How to File Form 941 for The First Quarter of 2021


April showers bring . . . IRS deadlines? Spring is here and it’s time to get ready for the first Form 941 deadline for 2021! As businesses prepare to file Form 941 for their first quarter, there are some IRS changes to adjust to. 

Here is everything you need to know about IRS updates, 2021 deadlines, penalties, and the best filing methods to keep your business IRS compliant this year.  

What is Form 941?

Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, is a tax form that allows employers to report the amounts withheld from their employees’ paychecks for income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes each quarter. Employers with one or more employees are required to file Form 941 every quarter.

What are the Form 941 Changes for 2021?

Because of all the recent changes with COVID-19 tax relief, Form 941 has been updated quite a few times over the past few quarters. Most recently, deferral options for social security taxes have prompted another IRS update. An August 2020 Presidential Memorandum announced that employers could defer employee portions of Social Security taxes between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. 

Now that this deferral period has come to a close, the IRS has revised Form 941 for 2021. Since Social Security deferrals were not extended into 2021, Form 941 no longer reports on deferral decisions for the first quarter of 2021. 

Form 941 Due Dates for 2021

Form 941 is due every quarter for year-round operating businesses. Here are the Form 941 due dates for 2021

  • 1st Quarter Form 941 Deadline: April 30, 2021
  • 2nd Quarter Form 941 Deadline: August 2, 2021
  • 3rd Quarter Form 941 Deadline: November 1, 2021
  • 4th Quarter Form 941 Deadline: January 31, 2022

Any due dates that fall on a holiday or weekend will be postponed to the next business day. 

Penalties for not filing Form 941 on time

The IRS penalizes businesses for missing the Form 941 deadline. There are fines and penalties associated with filing Form 941 and paying the employment taxes that go with it after the deadline. The IRS imposes Form 941 penalties based on how late the form is filed.

Late filing Form 941 results in a penalty of 5% of the total taxes owed for every month that your form is late. These 5% charges continue to accrue for 5 months after your missed deadline. The maximum penalty is 25% of the total amount owed. After penalties max out, the IRS has the option to seize your business’s assets.

Penalties for late employment tax payments increase the longer it takes for you to make your payment. For 1-5 day late payments, the IRS fines 2% of the total amount due. At 6-15 days, the penalty increases to 5%. After 16 days, you will be fined 10%. Finally, the IRS issues a warning and charges your business an additional 15% penalty which has to be paid immediately.

How to File Form 941 for 2021

Since employers have to file Form 941 every few months, it’s important to have a good filing process in place. The IRS recommends e-filing. Working with an IRS-authorized e-file provider is a foolproof way to meet IRS deadlines and avoid penalties. 

Advantages of E-filing Form 941 over Paper Filing

The IRS recommends that employers e-file Form 941 for quick processing and accuracy. There are plenty of benefits available for you when you choose to e-file tax forms. Below are the best benefits of e-filing:

  • Instant Filing Status
  • Quick Processing
  • No Paperwork
  • Record Keeping
  • Costs less when compared to paper filing

E-File Form 941 in minutes with ExpressEfile 

ExpressEfile is a cloud-based e-filing solution that makes Form 941 filing easy for small businesses. File 2021 Form 941 for the lowest price in the industry, starting at just $3.99/form. You’ll get automatic error checks, instant notifications on your return’s status, and friendly, U.S.-based support. 

E-file Form 941 for 2021 in 3 simple steps:

  1. Enter your Information
  2. Review and fix any mistakes
  3. Transmit directly to the IRS

Businesses can e-file the most up-to-date version of Form 941 for the first quarter of 2021 today!


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