How to Prepare Quarterly Payroll Tax Returns in QuickBooks 2016 - dummies

How to Prepare Quarterly Payroll Tax Returns in QuickBooks 2016

By Stephen L. Nelson

At the end of every calendar quarter, you need to file a quarterly payroll tax return. You can use QuickBooks to help you. If you’re a business owner, for example, you must file a Form 941, which states how much you paid in gross wages, how much you withheld in federal taxes, and how much you owe for employer payroll taxes for the quarter.

You’ll find that QuickBooks makes filling out these forms darn simple, but the procedures depend on which payroll service you’re using.

Check out more detailed information about the precise features of each of the Intuit Payroll service options.

If you have household employees, such as a nanny, you must file a Form 942. Again, you fill out Form 942 to list how much you paid in gross wages, withheld in federal taxes, and owe in payroll taxes. Fortunately, Intuit does offer an Online Household Payroll service.

Using the Basic Payroll service

If your accountant fills out Form 941 or 942 for you, meaning you’re using the Basic Payroll service, you don’t need any more information. Your accountant won’t have any problem completing the quarterly payroll tax return by using the QuickBooks Payroll report, and in fact, your accountant will probably even enjoy doing it.

You use the Basic service when your accountant takes care of the payroll tax returns, so your accountant needs to know you’ve tasked him with this responsibility.

Using a Full-meal-deal Payroll service

If you’re using a full-meal-deal payroll service — something like ADP, Paychex or some similar service — the payroll company fills out and sends the quarterly payroll tax forms for you.

In this case, again, you don’t have to worry about the quarterly forms much because, hey — that’s what you’re paying the payroll company for.

Using the QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll service

If you’re using the Enhanced Payroll service, you do need to fill out and send the payroll tax forms, but don’t worry. QuickBooks will create and print a copy of Form 941 for you, so you don’t have to get out your calculator or mess around with lining up the red form in your typewriter.

Just choose Employees→ Payroll Forms & W-2s → Process Payroll Forms. QuickBooks runs you through a wizard that asks you for your state and the number of employees that you had over the quarter. Then QuickBooks summarizes each line of the form. When QuickBooks is done, all you have to do is print the form.

If you want to understand the numbers that QuickBooks uses to prepare your payroll tax returns, you can look at a couple of reports. To get the gross-wages totals and the balances in each of the payroll tax liability accounts at the end of the quarter, for example, print the Payroll Summary report.

Choose Reports → Employees & Payroll → Payroll Summary. QuickBooks displays the Payroll Summary report. Specify the range of dates as the quarter for which you’re preparing a quarterly report. Scroll across to the Total column, which shows the gross wages upon which your employer payroll taxes are calculated.

The withholding account amounts are the amounts that you recorded to date for the employee’s federal income taxes withheld and the employee’s Social Security and Medicare taxes, so QuickBooks needs to double these figures to get the actual Social Security and Medicare taxes owed. Choose Reports → Employees & Payroll → Payroll Liability Balances. QuickBooks creates a report that tallies these amounts.