Neuronal activity in early visual cortex depends on attention shifts but the contribution to working memory has remained unclear. Here, we examine neuronal activity in the different layers of the primary visual cortex (V1) in an attention-demanding and a working memory task. A current-source density analysis reveales top-down inputs in the superficial layers and layer 5, and an increase in neuronal firing rates most pronounced in the superficial and deep layers and weaker in input layer 4. This increased activity is strongest in the attention task but it is also highly reliable during working memory delays. A visual mask erases the V1 memory activity, but it reappeares at a later point in time. These results provide new insights in the laminar circuits involved in the top-down modulation of activity in early visual cortex in the presence and absence of visual stimuli.