What tax forms do small businesses have to file?

Editorial Team

4 min read
Two people completing forms

Starting a business potentially means more freedom, control, and hopefully revenue. It also means taking on a lot more paperwork and legal responsibilities. Taxes are one of those responsibilities for which business owners must prepare each year (and sometimes, each quarter).

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To avoid unwanted penalties and fines, it’s important to stay on top of small business tax filing requirements. If you’re not sure what is required and when forms are due, use the list below to stay on top of these deadlines.

11 common small business tax forms

Below are 11 of the most common tax forms for small business owners. Understanding how these forms work – and why they exist – will help save you a lot of headaches.

1. Form W-2

Due by January 31st, Form W-2 is where you report each employee’s wages for the previous year plus how much federal tax you withheld from each of these paychecks. Note, however, that you don’t send these forms to the IRS. Instead, you send them to your employees who then use them to report their income taxes.

2. Form W-4

Your employees are responsible for filling out Form W-4 as part of your new hire onboarding process. This form reports employee information including dependent-related allowances, if their spouse works, and how much tax you should withhold from each paycheck. W-4s are normally due by February 15th; however, employees may need to update their forms as their life situations change.

3. Form 940 & 941/Schedule B

Due by February 1st, Form 940 determines how much you’re required to pay into unemployment insurance. By contrast, Form 941 indicates how much payroll and federal income taxes you withheld from employee paychecks. Also known as Schedule B, Form 941 must be filed quarterly at the ends of April, July, October, and January (for the last quarter of the previous year).

4. Form 1040

If you run a sole proprietorship, Form 1040 is where you report your business’s earnings and losses for the previous year. Also known as Schedule C, these small business tax forms are due on April 15th or whenever Tax Day is for that calendar year.

5. Form 1065

If you run a partnership or limited liability company (LLC), you use Form 1065 to report your business’s earnings, losses, credits, and deductions. This form is due on or before March 15th.

6. Form 1099

If you work with independent contractors as opposed to traditional W-2 employees, Form 1099 is where you report how much you paid for their services. You need to send these small business tax forms to each independent contractor by February 1st of the following calendar year.

7. Form 1120

If you run a corporation, as opposed to a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, Form 1120 is where you report your business’s earnings and losses from the previous calendar year. This form is due three months and 15 days after your business’s official “tax year.”

8. Form 8829

If you work from home (even part time), you can use Form 8829 to report deductible home office expenses such as utilities and rent. However, navigating these deductions may require consulting with a certified public accountant (CPA) or tax professional. Either way, Form 8829 is due by April 15th or whenever Tax Day is for that calendar year.

9. Form SS-4

This is the form you use to request an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. Your EIN is the business equivalent of an individual’s Social Security number. Though there is no official due date for requesting one, you’ll need an EIN for everything from opening a business banking account to hiring employees.

10. Schedule SE

If you’re self-employed, you use Schedule SE to determine your Medicare and Social Security contributions. These small business tax forms are typically due by April 15th or whenever the IRS sets its official Tax Day for the year.

11. Form 7004

Sometimes you can’t get your tax paperwork ready in time. When that happens, you can use Form 7004 to request a six-month filing extension. Just remember that you must submit this form prior to the tax deadline for that year, which is typically April 15th, to qualify.

Need help navigating these small business tax forms?

In addition to omnichannel payment processing, our POS systems can be customized to your business with accounting, payroll, and other software integrations in the Clover App Market  that can help streamline tax prep. Our solutions also come with detailed reporting and analytics, allowing you to quickly calculate earnings and losses for any given period.

To learn how our POS solutions can help simplify your tax prep, schedule a free demo with a Clover Business Consultant today.

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This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.