General Instructions:Understanding Form 944-X

What Is the Purpose of Form 944-X?

Use Form 944-X to correct errors on a previously filed Form 944. Use Form 944-X to correct:

  • Wages, tips, and other compensation;

  • Income tax withheld from wages, tips, and other compensation;

  • Taxable social security wages;

  • Taxable social security tips;

  • Taxable Medicare wages and tips;

  • Taxable wages and tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding;

  • Advance earned income credit (EIC) payments made to employees (for years ending before January 1, 2011);

  • Credits for COBRA premium assistance payments;

  • Credit for qualified employer's share of social security tax on wages/tips paid to qualified employees March 19–31, 2010; and

  • Exemption for qualified employer's share of social security tax on wages/tips paid to qualified employees April 1–December 31, 2010.

Use Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, to request a refund or abatement of assessed interest or penalties. Do not request abatement of assessed interest or penalties on Form 944 or Form 944-X.

We use the terms “correct” and “corrections” on Form 944-X and in these instructions to include interest-free adjustments under sections 6205 and 6413 and claims for refund and abatement under sections 6402, 6414, and 6404. See Rev. Rul. 2009-39 for examples of how the interest-free adjustment and claim for refund rules apply in 10 different situations. You can find Rev. Rul. 2009-39, 2009-52 I.R.B. 951, at www.irs.gov/irb/2009-52_IRB/ar14.html.

When you discover an error on a previously filed Form 944, you must:

  • Correct that error using Form 944-X,

  • File a separate Form 944-X for each Form 944 that you are correcting, and

  • File Form 944-X separately. Do not file Form 944-X with  
    Form 944.

If you did not file a Form 944 for one or more years for which you should have filed Form 944, do not use Form 944-X. Instead, file Form 944 for each of those years. See also When Should You File Form 944-X, later. However, if you did not file Forms 944 because you improperly treated workers as independent contractors or nonemployees and are now reclassifying them as employees, see the instructions for line 23, later.

Report the correction of underreported and overreported amounts for the same year on a single Form 944-X, unless you are requesting a refund or abatement. If you are requesting a refund or abatement and you are correcting both underreported and overreported amounts, file one Form 944-X correcting the underreported amounts only and a second Form 944-X correcting the overreported amounts.

You will use the adjustment process if you underreported employment taxes and are making a payment, or if you overreported employment taxes and will be applying the credit to Form 944 for the period during which you file Form 944-X. However, see the Caution under Is There a Deadline for Filing Form 944-X, later, if you are correcting overreported amounts during the last 90 days of a period of limitations. You will use the claim process if you overreported employment taxes and are requesting a refund or abatement of the overreported amount. Follow the chart on the back of Form 944-X for help in choosing whether to use the adjustment process or the claim process. Be sure to give us a detailed explanation on line 24 for each correction that you show on Form 944-X.

Continue to report current year adjustments for fractions of cents, third-party sick pay, tips, and group-term life insurance on Form 944, line 6.

You have additional requirements to complete when filing Form 944-X, such as certifying that you filed (or will file) all applicable Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Forms W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statements. For corrections of overreported federal income tax, social security or Medicare tax, you must make any certifications that apply to your situation.

Be sure to give us a detailed explanation on line 24 for each correction you show on Form 944-X.

Do not use Form 944-X to correct Form CT-1, 941, 941-SS, 943, or 945. Instead, use the “X” form that corresponds to those forms (Form CT-1 X, 941-X, 943-X, or 945-X).

Where Can You Get Help?

For help filing Form 944-X or for questions about federal employment taxes and tax corrections, you can:

  • Call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line toll-free at 1-800-829-4933 or 1-800-829-4059 (TDD/TTY for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability) Monday–Friday from 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. local time (Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific time),

  • Visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/businesses and click on the Employment Taxes link under Businesses Topics, or

  • See Pub. 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide, for correcting Form 944, or Pub. 80 (Circular SS), Federal Tax Guide for Employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, for correcting Form 944-SS.

See also How Can You Order Forms, Instructions, and Publications from the IRS, later.

When Should You File Form 944-X?

File Form 944-X when you discover an error on a previously filed Form 944.

However, if your only errors on Form 944 relate to federal tax liabilities reported in Part 2 of Form 944 or on Form 945-A, Annual Record of Federal Tax Liability, do not file Form 944-X. To correct federal tax liabilities reported in Part 2 of Form 944, file Form 945-A, but only enter the monthly totals. The daily entries are not required. For more information about correcting federal tax liabilities reported on Form 945-A, see the Form 945-A instructions.

Due dates.   The due date for filing Form 944-X depends on when you discover an error and if you underreported or overreported tax. If you underreported tax, see Underreported tax below. For overreported amounts, you may choose to either make an interest-free adjustment or file a claim for refund or abatement. If you are correcting overreported amounts, see Overreported tax—adjustment process and Overreported tax—claim process below.

  If any due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you may file Form 944-X on the next business day. If we receive Form 944-X after the due date, we will treat Form 944-X as filed on time if the envelope containing Form 944-X 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 944-X filed when it is actually received. See Pub. 15 (Circular E) or Pub. 80 (Circular SS) for more information on legal holidays and IRS-designated private delivery services.

Underreported tax.   If you are correcting underreported tax, you must file Form 944-X by the due date of the return for the return period in which you discovered the error (January 31 of the following year) and pay the amount you owe by the time you file. Doing so will generally ensure that your correction is interest free and not subject to failure-to-pay or failure-to-deposit penalties. See What About Penalties and Interest, later. For details on how to make a payment, see the instructions for line 21, later.

  If Form 944-X is filed late (after the due date of the return for the return period in which you discovered the error), you must attach an amended Form 945-A to Form 944-X. Otherwise, the IRS may assess an “averaged” failure-to-deposit penalty. The tax reported on Form 945-A, line M, must match the corrected total tax (Form 944, line 7 (line 9 for years before 2011), combined with any correction reported on Form 944-X, line 18, minus any advance EIC reported on Form 944-X, line 19) for the year, less any previous abatements and interest-free tax assessments.

Example—You owe tax.

On February 11, 2013, you discovered that you underreported $1,000 of social security and Medicare wages on your 2012 Form 944. File Form 944-X and pay the amount you owe by January 31, 2014, because you discovered the error in 2013 and January 31, 2014, is the due date for that year. If you file Form 944-X before January 31, 2014, pay the amount you owe by the time you file.

Overreported tax—adjustment process.   If you overreported tax and choose to apply the credit on Form 944 or Form 941, file an adjusted return on Form 944-X soon after you discovered the error but more than 90 days before the period of limitations on the credit or refund for Form 944 expires. See Is There a Deadline for Filing Form 944-X, later.

Form 944-X cannot be used to correct overreported amounts of Additional Medicare Tax unless the amounts were not withheld from employee wages.

Example—You want your credit applied to Form 944.

You filed your 2013 Form 944 on January 31, 2014, and payments were timely made. On May 1, 2014, you discover that you overreported tax on your 2013 Form 944. You file Form 944-X on June 2, 2014. IRS treats your credit as a tax deposit made on January 1, 2014. When you file your 2014 Form 944, include the amount from Form 944-X, line 21, on the “Total deposits” line of your 2014 Form 944.

Overreported tax—claim process.   If you overreported tax on Form 944, you may choose to file a claim for refund or abatement on Form 944-X any time before the period of limitations on credit or refund expires. If you also need to correct any underreported amounts, you must file another Form 944-X reporting only corrections to the underreported amounts. See Is There a Deadline for Filing Form 944-X, later.

You may not file a refund claim to correct federal income tax or Additional Medicare Tax actually withheld from employees.

Is There a Deadline for Filing Form 944-X?

Generally, you may correct overreported taxes on a previously filed Form 944 if you file Form 944-X within 3 years of the date Form 944 was filed or 2 years from the date you paid the tax reported on Form 944, whichever is later. You may correct underreported taxes on a previously filed Form 944 if you file Form 944-X within 3 years of the date the Form 944 was filed. We call each of these time frames a “period of limitations.” For purposes of the period of limitations, Form 944 is considered filed on April 15 of the succeeding year if filed before that date.

Example.

You filed your 2010 Form 944 on January 27, 2011, and payments were timely made. The IRS treats the return as if it were filed on April 15, 2011. On January 22, 2014, you discovered that you overreported social security and Medicare wages on that form by $350. To correct the error, you must file Form 944-X by April 15, 2014, which is the end of the period of limitations, and use the claim process.

If you file Form 944-X to correct overreported amounts in the last 90 days of a period of limitations (after January 15, 2014, in the example above), you must use the claim process. You cannot use the adjustment process. If you are also correcting underreported amounts, you must file another Form 944-X to correct the underreported amounts using the adjustment process and pay any tax due.

Where Should You File Form 944-X?

Send your completed Form 944-X to the address shown below.

IF you are in THEN use this address
Special filing addresses for exempt organizations; federal, state, and local governmental entities; and Indian tribal governmental entities; regardless of location Department of the Treasury  
Internal Revenue Service  
Ogden, UT 84201-0044
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service  
Cincinnati, OH 45999-0044
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service  
Ogden, UT 84201-0044
No legal residence or principal place of business in any state Internal Revenue Service  
P.O. Box 409101  
Ogden, UT 84409

How Should You Complete Form 944-X?

Use a Separate Form 944-X for Each Year You Are Correcting

Use a separate Form 944-X for each Form 944 you are correcting. For example, if you found errors on your Forms 944 for 2012 and 2013, file one Form 944-X to correct the 2012 Form 944. File a second Form 944-X to correct the 2013 Form 944.

EIN, Name, and Address

Enter your EIN, name, and address in the spaces provided. Also enter your name and EIN on the tops of pages 2 and 3, and on any attachments. If your address has changed since you filed your Form 944, enter the corrected information and the IRS will update your address of record. Be sure to write your name, EIN, Form 944-X, and calendar year on the top of any attachments.

Return You Are Correcting

In the box at the top of Form 944-X, page 1, check the type of return (Form 944 or Form 944-SS) you are correcting. Enter the calendar year of the Form 944 you are correcting. Enter the calendar year on pages 2 and 3 in the box marked “Correcting calendar year.” Be sure to write your name, EIN, Form 944-X, and calendar year on the top of any attachments.

Enter the Date You Discovered Errors

You must enter the date you discovered errors. You discover an error when you have enough information to be able to correct the error. If you are reporting several errors you discovered at different times, enter the earliest date you discovered an error here. Report any subsequent dates and related errors on line 24.

Must You Make an Entry on Each Line?

You must provide all of the information requested at the top of Form 944-X, page 1. You must check one box (but not both) in Part 1. In Part 2, you must check the box on line 3 and any applicable boxes on lines 4 and 5. In Part 3, if any line does not apply, leave it blank. Complete Parts 4 and 5 as instructed.

How Should You Report Negative Amounts?

Form 944-X uses negative numbers to show reductions in tax (credits) and positive numbers to show additional tax (amounts you owe).

When reporting a negative amount in columns 3 and 4, use a minus sign instead of parentheses. For example, enter “-10.59” instead of “(10.59).” However, if you are completing the return on your computer and your software only allows you to use parentheses to report negative amounts, you may use them.

How Should You Make Entries on Form 944-X?

You can help the IRS process Form 944-X timely and accurately if you follow these guidelines.

  • Type or print your entries.

  • Use Courier font (if possible) for all typed or computer-generated entries.

  • Omit dollar signs. You may use commas and decimal points, if desired. Enter dollar amounts to the left of any preprinted decimal point and cents to the right of it.

  • Always show an amount for cents. Do not round entries to whole dollars.

  • Complete all three pages and sign Form 944-X on page 3.

  • Staple multiple sheets in the upper-left corner.

What About Penalties and Interest?

Generally, your correction of an underreported amount will not be subject to a failure-to-pay penalty, failure-to-deposit penalty, or interest if you:

  • Enter the date you discovered the error,

  • Explain in detail the grounds and facts relied on to support the correction,

  • File on time (by the due date of Form 944 for the year in which you discover the error) and,

  • Pay the amount shown on line 21 by the time you file Form 944-X.

No correction will be eligible for interest-free treatment if any of the following apply.

  • The amounts underreported relate to an issue that was raised in an examination of a prior period.

  • You knowingly underreported your employment tax liability.

  • You received a notice and demand for payment.

  • You received a Notice of Determination of Worker Classification.

If you receive a notice about a penalty after you file this return, reply to the notice with an explanation and we will determine if you meet reasonable-cause criteria. Do not attach an explanation when you file your return.

Overview of the Process

The process to correct a previously filed Form 944 or to file a claim is outlined below.

If you underreported the tax.

If you underreported the tax on a previously filed Form 944, check the box on line 1 and pay any additional amount you owe by the time you file Form 944-X. For details on how to make a payment, see the instructions for line 21, later.

Example—You underreported employment taxes.

On June 20, 2013, you discovered an error that results in additional tax on your 2012 Form 944. File Form 944-X by January 31, 2014, and pay the amount you owe by the time you file. See When Should You File Form 944-X, earlier. Do not attach Form 944-X to your 2013 Form 944.

If you overreported the tax.

If you overreported the tax on a previously filed Form 944, choose one of the following options.

  • Use the adjustment process. Check the box on line 1 to apply any credit (negative amount) from line 21 to Form 944 for the year during which you file Form 944-X.

  • Use the claim process. Check the box on line 2 to file a claim on Form 944-X requesting a refund or abatement of the amount shown on line 21.

To ensure the IRS has enough time to process a credit for an overreporting adjustment in the year in which you file Form 944-X, you are encouraged to file Form 944-X correcting the overreported amount in the first 11 months of a year. For example, if you discover an overreported amount in December, you may want to file Form 944-X during the first 11 months of the next year. This should ensure the IRS will have enough time to process the Form 944-X so the credit will be posted before you file Form 944, thus avoiding an erroneous balance due notice from the IRS. See the example below.

If you currently file Form 941 instead of Form 944 and will claim a credit on Form 941, file Form 944-X in the first 2 months of a quarter in any quarter before the expiration of the period of limitations on Form 944. In the year of the expiration of the period of limitations on Form 944, file Form 944-X at least 90 days before the expiration date.

Example—You want your overreported tax applied as a credit on Form 944.

On December 18, 2014, you discover you overreported your tax on your 2013 Form 944 and want to choose the adjustment process. To allow the IRS enough time to process the credit, you file Form 944-X on January 2, 2015, and take the credit on your 2015 Form 944.


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