Whether it’s hung on a wall or in a mobile app, pull out your calendar: It’s time to write down 2021’s small business tax deadlines.
I have to admit, my life revolves around my calendar. If something’s not written down, it doesn’t happen. That’s why I researched these important small business tax deadlines and added them to my work calendar, complete with online notifications. With the additional reminders, I’m less likely to miss a deadline. It also helps me plan things ahead, which when you're a small business owner, can be crucial for time management.
Now it’s your turn—these are the small business tax deadlines and dates you need to write down, links to the forms you'll need, and some other general info. As a reminder--I'm a small business owner myself, but I am not a tax expert. If you have any questions about how to file, we suggest seeking out the help of a tax expert or accountant.
If you pay quarterly estimated taxes, this is the deadline for the fourth quarter of the tax year 2020. Usually, this includes individuals, sole proprietors, partners, or S-corporations
If you're not sure what type of business entity to file as, this may be a good time to consult with an accountant and/or the bank that you're using for your small business.
However, if you're an individual sole proprietor, you can wait until 01-31-2021. And we know that sometimes, it makes more sense to wait. But if you can aim for the 15th, then it may relieve some stress to give yourself the leeway.
If you have employees or independent contractors working for you, then this is a particularly good date to note for tax purposes
If you have employees, this is when you need to send out W-2 forms and file them with Social Security. These are usually due January 31st but this year, since that date falls on a Sunday, they're due February 1st. We recommend sending out W-2 forms to employees in early January so they have time to fill them out and get them back to you. Before doing this, you may want to check with your employees to make sure the information on their W-4 Forms is updated, so that the information on their W-2 Forms reflects their current and correct information.
You can either post W-2 forms on a secure company website or mail them directly to employees. You'll need 2 copies of the W-2--one will go to Social Security and one will be filled out by your employee.
If you have independent contractors working for you, then you'll have to issue them a 1099-NEC Form. Keep in mind that both Copy A and Copy B are due to the IRS at the time time.
If you have independent contractors working for you, There’s a difference between employees and independent contractors, especially when it comes to taxes, and it can be a little fuzzy to understand (or remember) that difference. If you need a refresher, check out what the IRS has to say.
Side-note: If you have employees, don’t forget to get a business insurance plan this year. You’ll want a good workers compensation plan that can help if one of your employees gets sick or injured on the job.
You’ll also need to file Form 945 to report income tax withheld for 2020 on all non-payroll items, like pensions, annuities, IRAs, etc.
It’s best to check with an accountant about any other forms that might be due. For example, some small employers and farmers need to file Form 943 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2020.
You may be required to deliver a 1099-MISC if you are paper filing. If that's the case, then the deadline for paper filing is March 01. You can however submit by March 31st if you are late filing by paper or decide to file electronically. Copy A goes to the IRS and Copy B goes to the recipient.
If your business is a partnership or S-corporation, this is a date to look out for. March 15 is when you need to file your tax documents. Fortunately, you can grab the forms here
Businesses like yours don’t pay income tax. Instead, income and losses get passed on to the partners, owners, and stakeholders. This means that if you file a Form 1065 to the IRS, you also need to send out Schedule K-1s to every partner or shareholder
If your business did have a loss in 2020, business insurance can help. Depending on your line of work, you may want a general liability or professional liability plan. General liability insurance covers bodily injuries, third-party property damage, and medical expenses, while professional liability insurance covers lawyer fees and the costs of unwanted claims.
Need an extension? With reason, you can push it until September 15, 2021. But no later.
Note: On March 17th, 2021, the IRS announced an extension to the filing deadline to accommodate a backlog of work.
If you’re a sole proprietor, it’s time to pay the first quarter of 2021's estimated taxes. It helps to get on a regular quarterly schedule because this deadline doesn’t change—it’s always the same month and day of the year. You’ll also need to file and pay your 2020 taxes using one of the following forms: form 1040, form 1040-A, or 1040-EZ.
If you own a C-corporation, this is your deadline for filing and paying taxes using Form 1120.
And if you need an extension, it can be filed using Form 7004 here.
Each state has its own tax deadlines and some may be impacted by COVID-19. You can see if your state is affected and what that means for your deadline here. This is another area where you can ask an accountant or tax professional for state-specific guidelines and protocol.
Half the year has passed! If you’re an individual, sole proprietor, partner or S-corporation, remember to pay the second quarter of 2021 estimated taxes.
Individuals may use Form 1040-ES found here.
Heads up. The third quarter of 2020 estimated taxes are due on September 15, 2021. If your business is an S-corporation or partnership, and you filed for a tax deadline extension, you’ll need to file Form 1120-S now.
If you're an individual, file Form 1040-ES here.
If you're a partnership, file Form 1065 here.
Sometimes we need more time. If you own a C-corporation or if you’re an individual or sole proprietor who asked for a tax deadline extension, the time has come and the new deadline is here. Fill out the forms below and pay what’s due.
There may not be any formal deadlines this month, but now is a great time to mark your calendar and put aside time to plan for 2022. It never hurts to get a head start and since you're doing the work now, by the time this date rolls around, you'll see what I mean!
If your business is a corporation, remember to pay the fourth quarter estimated taxes by this date.
Happy New Year! If you’re a sole proprietor or individual, remember to pay the fourth quarter of 2021 estimated taxes by the 15th.
You’re not alone. Being a small business owner is a lot of work and can get chaotic. Like I said, there's a reason why I have to put everything in my calendar!
Luckily, the IRS does everything possible to help you manage your taxes. Some of the tools they offer are:
Above all else, I have a great accountant who emails me her own reminders too. No matter how busy I am, it’s tough to forget to file.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
Emily writes on a number of topics such as entrepreneurship, small business networking, and budgeting.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
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