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What is IRS Form 944?

Written by: Chase Charaba
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Published on July 27, 2022.

If you’re a small business owner, you may have received a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that you must file Form 9441.

This is standard practice for smaller organizations that need to report their tax obligations, such as income and federal payroll taxes that you withhold from your employees’ paychecks. But, what is Form 944, and why is it necessary for your organization?

In this article, we’ll explain what IRS Form 944 is, how it works, and who needs to file one.

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What is IRS Form 944?

Tax form I-944 is used to report your organization’s federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax that’s been withheld from your employees. It’s also used to calculate your employment taxes.

This form replaces Form 941 for some small businesses, allowing you to file annually instead of quarterly.

Form 944 allows you to report the following information:

  • Employee wages
  • Employee tips
  • Federal income tax withheld
  • Employer and employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Adjustments to Social Security and Medicare wages and tips, including sick leave wages and group-term life insurance
  • Qualified small business payroll tax credit for research activities
  • Credits for sick and family leave wages
  • Employee retention credit
  • COBRA premium credit
  • Advances received from Form 7200

Who must file Form 944?

Form 944 is only available to organizations with $1,000 or less in annual liability for employment taxes.

You must file the form if you received a notice from the IRS to use Form 944 to report your federal income taxes. If you were notified that you’re eligible to file Form 944, but aren’t required to, then you can elect to file it instead of Form 941.

However, if the IRS didn’t notify you, you must complete Form 941. Most organizations will complete and file Form 941.

When starting a business, owners can estimate whether they believe they’ll have $1,000 or less in annual tax liability when applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

There are a few exceptions for small businesses to be aware of.

You aren’t eligible for Form 944, even if you have $1,000 or less in annual federal income tax liability, if:

  • You employ only household employees
  • You employ only agricultural employees

If you believe that you should be eligible for Form 944, you can contact the IRS to request the change. Additionally, if you’ve exceeded the $1,000 limit and were told to file the form by the IRS, you must continue to file Form 944 until told otherwise in writing.

Determining which form to file is essential for ensuring you’re making tax deposits on time.

Do I have to file Form 944 if I have no employees?

Yes, you must file Form 944 if the IRS has notified you in writing that you must submit one—even if you have no employees. In this case, you’ll fill out the form to the best of your ability, skipping over the sections that apply to withheld wages.

How to file Form 944

Now that we’ve covered what Form 944 is, let’s discuss how to file the form. The IRS has complete instructions on their instructions1 page. You can find the current version2 of the form on the IRS website.

You’ll file the form in January following the tax year. For example, for 2022 taxes, you’ll file in January 2023.

1. Fill in your primary business information

Start by filling in your basic information. You’ll need to provide your EIN (if you don’t have an EIN, you need to apply for one from the IRS), the official name of your business, and your trade name or DBA if you have one. You’ll also need to provide your business address.

Once you’ve completed the basic information, you can move on to the next section.

2. Complete Part 1

In box 1, you’ll supply the total number of wages, tips, and compensation paid to your employees for the tax year.

In box two, write the amount of federal income tax withheld from employees’ wages, tips, and other income. Remember, you’ll need to count any taxable employee benefits you’ve provided to your workers, such as employee stipends.

Next, you need to calculate Social Security wages and Medicare wages to determine your employment tax liability. If you don’t have any wages subject to withholding, check the box and skip to line 5. Otherwise, you’ll input the amount for each type of income and multiply that amount by the listed numbers to get the total in column 2.

Total the amount in column 2 and add this value to box 4e.

Now you’ll complete the other boxes in Part 1, using lines 2 and 4e to determine the total taxes before adjustments. You’ll add boxes 5 and 6 to get your total taxes after adjustments in box 7.

Subtract any tax credits or tax deposits you’ve already made for the year in boxes 9 and 10. Enter the difference in box 11 if box 9 is larger than box 10 to determine your tax liability for the year. This is the amount you must pay to the IRS. If box 10 is larger than box 9, you’ve paid more in taxes than you owe. This means you’ll need to fill in box 12 to indicate you either need a tax refund or to have the amount withheld from your next return.

3. Complete Part 2

Part 2 of the form asks you to report your organization’s deposit schedule and tax liability. First, check whether line 9 in Part 1 is less than $2,500 or not.

If this value is less than $2,500, skip this section and go to Part 3. If line 9 is greater than $2,500, enter your tax liability for each month.

4. Complete Part 3

Part 3 asks if your business is closed or if you stopped paying wages for your employees. If these situations apply, check the box and fill in the final date you paid employees. Otherwise, leave this section blank.

5. Complete Part 4

Part 4 asks if you’d like to grant the IRS permission to speak with a third-party designee. This could be an employee, tax-preparer, or CPA, or someone else you would like to allow the IRS to speak to regarding your Form 944 return.

6. Complete Part 5

This is the final section of the form. You’ll sign your name and review the form to ensure the information is accurate and complete.

Where do I send Form 944?

Where your organization is located determines where you’ll send your completed Form 944. The amount of taxes you owe will also determine whether or not you need to send payment when you file.

You must make a payment to the IRS when submitting Form 944 if your net federal taxes are less than $2,500, if you’ve deposited taxes owed quarterly and owe less than $2,500 for Q4, or if you deposit taxes monthly and owe less than $100 or 2% of the total tax due, whichever is greater.

You have a few options to submit payment:

  • Fill out Form 944-V, or Form 944 payment voucher, to pay by mail
  • Pay online through a tax-preparation software, tax professional, or e-file providers

To submit Form 944 with a payment, you’ll either send the form to IRS offices in Cincinnati or Louisville, depending on your state. If you’re submitting Form 944 without payment, you can send it to IRS offices in Kansas City or Ogden, Utah, depending on your state. You can also always use electronic filing methods through your tax-preparer or software.

State

Where to send Form 944 without payment

Where to send Form 944 with payment

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, 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

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 932100

Louisville, KY

40293-2100

Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, 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

Kansas City, MO

64999-0044

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 806532

Cincinnati, OH

45280-6532

What if I made a mistake on Form 944?

To correct a mistake on Form 944, submit Form 944-X3: Adjusted Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return. On this form, choose whether you’re making an adjustment or a claim (if you overreported taxes and need a refund). Follow the instructions on the form to ensure proper compliance.

Conclusion

IRS Form 944’s yearly deposit schedule is an excellent alternative to Form 941’s quarterly or monthly deposits for income tax withholdings. Small businesses can better manage and understand their annual employment tax liability while reducing administrative tasks.

Remember, you must use the correct form for your organization. You can only file this form to the IRS if you’ve been told in writing that you either must submit the form or that you’re eligible to file. Otherwise, you must use Form 941.

We recommend contacting your tax adviser or CPA to help you determine which form and deposit schedule to use.

1. https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i944

2. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f944.pdf

3. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f944x.pdf

Originally published on July 27, 2022. Last updated July 27, 2022.
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