2AS, American Samoa

  • W-2CM, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • W-2GU, Guam

  • W-2VI, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you participated in a statutory merger or consolidation, or qualify for predecessor-successor status due to an acquisition, you should generally file Schedule D (Form 941), Report of Discrepancies Caused by Acquisitions, Statutory Mergers, or Consolidations. See the Instructions for Schedule D (Form 941) to determine whether you should file Schedule D (Form 941) and when you should file it.

When Must You File?

File your initial Form 941-SS for the quarter in which you first paid wages that are subject to social security and Medicare taxes. See the table below titled When To File Form 941-SS.

Then you must file for every quarter after that—every 3 months—even if you have no taxes to report, unless you are a seasonal employer or are filing your final return. See Seasonal employers and If Your Business Has Closed, earlier.

File Form 941-SS only once for each quarter. If you filed electronically, do not file a paper Form 941-SS. For more information about filing Form 941-SS electronically, see Electronic filing and payment, earlier.

When To File Form 941-SS

Your Form 941-SS is due by the last day of the month that follows the end of the quarter.
The Quarter Includes . . . Quarter Ends Form 941-SS 
Is Due
1. January, February, March March 31 April 30
2. April, May, June June 30 July 31
3. July, August, September September 30 October 31
4. October, November, December December 31 January 31

For example, you generally must report wages you pay during the first quarter—which is January through March—by April 30. If you made timely deposits in full payment of your taxes for a quarter, you have 10 more days after the due dates shown above to file your Form 941-SS.

If we receive Form 941-SS after the due date, we will treat Form 941-SS as filed on time if the envelope containing Form 941-SS is properly addressed, contains sufficient postage, and is postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before the due date, or sent by an IRS-designated private delivery service on or before the due date. If you do not follow these guidelines, we will consider Form 941-SS filed when it is actually received. See Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for more information on IRS-designated private delivery services.

If any due date for filing falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you may file your return on the next business day.

How Should You Complete Form 941-SS?

Type or print your EIN, name, and address in the spaces provided. Also enter your name and EIN on the top of page 2. Do not use your social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Generally, enter the business (legal) name you used when you applied for your EIN on Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. For example, if you are a sole proprietor, enter “Haleigh Smith” on the “Name” line and “Haleigh's Cycles” on the “Trade name” line. Leave the “Trade name” line blank if it is the same as your “Name.

Employer Identification Number (EIN).    To make sure that businesses comply with federal tax laws, the IRS monitors tax filings and payments by using a numerical system to identify taxpayers. A unique nine-digit EIN is assigned to all corporations, partnerships, and some sole proprietors. Businesses needing an EIN must apply for a number and use it throughout the life of the business on all tax returns, payments, and reports.

  Your business should have only one EIN. If you have more than one and are not sure which one to use, write to the IRS office where you file your returns (using the Without a payment address under Where Should You File, later) or call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933 (toll free; for use by U.S. Virgin Islands only) or 267-941-1099 (toll call).

  If you do not have an EIN, you may apply for one online. Go to IRS.gov and click on the Apply for an EIN Online link under Tools. You may also apply for an EIN by calling 267-941-1099 (toll call), or you can fax or mail Form SS-4 to the IRS. If you have not received your EIN by the due date of Form 941-SS, write “Applied For” and the date you applied in this entry space.

  
If you are filing your tax return electronically, a valid EIN is required at the time the return is filed. If a valid EIN is not provided, the return will not be accepted. This may result in penalties.

  
Always be sure the EIN on the form you file exactly matches the EIN the IRS assigned to your business. Do not use your SSN or ITIN on forms that ask for an EIN. Filing a Form 941-SS with an incorrect EIN or using another business's EIN may result in penalties and delays in processing your return.

If you change your business name, business address, or responsible party...   For a definition of “responsible party” and how to notify the IRS of a change in the identity of your responsible party, see the Form 8822-B instructions. Notify the IRS immediately if you change your business name, business address, or responsible party.
  • Write to the IRS office where you file your returns (using the Without a payment address under Where Should You File, later) to notify the IRS of any business name change. See Pub. 1635 to see if you need to apply for a new EIN.

  • Complete and mail Form 8822-B to notify the IRS of a business address or responsible party change. Do not mail Form 8822-B with your Form 941-SS.

Check the Box for the Quarter

Under “Report for this Quarter of 2014” at the top of Form 941-SS, check the appropriate box of the quarter for which you are filing. Make sure the quarter checked is the same as shown on any attached Schedule B (Form 941), Report of Tax Liability for Semiweekly Schedule Depositors.

Completing and Filing Form 941-SS

Make entries on Form 941-SS as follows to enable accurate processing.

  • Use 10-point Courier font (if possible) for all entries if you are typing or using a computer to complete your form. Portable Document Format (PDF) forms on IRS.gov have fillable fields with acceptable font specifications.

  • Do not enter dollar signs and decimal points. Commas are optional. Enter dollars to the left of the preprinted decimal point and cents to the right of it.

  • Leave blank any data field (except lines 1 and 10) with a value of zero.

  • Enter negative amounts using a minus sign (if possible). Otherwise, use parentheses.

  • Enter your name and EIN on all pages and attachments.

  • Staple multiple sheets in the upper left corner when filing.

Reconciling Forms 941-SS and W-3SS

The IRS matches amounts reported on your four quarterly Forms 941-SS with Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI amounts totaled on your yearly Form W-3SS, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements. If the amounts do not agree, you may be contacted by the IRS or SSA. The following amounts are reconciled.

  • Social security wages.

  • Social security tips.

  • Medicare wages and tips.

Use Schedule D (Form 941) to explain certain wage, tax, and payment discrepancies between Forms 941-SS and Forms W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, W-2VI, W-3SS, and W-2c that were caused by acquisitions, statutory mergers, or consolidations. For more information, see the Instructions for Schedule D (Form 941). Also see Rev. Proc. 2004-53 for more information. You can find Rev. Proc. 2004-53 on page 320 of I.R.B. 2004-34 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb04-34.pdf.

Where Should You File?

Mail Form 941-SS to:

Without a payment With a payment
Internal Revenue Service 
P.O. Box 409101 
Ogden, UT 84409
Internal Revenue Service 
P.O. Box 37941 
Hartford, CT 06176-7941

Your filing address may have changed from that used to file your employment tax return in prior years. Do not send Form 941-SS or any payments to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Private delivery services cannot deliver to P.O. boxes.

Depositing Your Taxes

The IRS has issued regulations under section 6302 which provide that you must deposit all depository taxes electronically by electronic funds transfers. For more information about electronic funds transfers, see Federal tax deposits must be made by electronic funds transfer under Reminders.

Must You Deposit Your Taxes?

You may have to deposit both the employer and employee social security taxes and Medicare taxes.

  • If your total taxes (line 10) are less than $2,500 for the current quarter or the preceding quarter, and you did not incur a $100,000 next-day deposit obligation during the current quarter. You do not have to make a deposit. To avoid a penalty, you must pay the amount in full with a timely filed return or you must deposit the amount timely. For more information on paying with a timely filed return, see the instructions for line 12, later. If you are not sure your total tax liability for the current quarter will be less than $2,500, (and your liability for the preceding quarter was not less than $2,500), make deposits using the semiweekly or monthly rules so you won't be subject to failure to deposit penalties.

  • If your total taxes (line 10) are $2,500 or more for the current quarter and the preceding quarter. You must make deposits according to your deposit schedule. See section 8 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for information and rules about federal tax deposits.

You may reduce your deposits during the quarter by the amount of the COBRA premium assistance credit that will be reflected on your Form 941-X, only if you use the claim process and not the adjustment process to claim the COBRA premium assistance credit on your Form 941-X for the quarter.

The COBRA premium assistance credit is treated as a credit on the first day of the return period (that is, January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1). However, because the credit is now claimed on Form 941-X filed AFTER submission of the Form 941-SS, an employer that reduces its required deposits in anticipation of the credit will receive a system-generated notice reflecting a balance due and associated penalties and interest, if applicable. The balance due, including any related penalties and interest, resulting from the reduction in deposits in anticipation of the credit will be abated when the credit is applied. Such abatement will generally occur without any further action from the employer.

Alternatively, to prevent triggering a system-generated balance due notice, the employer can make its deposits without a reduction in anticipation of the COBRA premium assistance credit and follow the ordinary procedures for filing a claim for refund or adjusted return using Form 941-X.

When Must You Deposit Your Taxes?

Determine If You are a Monthly or Semiweekly Schedule Depositor for the Quarter

The IRS uses two different sets of deposit rules to determine when businesses must deposit their social security and Medicare taxes. These schedules tell you when a deposit is due after you have a payday.

Your deposit schedule is not determined by how often you pay your employees. Your deposit schedule depends on the total tax liability you reported on Form 941-SS during the previous four-quarter lookback period (July 1 of the second preceding calendar year through June 30 of the preceding calendar year). See section 8 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for details. If you filed Form 944 in either 2012 or 2013, your lookback period is the 2012 calendar year.

Before the beginning of each calendar year, determine which type of deposit schedule you must use.

  • If you reported $50,000 or less in taxes during the lookback period, you are a monthly schedule depositor.

  • If you reported more than $50,000 of taxes during the lookback period, you are a semiweekly schedule depositor.

If you are a monthly schedule depositor and accumulate a $100,000 tax liability on any day during the deposit period, you become a semiweekly schedule depositor on the next day and remain so for at least the rest of the calendar year and for the following calendar year. See $100,000 Next-Day Deposit Rule in section 8 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for guidance.

What About Penalties and Interest?

Avoiding Penalties and Interest

You can avoid paying penalties and interest if you do all of the following.

  • Deposit or pay your taxes when they are due.

  • File your fully completed Form 941-SS on time.

  • Report your tax liability accurately.

  • Submit valid checks for tax payments.

  • Furnish accurate Forms W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI to employees.

  • File Form W-3SS and Copy A of Forms W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI with the Social Security Administration (SSA) on time and accurately.

Penalties and interest are charged on taxes paid late and returns filed late at a rate set by law. See section 8 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for details.

Use Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, to request abatement of assessed penalties or interest. Do not request abatement of assessed penalties or interest on Form 941-SS or Form 941-X.

A trust fund recovery penalty may apply if social security or Medicare taxes that must be withheld are not withheld or are not deposited or paid. Under this penalty, responsible persons become personally liable for payment of the taxes and are penalized an amount equal to the unpaid taxes. A responsible person can be an officer or employee of a corporation, a partner or employee of a partnership, an accountant, a volunteer director/trustee, an employee of a sole proprietorship, or any other person or entity that is responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over these taxes. See section 8 of Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for details.

Adjustment of Tax on Tips

If, by the 10th of the month after the month you received an employee's report on tips, you do not have enough employee funds available to withhold the employee's share of social security and Medicare taxes, you no longer have to collect it. Report the entire amount of these tips on line 5b (Taxable social security tips), line 5c (Taxable Medicare wages and tips), and, if the withholding threshold is met, line 5d (Taxable wages and tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding). Include as an adjustment on line 9 the total uncollected employee share of the social security and Medicare taxes.

Where Can You Obtain Forms?

See Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for information on ordering IRS forms by telephone, mail, or online. You may also be able to get some IRS forms at the addresses listed next.

American Samoa.

Tax Office, Executive Office Bldg., First Floor, Pago Pago, AS 96799.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

CNMI Social Security System Administrator, Saipan, 
MP 96960.

Guam.

Department of Revenue and Taxation, Government of Guam, Bldg. 13-1, Mariner Avenue, Barrigada, GU 96913.

U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bureau of Internal Revenue, 6115 Estate Smith Bay, St. Thomas, VI 00802.


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