The ultimate list of small business tax forms

Editor’s note: This post provides information on a variety of small business tax forms. No matter how your business is set up, this all-encompassing list will help you as you prepare and file tax forms for your business.

As a small business owner, you need to file an array of tax forms you wouldn’t use as an individual. These forms cover various situations such as figuring and paying tax on your business income, hiring employees, or reporting business expenses. In other cases, the forms shown below might be ones the IRS sends you.

small business tax forms

Note that taxpayers who are self-employed or have a small business involving rental activities may have other tax form obligations not listed in this article.

Whether you are a new small business, or a veteran entrepreneur, you can review each small business tax form below to gain a better understanding of your tax obligations, file an accurate tax return, and obtain the most favorable tax outcome possible!

Here’s what you’ll find in our guide:

Tax forms for when you first start a business
Small business employer tax forms
Business expense tax forms
Small business tax return forms
General tax forms for small business
Specialized small business tax forms for retirement accounts

Tax forms for when you first start a business

If this is the year you’re going to forge ahead with a new small business venture, take note of these tax forms:

  • Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number: You can use this form to apply for an EIN, or employer identification number. This is a unique, nine-digit number assigned to employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts, certain individuals, and other business entities as an identifier –unique to your own business. (Think of this number as a Social Security number for your business!) You may not need an EIN if you’re a sole proprietor and don’t have employees or pay excise taxes, such as sales taxes. Your small business tax pro can help you determine if you need an EIN. Need help obtaining an EIN? Consider using using a document filing service such as MyCorporation. They can quickly and easily file for an EIN with the IRS on your behalf.
  • Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation: Use this form if you want to change your corporation to an S corporation. Generally, this election must be made by the 15th day of the third month (March 15 for calendar year corporations) after the beginning of the first year for which the election is to take effect.
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election: LLCs use this form to make their entity selection, if it’s different than their default classification.

Small business employer tax forms

Taking on help requires additional paperwork from a tax perspective. If you employ either contractors or full-time employees, take note of these tax forms:

  • Form 1099-NEC: You’ll file this form if you’ve paid a contractor (someone who’s not your employee) at least $600 for services performed. This form is used for reporting non-employee compensation.
  • Form W-2: You’ll file this form if you’ve paid for services performed by an employee, if you withheld any amount of income, Social Security, or Medicare tax from wages, if you would have had to withhold income tax if the employee had not claimed exemptions, or if you paid more than $600 in wages even if you did not withhold any income, Social Security, or Medicare tax. This form informs the Social Security Administration, IRS and the employee how much was paid to employees in a calendar year.
  • Form W-3: This tax form summarizes the total wages paid by W-2 employees and is required if you file Form W-2.
  • Form 940: You’ll file this form annually to calculate and pay federal employment taxes. It’s only required if you pay at least $1,500 in wages or pay one or more employees for at least some part of the day during any 20 weeks during the year.
  • Form 941: You’ll file this form quarterly to report income taxes, Social Security tax, or Medicare tax withheld from employee’s paychecks and pay the employer’s portion of Social Security or Medicare tax.

Business expense tax forms

While small business income is taxed differently than individual income, a major benefit is the ability to deduct certain business expenses from your business’ income. Here are some of the forms you’ll file for business deductions:

Small business tax return forms

Another unique aspect of small businesses is that you may file not only your yearly business return, but also a quarterly return. Here are some small business tax return forms you’re likely to use quarterly and annually:

  • Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income: If you have a partnership, you and your partner(s) will use this form to report partnership income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits. A partnership is a pass-through entity, meaning any profit or loss “passes through” to its partners via Schedule K-1 (Form 1065). Partners must include partnership items on their individual income tax returns.
  • Form 1120-S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation: This form reports income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits of an S corporation. An S corporation is a pass-through entity, meaning any profit or loss “passes through” to its shareholders via Schedule K-1. Shareholders must include S corporation items on their individual income tax returns.
  • Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return: Use this form to report income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits of a “regular” or C corporation.
  • Form 1040-ES: You’ll submit this small business tax return form to the IRS quarterly. It helps you figure out and pay estimated taxes, including tax on net profits from your business and self-employment tax.
  • Form 1040 (Schedule C): This form reports income or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor. You include it with your Form 1040 – Individual Income Tax Return.
  • Form 1120-W Estimated Tax for Corporations: Corporations use Form 1120-W to estimate their tax liability and determine the amount of their estimated tax payments.

General tax forms for small business owners

There is a slew of general tax forms small business owners should take note of, from extension requests and changes of address, to underpayment penalty payment forms. What are you required to file? Read up!

  • Form 7004: Use this tax form for small business owners to request an automatic extension of time to file business income tax returns.
  • Form 8822-B, Change of Address: This form notifies the IRS if your business mailing address changed.
  • Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts: While this is not exclusively a small business tax form, it’s used by partners of a partnership as well as S corporation shareholders to help assess if you owe a penalty for underpaying your estimated quarterly tax, and if so, to figure out the penalty amount.
  • Form 2220, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Corporations: This form serves a similar function as the one listed above, but it’s used by corporations only. Corporations (including S corporations) subject to the unrelated business income tax use this form to determine if they are subject to the penalty for underpayment of estimated tax. If so, the Form 2220 helps calculate the amount of the underpayment penalty for the period that applies.

Specialized small business tax forms for retirement accounts

Small business owners can reap the benefit of putting a nest egg aside for retirement. Here are some complementary forms you may need to file as a retirement savings account holder:

More help with small business tax documents and forms

Small business tax documents and forms can stack up and become overwhelming to file without the right resources. If you’re not confident you have the time or expertise to tackle taxes on your own, we’re here to help.

If you want help understanding completing these tax forms, Block Advisors small business certified tax pros are here to help with small business services like tax preparation, payroll, and bookkeeping.  

“My small business certified told me the forms that I would have to supply and things that I would have to fill out but also broke down those forms and each section and told me what each thing was and how it worked and why it was important and how it related back to my business and the expenses and income that I was making.”

– Terrance Williams, Terrance Williams Design | April 2021

 

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