Guide to Using the Right Payroll Forms for Small Business

All employers must know how to submit the correct payroll forms for small business tax filings. When you create a business of any size, you will need to submit multiple forms to the Internal Revenue Service.

However, keep in mind that companies of a certain size require you to fill out different forms. Filing the incorrect payroll forms can result in your business paying costly fines. A good way to avoid that is by referencing our guide below. We have broken down which payroll forms small businesses should use, when they are due, and why you need to use them.


Common Payroll Forms

Form 941 – The Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return reports several aspects of your business. It shows the number of employees, their wages and taxable tips, as well as the withheld federal income taxes. Of all the payroll forms for small business, Form 941 also documents Social Security, sick pay, and Medicare taxes.

Due dates: April 30, July 31, Oct. 31, and Jan. 31


Form 944 – An extremely small business may use Form 944 rather than Form 941. Form 944 is the Employer Annual Tax Return. A business should use the form if it has $1,000 or less in annual liabilities for Medicare, Social Security, and federal income taxes. The IRS must grant your company permission to use the form.

Due date: Jan. 31



Form 940 – The Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return allows companies to report the FUTA tax. Your company must pay FUTA taxes if you paid a minimum of $1,500 in wages in a quarter during the last two years. Your company pays these taxes quarterly, but it gets reported once per year.

Due date: Jan. 31


Form I-9 – When using payroll forms for small business taxes, you must include Form I-9 with your onboarding package. The form reports that an employee is eligible to work in the United States. Citizens and non-citizens must submit a Form I-9 before you can pay them. Unlike the other tax forms, the form does not have any set due date. The Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration requires that companies submit the form within three days of hiring a worker.


Form 8027 – Form 8027 is not a typical form. You only use the form if your company employs more than 10 workers on a standard business day. You will further only use it within industries where customers tip the workers. You should likely familiarize yourself with Form 8027 if you work in the hospitality or food service industries.

Due date: March 1 for paper filings, March 31 for electronic filings



Why Use Payroll Software?

Filing payroll forms for the first time can be overwhelming. One way to make it easier is finding nearby small business tax workshops. You can also invest in payroll software. The payroll software at Advanced Micro Solutions supports multiple federal payroll forms including Forms 940 and 941. Your company can also electronically file payroll forms for small business taxes, saving money and time.

Software Solutions from AMS

Our W-2 and 1099 Forms Filer is our only required platform. From there, users pick the services they need. Choose from the tools below to build out your customized accounting software.