Most state and federal agencies require employers to report employer and employee wage and tax information each quarter using payroll tax returns. These usually include the employee’s name, social security number and gross wages paid for the quarter.
This information is used to verify an employee's eligibility to receive state unemployment insurance as well as how much compensation benefits are to be paid. Payroll tax returns are also used to reconcile the tax deposits remitted.
The primary federal forms are the following:
Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
It reports wages and taxes for federal income tax, employee social security and Medicare tax, and employer social security and Medicare tax. Form 941 is filed quarterly.
Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return
This form reports wages and taxes for FUTA. Deposits are made quarterly. If over $500, the return is filed annually.
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
This form is used to report individual employee wages and taxes. Filed annually, one copy is given to employees and another is filed with the Social Security Administration.
Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements
The W-3 summarizes information reported on Form W-2. It goes annually to the Social Security Administration along with Form W-2.
State Specific Unemployment Insurance Form
Reports wages and SUI taxes. Is filed quarterly.
Various withholding forms
Reports wages and taxes for state and local withholding. The frequency varies by agency