SOI Tax Stats — Payroll Tax Statistics


The table in this section presents payroll tax information reported on Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return. The data for this table are based on the population of Form 941 returns received and processed by the IRS, shown as reported by the taxpayer before IRS examination.

A substantial majority of employers file Form 941. However, the IRS also collects payroll tax information from employers through the following IRS Forms:

  • Form 943 – used by employers of farm employees; this form is filed annually.
  • Form 944 – used by the smallest employers (those whose annual liability for social security, Medicare, and withheld federal income taxes is $1,000 or less); this form is also filed annually.
  • Form CT-1, Employer's Annual Railroad Retirement Tax Return

The table presented in this section represents SOI's first effort to aggregate and report on payroll tax statistics. Future work is planned to extend the years of Form 941 information presented, and to add tables that reflect data drawn from the population of Forms 943 and Forms 944 filed. Due to privacy and disclosure review concerns, SOI is unlikely to publish similar information for Form CT-1 as it is filed by a very small group of employers.

While the majority of employers file Form 941, the number of returns received in any particular quarter does not equate to the number of employers. Third party payors, such as approved agents (as defined under IRC § 3504) or certified professional employer organizations (as defined under IRC § 7705) may file aggregate Forms 941 on behalf of multiple employers.

How are disclosure risks handled?

Based on the guidelines and rules in IRS Publication 1075, Tax Information Security Guidelines for Federal, State and Local Agencies, the population of Forms 941 selected for this tabulation is in the millions and an acceptable number of administrative records to protect the confidentiality of the entities which filed these forms each quarter. In addition, the money amounts are rounded to millions.

Which administrative records are excluded from these tables?

Excluded from the table are the following forms: Form 941-SS, Form 941-X, Form 941 (PR), Form 941-X (PR), Form 943, Form 943-X, Form 943 (PR), Form 943-X (PR), Form 944, Form 944-SS, Form 944-X, Form 944 (PR), Form 944-X (PR), Form 944 (SP), Form 944-X (SP) , Form 945, Form 945-X, Form 1042, Form CT-1, and Form CT-1X.

Table 1. Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, Selected Items