When you get a paycheck from an employer, doing your taxes is usually pretty simple. You'll get a W2 showing what you earned during the year. Then, you simply use that information to file your 1040 form by tax day in April, or, if you get an extension, by tax day in October.
If you own a business, however, things get a bit trickier. Depending on the kind of business you own, tax forms — and tax payments — may be due at different times of the year. It's important to understand the deadlines so you can make sure you fulfill all of your obligations to the IRS.
The guide below will help you determine when business taxes are due so you can ensure you don't face any penalties for paying late.
When are business taxes due?
Businesses can be organized in different ways. Sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure and you and your company are considered the same legal entity. Other business structures, such as partnerships, LLCs, and corporations, have an identity separate from you and their own independent tax obligations to fulfill.
The chart below explains the different deadlines that you may face depending on how your business is organized.
|Business type||Business tax forms needed*||Business tax deadline|
|Sole proprietorship||1040 Form and Schedule C||April 15 or the next business day|
|Partnership||1065 Form and Schedule K||March 15 or the next business day|
|Single-member LLC||1040 Form and Schedule C||April 15 or the next business day|
|Multi-member LLC||1065 Form and Schedule K||March 15 or the next business day|
|S-corporation||1120S Form and Schedule K||March 15 or the next business day|
*Note: Depending on your business, you may also need to submit additional forms. Consult a tax professional if you have questions.
Sole proprietorship tax forms and deadlines
A sole proprietorship doesn't have its own legal identity; rather, it is treated as a disregarded entity. This means the business doesn't have independent tax obligations. Instead, you'll submit your standard 1040 form every individual submits. But because you have income (or losses) from a business to declare, you'll also need to submit Schedule C: Profit or Loss from a Business.
Your 1040 Form, along with Schedule C, is due by the April tax deadline. This deadline is the 15th each year unless the 15th is a holiday or weekend. If it is, the deadline is the next business day after April 15th.
If your sole proprietorship employs others, you'll have additional obligations including forms reporting wages paid to employees and declaring taxes withheld from employees. These forms — which could include Form 940, 941, or 943 — either must be submitted quarterly or once per year depending on the value of wages paid to workers.
You may also owe quarterly estimated taxes on your own income from the business if you expect to owe at least $1,000 to the IRS or if you'll owe more than a certain percentage of this year's income or last year's income. These taxes are due the 15th of April, January, June, and September (or the next business day). This obligation exists because the U.S. system is a pay-as-you-go system so you're taxed on money as you earn it.
Partnership tax forms and deadlines
Partnerships must file Form 1065, Return of Partnership Income, by March 15th or the next business day if the 15th falls on a weekend or a holiday. For partnerships that don't operate on a calendar year, the deadline for Form 1065 is the 15th day of the third month from the end of the partnership's tax year.
Form 1065 is used to report income and deductions of the partnership. It must be accompanied by Schedule K-1s for each partner. These forms are used to report each partner's individual share of income, deductions, and credits, which is necessary because partnerships are pass-through entities. They don't pay income tax or declare losses themselves, but rather pass profits and losses to partners who declare them on their personal tax returns.
Partners also have to submit quarterly estimated tax payments, just as sole proprietors do, if they will owe income tax to the IRS. And, if the partnership employs workers, it may also need to submit Forms 940, 941, and/or 943 just as sole proprietors do.
Single-member LLC tax forms and deadlines
Single-member LLCs are considered disregarded entities, unless the LLC owner elects to be treated as a corporation. This means that it will be taxed in the same way as a sole proprietorship so owners simply need to submit their 1040 Form and Schedule C by April 15th (or the next business day) to declare profits or losses from their business.
Just as with a sole proprietorship, certain forms are necessary for single-member LLCs that employ workers. And members are also expected to make quarterly estimated tax payments if they'll owe money to the IRS.
If the single-member LLC elects to be treated as a corporation, it will be subject to the same requirements as either a C-corporation or S-corporation, depending on what type of corporate structure the owner chooses.
Multi-member LLC tax forms and deadlines
LLCs with multiple members are treated as partnerships by the IRS by default, unless the LLC elects to be treated as a corporation.
This means that, like a partnership, the LLC will need to file Form 1065 along with Schedule Ks by the 15th of March (or the next business day) if it operates on a calendar-year basis. If it does not, it will need to file Form 1065 by the 15th day of the third month following the end of its tax year.
If the multi-member LLC elects to be treated as a corporation, it will be required to file all forms that either S-corporations or C-corporations are mandated to file.
S-corporation tax forms and deadlines
S-corporations are pass-through entities, although they are separate and distinct legal entities from their owners. This means the S-corp has to file its own tax returns, but profits and losses are passed through to owners and declared on personal returns, just as in a partnership.
S-corporations are also subject to certain restrictions. There can't be more than 100 shareholders, and all shareholders must be individuals, certain trusts, or certain estates. S-corps also can't have different classes of stock. When a company incorporates, the default is a C-corporation, so the business must specifically elect to be taxed as an S-corp.
S-corps must file Form 1120S and Schedule K by March 15th if the corporation is a calendar year corporation. Otherwise, it must file by the 15th day of the third month after the end of the tax year. If the 15th is a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day.
S-corps also have to file employment tax forms if they have employees and owners must pay estimated taxes quarterly if applicable.
Make sure to submit your business taxes on time
Meeting your tax obligations as a business owner may be a bit trickier than filing as an individual, but it’s just as important. By keeping these business tax deadlines in mind, you can ensure you file with the IRS in time — and steer clear of expensive tax penalties.