Understanding and managing your tax obligations is crucial for any business. Form 940 – Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment FUTA Tax Return plays a pivotal role. In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of FUTA tax, covering everything from filing requirements to deposit procedures.

FUTA Tax – A Comprehensive Guide for Employers

Form 940 FUTA – Unraveling the Basics:

As an employer, deciphering whether you need to pay FUTA tax involves three essential tests: the general test, the household employees test, and the agricultural employees (farmworkers) test. If you’ve paid $1,500 or more in wages during any calendar quarter or had one or more employees for at least 20 different weeks in a year, Form 940 awaits your attention.

Who Must File Form 940 FUTA

Employers who meet specific criteria must file Form 940, the Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. The filing requirements are determined by three tests: the general test, household employees test, and agricultural employees (farmworkers) test.

General Test:

You are subject to FUTA tax and required to file Form 940 if:

  1. Wages Paid: You paid wages of $1,500 or more to employees in any calendar quarter during the tax year (2022 or 2023).
  2. Employee Presence: You had one or more employees for at least some part of a day in any 20 or more different weeks in the tax year. This includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. If your business is a partnership, partners are not counted.
  3. Business Transfer: In the case of a business sale or transfer during the year, each employer meeting the conditions above must file Form 940. However, wages paid by the predecessor employer should not be included on Form 940 unless you are a successor employer.
  • For details on successor employers, refer to the “Successor employer” section in the Instructions for Form 940.
  • If you won’t be liable for filing Form 940 in the future, refer to the “Final: Business closed or stopped paying wages” section in the Instructions for Form 940PDF.
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Additional Tests:

For the household employees test and agricultural employees (farmworkers) test, detailed information can be found in Section 14 of Publication 15 (Circular E), Employers Tax Guide. Household employers can refer to Publication 926, Household Employer’s Tax Guide, and agricultural employers can refer to Publication 15 and Topic No. 760, Reporting and Deposit Requirements for Agricultural Employers.

Employers are advised to carefully review IRS publications and guidelines to ensure compliance with FUTA tax filing requirements based on their specific circumstances. If uncertain, seeking professional advice is recommended.

FUTA Tax Rates and Credits:

The FUTA tax rate stands at 6.0%, applicable to the first $7,000 paid to each employee as wages. However, the landscape becomes nuanced when factoring in credits. Employers may receive a credit of up to 5.4%, leading to an effective FUTA tax rate of 0.6%. Unpacking this credit intricacy and understanding the calculations are vital for employers navigating the FUTA tax terrain.

Credit Reduction States – What You Need to Know:

In the tax landscape, credit reduction states add another layer of complexity. We explore what constitutes a credit reduction state, its implications on the FUTA tax rate, and the necessary steps for employers dealing with wages subject to credit reduction.

Filing Form 940 – Timeframes and Requirements:

Knowing when and how to file Form 940 is crucial. The due date for filing is January 31, with an extension until February 10 for those who deposited all FUTA tax on time. We explore the specifics of filing, including considerations for legal holidays and the implications of business days.

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Depositing FUTA Tax – A Strategic Approach:

For many employers, depositing FUTA tax is not a one-size-fits-all process. We break down the deposit requirements, covering scenarios where quarterly payments are necessary and detailing the thresholds for mandatory electronic funds transfer. Understanding these deposit intricacies ensures compliance and avoids penalties.


In the dynamic landscape of employer taxes, mastery of FUTA tax nuances is key. From understanding eligibility criteria to navigating the intricacies of credits and deposit requirements, this guide equips employers with the knowledge needed to confidently manage their FUTA tax obligations. Stay informed, stay compliant – because in the world of taxes, knowledge is power.

Remember, for more details and specific instructions, always refer to the official IRS resources such as Publication 15 and Form 940 Instructions.

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