cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted
Intuit
2 helpful votes

How QuickBooks Populates The 941

Learn how QuickBooks Online and Desktop populates the lines on the Form 941.

For a detailed explanation of each line, refer to the General Instructions for Form 941.

Employers must file a quarterly Form 941 to report wages paid, tips your employees have received, federal income tax withheld, and both the employer's and employee's share of social security and Medicare taxes. Form 941 is due by the last day of the month that follows the end of the quarter.

For the quarter Form 941 is due
January 1 to March 31 April 30
April 1 to June 30 July 31
July 1 to September 30 October 31
October 1 to December 31 January 31

Note: If any due date for filing shown above falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, you may file your return on the next business day.

Lines on page 1

Company Information

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks pulls the information for the "Name" of the company from the "Legal Name" in Company information. The "Trade Name" is the name given to your company in the "Name" section of the company information.

To verify your Employer name and address in QuickBooks:

  • Online
    1. Select the Gear icon at the top then Payroll Settings.
    2. Go to General Tax information and under Company General Tax Information, update your Filing Name and Filing Address.
  • Desktop
    1. From the Company menu, select My Company.
    2. Select the Edit (pencil) then go to the Contact Information and Legal Information tabs to make necessary correction to the address.
    3. Select OK. Note that you’ll have to create a new form once you’ve change your company address.

Report for this Quarter

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks uses the quarter end date that has most recently passed unless you specify a different date.

Line 1 - Number of employees

How QuickBooks populates this line

If you had any employees paid with a pay period that included the date of March 12 (for Q1), June 12 (for Q2), September 12 (for Q3), or December 12 (for Q4), they are counted here.

Line 2 - Wages, tips, and other compensation

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates the total wages, tips, bonuses, overtime pay, etc., that are subject to federal income tax, and paid to the employee during the reporting year. Wages earned in the reporting year, but paid in the following year, are not included. Certain deductions that are not taxable to federal income tax such as 401(k), pre-tax medical, fringe benefits, etc., can affect this box. Click to learn about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box.

To verify your QuickBooks:

  • Online
    1. Select Reports and search for the Payroll Details Report.
    2. Filter by the Quarter and include All Employees, then click Run Report.
    3. Scroll to the bottom.. Review the total wages and deductions for the quarter affected, subtracting pre-tax items that are not included in Line 2 such as 401(k), pre-tax medical, fringe benefits, etc.
  • Desktop
    1. Run the Payroll Item Listing report.
    2. Filter the report, and in the Columns, uncheck everything but the Payroll Item and Tax Tracking Type.
    3. Print the report.
    4. Put a checkmark next to any item that has a tax-tracking type of:
      • Compensation
      • Reported Tips
      • Dependent Care FSA
      • Section 457 Distribution
      • Non-qual. Plan Distribution
      • Fringe Benefits
      • Other Moving Expenses
      • 401(k)
      • 403(b)
      • 408(k)(6)SEP
      • Elective 457(b)
      • Simple IRA
      • Taxable Grp Trm Life
      • Med Care Flex Spend
      • Premium Only/125
      • SCorp Pd Med Premium
      • HSA Co. (Taxable)
      • HSA Emp. (Pretax)
    5. Now run a Payroll Summary report for the quarter.
    6. Select Customize Report, then select Filters tab.
    7. Under Current filter choices, select Payroll Item. In the drop-down box in the middle, pick Multiple Payroll Items.
    8. Check off all the payroll items you marked earlier. Line 2 is equal to the total of the Adjusted Gross Pay and Total Employer Taxes and Contributions.

    If any of them should not track the way they are, then modify the payroll item:

    1. Go to the Payroll Item List.
    2. Double click the payroll item in question.
    3. Select Next until you get to Tax Tracking Type.
    4. Correct the tax-tracking type, then select Next until you reach Finish. This will correct the form, but if the taxability changed, a Payroll Checkup should be run to correct the taxable wage bases.

Line 3 - Income tax withheld

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks adds the total of the Federal Withholding (FIT) from the paychecks for the quarter.

To verify your QuickBooks:

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report. Look for the FIT amount and compare the numbers.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary Report for the quarter. The total of the Federal Withholding should equal line 3.If you have DIY Payroll: If an employee's federal withholding is incorrect, enter a liability adjustment for that employee. The amount of the adjustment may then need to be collected from or refunded to the employee.

To prevent this from occurring in the future, obtain an updated W-4 from your employee:

  • Online
    1. Select Workers > Employees tab, then select the employee name to access their Employee details.
    2. Select Edit Employee to update the employee information.
    3. Scroll to Step 4, withholding, then select Edit.
    4. Update the withholding information as needed.
  • Desktop:
    1. Go to Employee Center, then select Employees Tab.
    2. Double click the employee's name.
    3. Change tabs to Payroll Info, then select Taxes.
    4. Correct the filing status and allowances as necessary.

Line 4 - Wages not subject

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not check this box for you.

Line 5a - Taxable social security wages

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks supplies Column 1 from the wage base for Social Security minus the wage base tips. Column 2 is a calculated amount.

To verify your QuickBooks

  • Online
    1. Select Reports, then search for Payroll Details Report.
    2. Next to Date Range select a quarter, then select Run Report.
    3. Under Total view the wage totals and subtract the tips totals. The result should match column 1 in Line 5a.
  • Desktop
    1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Reports menu, choose Employees & Payroll, then select Payroll Summary.
    2. Select Customize Report, then select the Display tab.
    3. Select Last Calendar Quarter from the Dates drop-down list.
    4. In the Display columns by drop-down list, select Total Only, then clear the Hours and Rates checkboxes.
    5. Select the Filters tab.
    6. Choose Payroll Item in the Filter drop-down list, then choose Selected payroll items in the Payroll Item drop-down list.
    7. In the Payroll Item window, select Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee. Clear any other selected items, then select OK.
    8. Select OK to return to the Payroll Summary report.
    9. Double-click the "Social Security Employee Total" amount to display the Transactions by Payroll Item report. The Wage Base column total minus the Wage Base (Tips) column total should equal line 5a, Column 1.

Line 5b - Taxable social security tips

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks supplies Column 1 from the wage base tips for Social Security. Column 2 is a calculated amount.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online
    1. Select Reports and search for Payroll Details Report.
    2. Next to Date Range select a quarter, then select Run Report.
    3. Under Total, view the tips totals.

     

  • Desktop
    1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Reports menu, choose Employees & Payroll, then select Payroll Summary.
    2. Select Customize Report, then select the Display tab.
    3. Select Last Calendar Quarter from the Dates dropdown list.
    4. In the Display columns by drop-down list, select Total Only, and clear the Hours and Rate checkboxes.
    5. Select Filters tab.
    6. Choose Payroll Item in the Filter drop-down list, and then choose Selected payroll items in the Payroll Item dropdown list.
    7. In the Payroll Item window, select Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee. Clear any other selected items, then select OK.
    8. Select OK to return to the Payroll Summary report.
    9. Double-click the "Social Security Employee Total" amount to display the Transactions by Payroll Item report. The Wage Base (Tips) column total should equal line 5b, Column 1.

Line 5c - Taxable Medicare wages & tips

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks supplies the number for Column 1 from the wage base for Medicare. Column 2 is a calculated amount.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online
    1. Select Reports, then search for the Payroll Tax and Wage Summary Report.
    2. Next to Date Range select a quarter, then select Run Report.
    3. Under Federal Taxes (941/944), view the taxable wages for Medicare.
  • Desktop
    1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Reports menu, choose Employees & Payroll, and then Payroll Summary.
    2. Select Customize Report, then select the Display tab.
    3. Select Last Calendar Quarter from the Dates drop-down list.
    4. In the Display columns by drop-down list, select Total Only, then clear the Hours and Rate checkboxes.
    5. Select Filters tab.
    6. Choose Payroll Item in the Filter drop-down list, and then choose Selected payroll items in the Payroll Item dropdown list.
    7. In the Payroll Item window, select Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee. Clear any other selected items, then select OK.
    8. Select OK to return to the Payroll Summary report.
    9. Double-click the "Medicare Employee Total" amount to display the Transactions by Payroll Item report. The Wage Base column total should equal line 5c, Column 1.

Line 5d - Taxable wages & tips subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks supplies the number for Column 1 from the wage base for Medicare Employee Addl Tax. Column 2 is a calculated amount, but it should match the amount of tax withheld as calculated by QuickBooks (within a few cents rounding difference).

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online
    1. Select Reports and search for Payroll Details Report.
    2. Next to Date Range select a quarter, then select Run Report.
    3. Find employees that grossed over $200,000 for the year. The difference between the total and $200,000 is what will appear in Line 5d column 1. (Example: Employee One made $250,000. $50,000 will be in box 5d column 1)
  • Desktop
    1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Reports menu, choose Employees & Payroll, then select Payroll Summary.
    2. Select Customize Report, then select the Display tab.
    3. Select Last Calendar Quarter from the Dates drop-down list.
    4. In the Display columns by drop-down list, select Total Only, and clear the Hours and Rate checkboxes.
    5. Select Filters tab.
    6. Choose Payroll Item in the Filter drop-down list, and then choose Multiple payroll items in the Payroll Item dropdown list.
    7. In the Payroll Item window, select Medicare Employee Addl Tax. Clear any other selected items, then select OK.
    8. Select OK to return to the Payroll Summary report.
    9. Double-click the "Medicare Employee Addl Tax Total" amount to display the Transactions by Payroll Item report. The Wage Base column total should equal line 5d, column 1. The Amount column total should equal line 5d, column 2 (within a few cents rounding difference).

Line 5e - Total social security & Medicare taxes

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks adds together lines 5a, 5b, 5c, and 5d (column 2).

To verify your QuickBooks result:

Use the troubleshooting steps for lines 5a, 5b, 5c, and 5d.

Line 5f - Section 3121(q) Notice and Demand - Tax due on unreported tips

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply this number.

Line 6 - Total taxes before adjustments

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates this amount by adding line 3, line 5d, and line 5e.

Line 7 - Current quarter's adjustment for fractions of cents

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks automatically calculates the fractions of cents (within one dollar) of difference between the net taxes amount and the quarter's liability amount.

Line 8 - Current quarter's adjustment for sick pay

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply this number.

Line 9 - Current quarter's adjustment for tips and group-term life insurance

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply this number.

Line 10 - Total taxes after adjustments

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates this by adding lines 6, 7, 8, and 9.

To verify your QuickBooks result: 

Make sure all entries for lines 6 through 9 are entered correctly.

Line 11 - Qualified small business payroll tax credit for increasing research activities

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply this number because the new reporting process for this credit requires business financial information. For more information on how to claim the credit, refer to article Claiming the Federal Research & Development Credit.

Line 12 - Total taxes after adjustments and credits

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates this number by subtracting line 11 from line 10.

Line 13 - Total deposits for this quarter

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks adds all the deposits for Federal Withholding, Medicare Employee, Medicare Company, Social Security Employee, and Social Security Company with a paid-through date that falls within the quarter.

  • Online: You cannot edit the boxes within the forms. You will need to update the payments to pull the overpayment to the report.
  • Desktop: If you need to include a prior quarter's overpayment, right click and override the amount listed to add the overpayment.

To verify your QuickBooks Desktop result:

  • Online
    1. Select Reports, then search for Payroll Tax Payments.
    2. Next to Date Range select a quarter, then select Run Report.
    3. View the tax payments made. If line 13 does not match, then the payments need to be verified and updated.
  • Desktop
    1. Run the Payroll Liabilities Balances report for the quarter.
    2. Select Modify (or Customize) Report.
    3. Change the Display columns to Total only.
    4. Select Filters tab, then select Payroll Item under Current Filter Choices. In the middle, select the drop-down next to Payroll Item, then select Multiple Payroll Items.
    5. Check off only Federal Withholding, Medicare Employee, Medicare Company, Social Security Employee, and Social Security Company, then select OK.
    6. Select the Transaction Type under Choose Filter on the left. In the middle, click the drop-down next to Transaction type, and choose Payroll Liability Check. Select OK.
    7. The total balance should equal the amount of line 13. You can double-click this amount to see the transactions that contribute to the total. Double check that all deposits have been recorded.

If you know you've made a deposit but don't see it, expand your date range to see if the deposit appears. If it does, double-click that deposit and change the Paid Through date so that it falls within the quarter it's supposed to.

If the number on line 13 doesn't match the report, then a liability adjustment has been entered or a payment was entered incorrectly. To find a liability adjustment:

  1. Select Customize Report and Filters.
  2. Under Transaction Type, click Multiple Transaction Types, and from the list that pops up, click Liability Adjustment. This will show you any liability adjustments made within the quarter in addition to your payments. Double check that the liability adjustment is actually needed.

If you know you've recorded the deposit in QuickBooks Desktop, find the deposit and check that the type is specifically LIAB CHK and not just CHK.

If it is CHK, and it has been reconciled, a liability adjustment will need to be entered for the amount of the check that was entered. Then you will need to edit the amount of line 15.

If the transaction has not been reconciled, you can delete it and record it as a payroll liability check.

Line 14 - Balance due

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates this number by subtracting line 13 from line 12.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

Be sure that line 10 and line 12 are correct by using the verification steps listed for those lines.

Line 15 - Overpayment

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks subtracts line 12 from line 13.

To verify your QuickBooks result :

Be sure that line 10 and line 12 are correct by using the verification steps for those lines.

Lines on page 2

Line 16 - Tax liability for the quarter

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks adds the total taxes accrued each day on paychecks for Federal Withholding, Medicare Employee, Medicare Company, Social Security Employee, and Social Security Company. This is not the amount of the tax deposits you've made.

To verify your QuickBooks Desktop

    • Online
      1. Run a Tax and Wage Summary report.
      2. In QuickBooks Online, select Reports, then search for the Tax and Wage Summary Report.
      3. Filter by quarter and the employee, then select Run Report.
      4. Look for the totals under Federal Taxes (941/944) (Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee taxes). The totals should correspond to the amount in the "Total liability for quarter" of line 16.
    • Desktop
      1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Reports menu, choose Employees & Payroll, then select Payroll Summary.
      2. Select Customize Report, then select the Display tab.
      3. Select Last Calendar Quarter from the Dates drop-down list.
      4. In the Display columns by drop-down list, select Month, then clear the Hours and Rate checkboxes.
      5. Select the Filters tab.
      6. Choose the Payroll Item in the Filter drop-down list, and then choose Selected payroll items in the Payroll Items dropdown list.
      7. In the Payroll Item window, select Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee. Clear any other selected items, then select OK.
      8. Select OK to return to the Payroll Summary report.
      9. Ignoring any negative signs, add up each column's amounts for Federal Withholding, Medicare Company, Medicare Employee, Social Security Company, and Social Security Employee taxes. The totals should correspond to the amounts in Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, and "Total liability for quarter" of line 16.

You can double-click any of the numbers on the report to see what transactions contribute to their amounts.

Line 17 - If your business has closed

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not check this box for you.

Line 18 - If you are a seasonal employer

For a detailed explanation of this line, refer to the General Instructions for Form 941.

Part 4 - Third-party designee

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply any of this information.

Part 5 - Signature

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply any of this information.

Paid Preparer Use Only

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks does not supply any of this information.

Related Articles

Was this helpful?

You must sign in to vote, reply, or post

Need to get in touch?

Contact us