March 2024: The Small Business Owner’s HR, Benefits, Payroll, and Tax Compliance Deadlines

Paige Smith

We’re right in the middle of tax season, which means it’s more critical than ever to stay on top of your business compliance deadlines. Mark the dates below for taxes, payroll, and HR. 

Federal holidays

March 31, 2023

Sunday, March 31, is Cesar Chavez Day, a holiday celebrating the life and legacy of civil rights and labor movement activist Cesar Chavez.

Tax and payroll compliance deadlines

Payroll tax deposits (for semi-weekly depositors)

All employers must file Forms 940 and 941 to deposit payroll taxes at different times throughout the year, depending on which information returns you use and your past filing history.

If you report more than $50,000 in payroll taxes during the lookback period of July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, you’re considered a semi-weekly depositor. That means you have to follow the schedule below:

If payday for your employees is onDeposit employment taxes by
Wednesdaythe following Wednesday
Thursdaythe following Wednesday
Fridaythe following Wednesday
Saturdaythe following Friday
Sundaythe following Friday
Mondaythe following Friday
Tuesdaythe following Friday

Keep in mind that if you accumulate $100,000 or more of tax liability in a single day, the IRS requires you to deposit the amount by the next business day, regardless of whether you normally deposit on a semi-weekly or monthly basis (more on monthly deposits below).

To learn more about federal payroll tax deposits, read Publication 15

And remember: some state and local governments that collect payroll taxes also expect their own deposits and those deadlines may be different from the federal ones. For more information, contact your state and local tax agencies directly. 

March 1, 2024

Form 1040 filing deadline 

If you’re a calendar-year farmer or fisherman, you need to file Form 1040 and pay any tax due by Friday, March 1. However, if you paid your 2023 estimated tax payments by January 15, 2024, you have until Monday, April 15, to file. If you’re filing in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until Wednesday, April 17. 

If you’re a farmer or fisherman who operates on a fiscal tax year (starting after January 1), you have two options:

  • Pay all your estimated taxes by the 15th day after the end of your tax year
  • File your return and pay all the taxes you owe by the 1st day of the 3rd month after the end of your tax year

Read more about estimated taxes for farmers and fishermen here

March 11, 2024

Employee tip reporting deadline for February

If your employees earn tips, they’re required to report to you any tips of $20 or more that they earned during the month of February. You can learn more about tip withholding and reporting requirements here

March 15, 2024

Payroll tax deposits for monthly depositors

If you’re a monthly payroll tax depositor (if you reported less than $50,000 in payroll taxes during the lookback period), then your tax deposit for February payrolls is due on March 15. 

S corp (Form 1120-S) and partnership (Form 1065) tax returns due

If you own an S corporation (or if your LLC is taxed as an S corp), you’ll use Form 1120-S to report your income, losses, and dividends as a shareholder of the company. This form is due March 15. 

If you own a partnership (or an LLC set up as a partnership), you’ll use Form 1065 to report your operation’s gains, losses, deductions, and credits. Keep in mind that each partner is responsible for paying their share of income from the business on their personal tax returns (Form 1040).

On top of the tax returns, S corps and partnerships must also submit a Schedule K-1 or Schedule K-3 that outlines the percentage of profits and losses assigned to each shareholder or partner in the business. You need to submit these forms to the IRS by March 15 unless you apply for an extension. 

You can request an automatic six-month extension—which puts your new deadline at September 15, 2024—by submitting Form 7004 to the IRS by March 15. If you take this option, remember that you still need to pay your estimated taxes on time; otherwise, you could receive a penalty. 

Forms 8804 and 8805 filing deadline for partnerships

Form 8804 is used to report the total liability for your partnership’s tax year. If your partnership operates on a calendar year, you have to file Form 8804 by March 15. 

If one or more of your partners is international, you also have to file Form 8805 (one for each separate partner). This shows the amount of effectively connected taxable income (ECTI) and the total tax credit allocable to the international partner for the partnership’s tax year.

If you have questions, learn more about partnership tax forms here. For an automatic six-month extension on this form, make sure to file Form 7004

Form 2553 filing deadline to elect S corp status

If you want to be taxed as an S corp for the calendar year 2024, you have to make an official election by filing Form 2553. You have to file the form no later than two months and 15 days after the beginning of the tax year when the election is to take effect; in this case, the deadline is March 15. 

To learn more about filing Form 2553, read the IRS instructions here

Forms 1042 and 1042-S due

Form 1042 is the annual withholding tax return for US-sourced income for foreign individuals. Starting for tax year 2023, any withholding agent who’s a broker for the transfer of a publicly traded partnership interest has to withhold tax and report the withholdings on Form 1042. 

You’re required to file electronically if you’re a withholding agent that’s part of a financial institution or if you’re filing ten or more information returns. Otherwise, you can file a paper copy by March 15 to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 409101
Ogden, UT 84409

If you need more time to file Form 1042, you can file for an automatic six-month extension using Form 7004

Form 1042-S reports retirement plan distributions and certain other payments made to nonresident aliens who are subject to income tax withholding. As a withholding agent, you have to file this form by March 15 and can do it electronically through the FIRE system. You also have to furnish a copy to the income recipient. If you need an automatic 30-day extension to file Form 1042-S, file Form 8809 by March 15. 

March 31, 2024

Quarter 1 of 2024 ends

If your business operates on a calendar year, the first quarter of the year ends on March 31. Typically, March 31 marks the due date for a handful of other tax compliance deadlines. But because March 31 falls on a Sunday this year, you have until April 1 to submit items like Form 1099 and Form 8027. 

Electronic filing deadline for Form 1099-MISC

Employers submit Form 1099-MISC with the IRS to report certain kinds of reportable payments—like rent, royalties, awards, and prizes—that were paid last year. If you didn’t submit a paper return by the end of February, your due date to file electronically is March 31.  

HR compliance deadlines

March 1, 2024

Deadline for furnishing Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to employees

If you’re an applicable large employer (ALE)—meaning you have 50 or more full-time equivalent employees—you have to furnish Form 1095-C to all your employees eligible for health insurance coverage. The form explains the health benefits you offer and goes over your employees’ enrollment status. 

The due date for giving these forms to employees is March 1 (except for California employers, who had to furnish these forms by January 31, 2024). If you send these forms by mail, make sure they’re postmarked by this date since the IRS doesn’t offer extensions. 

If you’re self-insured and not considered an ALE, you need to provide Form 1095-B (along with Form 1094-B) to any employees identified as “responsible individuals” on the coverage form. Form 1095-B includes information about the health benefits you offer and your employee’s enrollment status. 

To learn more about filing Forms 1095-C and 1095-B, check out the IRS instructions here

MEWA M-1 filing deadline

Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) is a group health insurance plan that gives coverage to the employees of two or more employers. If you have MEWA or any other employee welfare benefit plan, you have to file an annual report to the Department of Labor (DOL) using Form M-1. This report is due by March 1. 

You can see filing instructions from the DOL here

HIPAA breach notification deadline for incidents with fewer than 500 people

According to the HIPAA Breach Notification rule, HIPAA-covered entities are required to notify affected individuals if they experience a breach of unsecured protected health information and report the event to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). 

Breaches that took place in 2023 and affected fewer than 500 people must be reported to those people and the OCR by March 1. Submit these notifications to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the HHS website

Deadline for creditable coverage disclosure (for calendar year plans)

The Medicare Modernization Act mandates that businesses that have Medicare Part D-eligible employees and offer group healthcare plans with prescription drug coverage must disclose to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) the creditable coverage status of their prescription drug plans. 

If this applies to you and you’re on a calendar year plan, you must submit this information online through the Disclosure to CMS form by March 1 (or within 60 days of the start of the plan year for a non-calendar year plan).

For more information, including comprehensive instructions and screenshots, see the CMS guide

March 2, 2024

OSHA e-filing deadline 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most companies with ten or more full-time employees to keep an annual record of all reportable workplace injuries and illnesses, the time and place they occurred, and other relevant details using Form 300A.

If you employ 250 or more employees in an industry covered by the recordkeeping regulation (or if you employ between 20 and 249 employees in certain high-risk industries), you have to file Form 300A electronically using the OSHA e-file website.  

March 31, 2024

Deadline for summary plan description

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires employers to provide employees with a simplified version of their benefits plan, called a summary plan description (SPD). The SPD covers an employee’s rights, benefits, and responsibilities under the plan. 

You must distribute the SPD to your plan participants within 90 days of the adoption of a new plan. If you follow a calendar year plan, March 31 is your deadline. 

Paige Smith Paige is a content marketing writer specializing in business, finance, and tech. She regularly writes for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies and small business lenders. See more of her work here:
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