By BarbaraWeltman, Reprinted from the U.S. Small Business Administration
As an employer, you have various tax-reporting responsibilities. These responsibilities have expanded. What’s more, the deadlines for some filings have or will be changed. Here’s what you need to know.
You must furnish to every employee who worked for your company during the year a statement of wages and certain benefits on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. You also have to send copies of all your W-2s to the Social Security Administration so it can log employees’ work credits for purposes of Social Security and Medicare eligibility.
Reporting for 2015 wages in 2016. The W-2 must be furnished to each employee or former employee no later than February 1, 2016. This deadline applies whether you give employees a paper form or send it to them electronically (after obtaining their prior permission to receive the form in this manner). You must send copies of all your W-2s, along with a transmittal, IRS Form W-3 (Form W-3SS if filing paper copies), to the Social Security Administration. The deadline for paper forms is February 29, 2016. The deadline for electronic submissions is March 31, 2016.
Reporting for 2016 wages in 2017. The form is the same. What’s different is your filing deadline. You must furnish the form to the employee or former employee and submit copies, along with the transmittal, to the Social Security Administration on the same date: January 31, 2017. This filing deadline applies whether you submit copies on paper or electronically.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers have a new reporting obligation for health coverage in 2015. The purpose of providing information returns to employees is to enable them to determine their eligibility for the premium tax credit and whether they owe the shared responsibility payment for not having required minimum essential health coverage.
Employers with 50 or more employees must provide Form 1095-C to employees. They must also transmit copies of the forms, along with Form 1094-C, to the IRS. Employers with 50 to 99 employees use these forms even though they have no penalty for not providing coverage for full-time employees and their dependents in 2015. Smaller employers who have self-insured plans (e.g., health reimbursement arrangements) use Form 1095-B and 1094-B. If these smaller employers only have coverage for staff with insurance, there is no filing obligation; the insurer completes the form.
Deadline delayed. The filing deadlines for the forms and transmittal technically is the same as those for W-2s. However, because this is the first year of mandatory reporting, the IRS has postponed the deadline. The applicable forms must be furnished to employees by March 31, 2016 (instead of February 1, 2016). They must be submitted to the IRS by May 31, 2016 (instead of February 29, 2016) if filed by paper, or June 30, 2016 (instead of March 31, 2016).
For information returns about 2016 coverage that are due in 2017, the same deadline for W-2s will apply (assuming the IRS does not again extend the deadline).
Penalties. If you fail to meet the deadlines, you can be penalized. However, the IRS has said it will consider whether you’ve taken reasonable steps to meet reporting requirements when determining whether to abate penalties.
940, 941, etc.
February 1, 2016 (January 31 is on a Sunday) is the deadline for submitting other employer filings:
- Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
- Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
- Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees
- Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return, which can be filed by small employers who have been notified by the IRS that they qualify to file this form rather than the quarterly 941
There are also state-level filings for employers. Check the requirements and due dates of these filings for your state.
If you fail to file on time, you can be penalized. However, the quicker you remedy the delinquency, the smaller the penalty will be.
If you handle payroll responsibilities in-house, make sure to mark your calendar for all filing obligations. If you use a CPA or outside payroll service, make sure that your required forms have been submitted on a timely basis.