As a business owner, you don’t want to miss any tax deadline. Doing so can result in tax penalties, which can be hefty and are not deductible. Here are some key dates (some of which are new this year), as well as strategies you can use to be on time.
2017 Tax Calendar
Income Tax Returns
If you are a calendar-year partnership or limited liability company (LLC) filing Form 1065 for 2016, the due date is March 15, 2017. Previously, this form was due on the same date as the owner’s Form 1040, but the date was moved up. However, if you get a filing extension, you’ll now have six months — to September 15, 2017 — to file the 2016 return. These are the same deadlines that apply for calendar-year S corporations.
If you are a calendar-year C corporation, your Form 1120 for 2016 is not due until April 18, 2017. Previously, this form had a March 15 deadline. The filing extension remains September 15, so there’s only a five-month extension for this return.
The filing deadline for your personal income tax return, Form 1040, is due on April 18, 2017 (April 15 is a Saturday and April 17 is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C.).
Employment Tax Returns
The due dates for the employer’s quarterly tax return, Form 941, for 2017 are the end of the month following the close of the quarter to which the form relates: April 30, 2017, July 31, 2017, October 31, 2017, and January 31, 2018. If taxes have been timely deposited in full, the due date is extended to the 10th day of the second month following the end of the quarter (e.g., May 10 for the first quarter if taxes have been deposited in full).
If you have been filing the annual Form 944 instead of the quarterly Form 941 and need to switch because you expect payments for the year to exceed $2,500, you can’t simply do this on your own. You have to get the IRS’s approval. You have until April to contact the IRS and request a change by calling 800-829-4933.
For federal unemployment tax, there’s an annual filing. The due date for filing Form 940 for 2016 is January 31, 2017. However, if you deposited all your FUTA tax when it was due, you can file Form 940 by February 10, 2017.
If you are self-employed (sole proprietor, independent contractor, partner, or LLC member) and pay estimated taxes, be sure to note the payment due dates for 2017: April 18, 2018, June 15, 2018, September 15, 2018, and January 16, 2018.
Don’t send the first installment for 2017 with your 2016 income tax return.
You can avoid late payments because you’re traveling or simply forget by scheduling estimated taxes for Form 1040 in advance. You can do this up to 365 days in advance if you opt to pay through EFTPS.gov. If you use EFTPS.gov for business taxes, advances can only be scheduled up to 120 days in advance. There’s no cost for using this service. Find out more about EFTPS.gov in IRS Publication 966.
You were supposed to provide employees with W-2s and independent contractors with 1099-MISCs for 2016 services by January 31, 2017. This was also the date that transmittal of these forms were due to the Social Security Administration (for W-2s) and the IRS (for 1099-MISCs showing nonemployee compensation). This is a new transmittal date, which applies whether you’re transmitting forms on paper or electronically. If you are already late, file as soon as you can to minimize penalties.
You could have asked for a filing extension by submitting Form 8809 by January 31. It’s too late now, but remember this option for next year.
If you are a small employer with a self-insured health care plan (e.g., a health reimbursement arrangement), the deadline for furnishing employees with Form 1095-B for 2016 coverage is March 2, 2017. They were originally due by January 31, 2017, but the IRS gave everyone an extension this year. However, transmittal of the forms are due to the IRS by February 28, 2017, if you do this on paper, or March 31, 2017, if you transmit copies electronically.
It seems axiomatic that the sooner you submit a late return, the smaller the penalties will be. That’s because penalties apply per month (or part thereof). Interest on tax underpayments applies month-by-month as well.
But when it comes to information returns, correcting a delinquency as soon as possible can really limit penalties. For example, if you send a delinquent 1099 within 30 days of the required filing date, the penalty is only $50. If you miss this date but file by August 1, the penalty doubles to $100. But if you don’t file by August 1, the penalty jumps to $260.
You can create your own tax calendar so you’ll never miss another deadline by using a free desktop calendar tool from the IRS. Also, be sure to include the dates for state tax obligations (e.g., state unemployment insurance).
Tax Dates Photo via Shutterstock