2020 Federal tax deadlines for your small business

As the year begins, it’s time to close out your books and prepare for the looming 2020 tax filing deadlines. Between quarterly income tax filings and semiweekly payroll withholdings, for most businesses, it’s tax season all year.

Your small business tax checklist for 2020

Whether you’ve started your first company this year or you are a veteran entrepreneur, your business might be subject to a variety of federal taxes. Required tax filings depend on your industry, annual revenue, and the number of employees.

Employment tax

Payroll withholdings and unemployment tax payments are submitted semi-weekly or monthly depending on your filing status. Employers must document deposits and distribute year-end tax documents to employees.

Income tax

Most businesses and self-employed individuals must submit estimated tax payments quarterly and file an income tax return annually. Filing dates depend on whether you operate a corporation, partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship.

Sole proprietorships use the same tax schedule as individuals, so returns are due on April 15, 2020. If your business is a S corporation or a partnership,  the return is due on March 16, 2020. Corporations can have various tax filing deadlines, and it should be defined in your corporate resolution. 

Excise tax

Certain businesses, including manufacturers, retailers, and trucking companies, are subject to excise tax. Depending on industry-specific requirements, excise tax is paid monthly, quarterly, or annually.

The following deadlines are geared toward small businesses that follow a calendar-year reporting system. Additional information, including schedule modifications for fiscal-year tax filters, appears in IRS Publication 509.

Tax filings for wages and nonemployee compensation

By January 31, employers must distribute paper copies of appropriate tax forms to individuals who received cash payments during 2019, including wages, nonemployee compensation, dividends, royalties and profit-sharing distributions. Alternatively, electronic files can be delivered with the recipient’s consent. Additional copies must be submitted to the Social Security Administration at the same time. The January 31 deadline applies to the following tax documents:

• Forms 1097, 1098 and 1099
• Forms 3921 and 3922
• Forms W-2 and W-2G

Small businesses have until February 28 to send corresponding copies to the IRS. Employers may also be required to submit Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, and Form 8027, Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. For electronic filings, the deadline for these filings is extended until April 1.

Employment taxes and payroll withholdings

Based on tax liability as reported on Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, small businesses must deposit employment taxes monthly or semi-weekly. Items subject to this requirement include federal income tax, federal unemployment (FUTA) tax and Social Security/Medicare (FICA) withholdings.

Additionally, employers must report their payroll withholdings quarterly or annually using IRS Form 941, 943, 944 or 945. Key deadlines for Form 941 are April 30, July 31, October 30 and January 29, 2021. All other forms in the 940 series are due on the last day of the first month after the end of the calendar year:

•Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
• Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees
• Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return
• Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax

Income tax returns for partnerships and S corporations

If your business is classified as a partnership or an S corporation, you must submit your tax return on March 16 or the 15th day of the third month after the end of your organization’s tax year. Partnerships must complete Form 1065, which is used to generate a Schedule K-1 earnings statement for each partner. For S corporations, Form 1120S is needed to prepare the Schedule K-1.

Partnerships and S corporations may request a six-month extension by submitting Form 7004 along with a deposit equal to the amount of estimated tax owed. In this case, the annual tax return along with interest and penalties will be due on September 15.

Corporate income tax returns

Companies have until April 15, 2020 to submit corporate tax returns for income received in 2019. Businesses may use Form 1120 or request a six-month extension by filing Form 7004 and submitting a deposit for the amount of estimated tax owed. The first quarterly estimated tax payment of the year is also due on this date.

If your business requests an extension, you have until October 15 to submit your income tax return using Form 1120. You’ll be required to pay penalties, interest, and any remaining tax at that time.

2020 Tax filing deadlines for estimated income tax

Businesses must calculate their quarterly income tax liability using the worksheet Form 1120-W. Quarterly estimated income tax payments for corporations are due on the following dates:

• First quarter: April 15
• Second quarter: June 15
• Third quarter: September 15
• Fourth quarter: December 15

Federal excise tax requirements for small businesses

This guide includes an overview of the 2020 tax filing deadlines that apply to small businesses. Your company may also qualify for tax credits and deductions on essential expenses, such as business insurance, which may reduce your tax burden. If you have specific questions about when to file taxes in 2020, additional information is available online through the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

Find more information about when to file taxes 2020

Federal excise taxes apply to a number of different products and industries. Filing requirements vary depending on the nature of your business.

• Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, applies to retailers, manufacturers, communications companies, and travel services. It’s filed quarterly, with this year’s due dates falling on April 30, July 31, October 30, and January 29, 2021.

• Companies that accept wagers must file Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering, before accepting any bets, and Form 730 for every subsequent month.

• Companies that operate heavy highway vehicles must file Form 2290 by the last day of the vehicle’s first month of service. For subsequent filings, the excise tax period begins on July 1 and ends on June 30.