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When Are Small Business Taxes Due?

There are aspects of small business taxes that prompt many questions. One of the biggest is, “When are small business taxes due?”

Depending on how your company is structured, business tax deadlines are typically either March 15 or April 15 (or the next business day). This filing year, April 15 falls on a weekend and the next business day is a public holiday in Washington, D.C., where the IRS is headquartered. Consequently, the next business day, Tuesday, April 18, is when many taxes will be due this filing year.

Tax Deadline

Tax Deadlines by Business Structure

When business taxes are due varies according to how your business organization is structured. While April 15 (April 18 this year) is a date commonly thought of as “tax day” in the U.S., the due date for small business taxes may be different. Let’s see how your business structure will impact the deadline to file small business taxes.

According to IRS Publication 509, the following dates are when business organizations are required to file. Keep in mind, these dates apply to most businesses, which typically follow a general tax year calendar. If your business operates on a fiscal year schedule, refer to publication 509 for guidelines on certain changes that can impact filing deadlines.

Sole Proprietorships and Single-Member LLCs

If you operate as a sole proprietor or single-member LLC, the tax filing deadline is April 18, 2024. Documents needed for filing include Form 1040, including Schedule C.

Partnerships and Multimember LLCs

When are LLC tax returns due when multiple members are involved? The IRS notes that businesses structured as multimember LLCs or partnerships are required to file Form 1065 by March 15. A Schedule K-1 tax form is also required for each partner.

S Corporations

Similarly, the business tax filing date for S corporations that follow a calendar year schedule is March 15. To file, S corporations will need to submit Form 1120S and provide each shareholder with a Schedule K-1.

C Corporations

The general tax calendar deadline for business taxes to be filed by companies structured as C corporations is April 18. Form 1120 is among the documents that need to be submitted to the IRS by the filing deadline.

Estimated Tax Payments

As defined by the IRS, “estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding.” This income includes self-employment, dividends, rental, interest and capital gains. Estimated taxes are paid through quarterly installments during the year.

Who Needs to Pay Estimated Tax

Sole proprietors, partners and S corporation shareholders who expect to owe taxes of $1,000 or more at the time of their return are required to pay estimated taxes. The requirements for corporations are slightly different as they need to make estimated tax payments if they believe they’ll owe $500 or more when they file. 

In addition, if your tax was more than zero the year before, you might have to pay estimated tax for the current year. For more details on who must pay estimated tax, consult the worksheet found in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals (PDF), or Form 1120-W, Estimated Tax for Corporations (PDF).

How To Calculate Your Estimated Business Tax

To figure out how much you should pay in estimated tax, you need to first determine your expected adjusted gross income, taxable income, taxes, deductions and credits for the year.

Using those elements from the previous year’s income as a guide, use the worksheet found in Form 1040-ES to project your estimated tax. Your goal using this worksheet is to get an idea of the amount of income you expect to earn for the year.

Each quarter will present another opportunity to more accurately assess your income, meaning you will continue to use Form 1040-ES throughout the year. While it might be challenging, estimating your income as precisely as possible will allow you to avoid penalties and overpayment.

Corporations differ from other business organizations here as well, as they use Form 1120-W to figure estimated tax.

Estimated Business Tax Due Dates

Estimated business tax due dates vary depending if your business is a sole proprietorship or a corporation. It’s important to note that partnerships don’t pay estimated taxes because they don’t withhold taxes when paying distributions to their partners. However, partners as individuals might need to pay estimated taxes.

The estimated business tax due dates for individuals, sole proprietors, partners and single-member LLCs is as follows:

  • Jan. 17* (final installment date for 2022 estimated taxes)
  • April 18 (first installment of 2024 estimated tax)
  • June 15 (second installment of 2024 estimated income tax) 
  • Sept. 15 (third installment of 2024 estimated income tax)

*Final installment not required. In this particular example, if you file a 2022 return and pay all taxes due by Jan. 31, 2024, you do not need to make a final installment payment in January. 

In contrast, the estimated business tax due dates for corporations are as follow:

  • April 18 (first installment of 2024 estimated tax)
  • June 15 (second  installment of 2024 estimated tax)
  • Sept. 15 (third installment of 2024 estimated tax)
  • Dec. 15 (fourth installment of 2024 estimated tax)

Paying Your Estimated Business Taxes

There are a few ways you can pay estimated taxes:

  • Online (mobile app or online account)
  • Phone
  • In person
  • By mail 

Acceptable payment methods include:

  • Cash
  • Debit or credit card
  • Check or money order
  • Installment agreement 
  • Direct transfers from checking or savings account
  • Electronic fund withdrawal (via tax preparation software)

For more details, see the section of Form 1040-ES titled “How to Pay Estimated Tax,” as well as Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. 

If your business is structured as a corporation, you are typically required to use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. To learn more about this requirement, see IRS Publication 542, Corporations.

Filing a Business Tax Extension

Running your own business is quite involved; sometimes, tasks get put on the backburner even when they’re important. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to meet the deadlines set out for your specific business organization, you can file for an extension by the regular tax filing deadline for your entity type. Corporations and partnerships will need to file Form 7004 to request an extension, while sole proprietors will need to file Form 4868.

A business tax extension allows you to file your tax returns 6 months later. Though if you expect to owe taxes, you’re still required to pay this amount by the regular business tax filing deadline. Penalties for late payments are calculated at 0.5% of the unpaid tax balance per month, with 25% being the maximum.

Federal Business Tax Extension Deadlines

Federal business tax extension deadlines also vary by company structure. Let’s look at the business tax filing deadline for extensions by entity type.

Sole Proprietorships and Single-Member LLCs

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLC tax extension filings give business owners until Oct. 16, 2024, to submit their taxes.

Partnerships and Multi-Member LLCs

The federal business tax extension deadline for partnerships and multiple-member LLCs is Sept. 15.

S Corporations

S corporation tax extension filings give business owners until Sept. 15 to submit their taxes.

C Corporations

In contrast, the federal business tax extension deadline for C corporations is Oct.16.

What Happens If You Miss a Business Tax Deadline?

While it’s not the end of the world, missing a tax deadline can add additional financial burden to your business. If you do miss a deadline, the IRS recommends filing and paying as soon as possible. Often, a moderate financial penalty is assessed to your tax account.

Payments can be made to the IRS by mail as well as online through IRS Direct Pay, which is the fastest method to settle your tax balance.

Final Considerations When Small Business Taxes Are Due

Small business taxes require careful review and attention to detail. While the tax code is full of cumbersome language, the basics of business taxes are generally straightforward — especially regarding business tax deadlines. Now that you know the different business tax return due dates, the best way for you to stay in the good graces of the IRS is to submit your required tax forms and payments by your business tax filing deadline. 

If you’re concerned that you may miss a deadline or are not sure your business will have everything needed to file, you can file for a federal business tax extension. Talk with your CPA to find out your small business tax rates and start securing all of the documents, details and payment specifics you’ll need to file on time.

Erin has more than 15 years’ experience writing, proofreading and editing web content, technical documentation, instructional materials, marketing copy, editorials, social copy and creative content. In her role at Fast Capital 360, Erin covers topics of interest to small business owners, including sales, marketing, business management and financing.
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