Fix problems with running payroll: Your PAYE bill is not what you expected

It is a legal classification, not a personal choice, for a business owner to identify someone as an employee or a contractor. The letter should explain the payroll issue, show how it was remedied, and explain what caused the initial error in the first place. This level of transparency helps the employee understand the issue and brings clarity to your own records.

  • It’s never a bad idea to bring in an accountant or tax professional to help you set up your system and calculate withholdings.
  • Misclassification not only creates trust issues with your employees, but it is also likely to cost your organization money.
  • You may have independent contractors working for your company, as well as permanent employees.
  • By keeping track of regulatory updates, you can make changes to payroll processes accordingly, instead of playing catch-up with every law change.

Incomplete or missing records can cause a lot of headaches for employers. The FLSA requires that employers keep records for at least three years. Records used to compute pay should be kept for two years (i.e., timecards, work and time schedules, and records of additions to or reductions from wages). Such records must be made available for inspection by Department of Labor representatives. Businesses need to properly classify workers (i.e., employee or independent contractor) and failure to do so can lead to hefty penalties. Always double-check an employee’s status, focusing on their job duties and the terms of their contract.

Get the latest Business News

W-2 – the IRS requires employers to send employees a W-2 at the close of each tax year, typically no later than January 31st. This is because employees need to use any W-2s they receive to file their federal and state taxes. Employers are able to use Form SS-8 to ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about clarifications with employee or contractor classification. Labor-intensive as it can be, seeking clarifications for each employee is a foolproof way to be on the right side of the law. Many employers, however, tend to take shortcuts, and end up misclassifying their workers, and paying penalties as a result.

  • It also files a quarterly Form 941 to reconcile the amount of federal taxes you’ve deposited with the amount you owe to make sure you haven’t overpaid or underpaid.
  • Fringe benefits are the perks that businesses offer as part of employee compensation packages.
  • Many payroll mistakes occur as a result of payroll administrators not having enough or the right information.
  • There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data.
  • Avoiding or eliminating each of the aforementioned errors requires a range of solutions, but we’ve provided our top recommendations here.

For state payroll tax schedules, check your local taxing authority so you don’t fall behind. Make sure that your employees know how often they will be paid and when payday is. Because payroll mistakes sometimes go unreported, you are frequently ignorant of the harm done.

Tips for Avoiding Payroll Mistakes

You may want to correct the error right away if you accidentally only reported one week of a two-week pay period for all hourly employees. If you need to amend a 941 from a prior year and change wages or taxes paid, then you also need to adjust that year’s W-2 so they will match. If you find that a mistake was made in a quarter of a prior year, then you will have to correct both the Form 941 and Form W-2. Only once you have done all of this should you process payroll for your employees—this will help reduce the chances of errors being made.

Improve Your Payroll Process

A well-designed checklist can help you track each component, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. Second, to calculate pay after an employee leaves, add the holidays onto any extra unused vacation they didn’t take. If a public holiday falls within that period, you should pay them for six days. An accounting professional can help you decipher how payroll works and which fringe benefits create payroll liabilities. If you are looking to outsource Paychex can help you manage HR, payroll, benefits, and more from our industry leading all-in-one solution.

How to Avoid Errors and Improve Your Payroll Management

For example, if you pay a worker $10 per hour, you must pay them $15 per hour of overtime ($10 X 1.5). There are a number of things you can do to help avoid making mistakes while processing payroll for your business. Keep an eye on your inbox or mailbox for notifications about rate changes.

After a year of processing payments and taxes, organizations must send employees all the necessary tax forms. Employees need W-2 forms, while independent contractors who earned $600 or more need 1099s. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides benefits and protections, like overtime pay and minimum wage, for most employees.

Missing Payroll Tax Deadlines

You can’t always be bothered to run the numbers every time payroll is due, and many companies make the mistake of teaching just one other person how to handle such a monumental task. Logging all your payroll information in a digital format reduces your reliance on paper and requires nothing more than a computer to store locally or cloud storage. It becomes easy to locate information in a pinch through search filters and sorting through specific timeframes. It’s never a bad idea to bring in an accountant or tax professional to help you set up your system and calculate withholdings. It’s a time-consuming process that you’ll want to have someone focus on until you’ve ironed out all the kinks.

Late fines, penalties, and even legal difficulties may cost your firm a lot of money if you miss a tax deadline. Knowing your internal and external timelines—both for paydays and taxes—is critical to a seamless payroll process. With Paylocity’s payroll software integrated into your organization’s payroll process, you gain the ability to both identify and prevent payroll errors. A payroll discrepancy is any difference between what should be calculated and what is included on the employee’s paycheck. This might mean that hours are missing, so the employee worked more hours than the payroll has accounted for.

When a corporation lacks the necessary internal controls to handle its payroll, it might face serious problems ranging from phantom employees to hour padding to buddy punching. While a payroll system may have been correctly designed at the time of installation, rules change, and the setup should be reviewed annually against current legislation. Simultaneously, the best payroll software should integrate with your HR system and automate the most time-consuming procedures. Payroll software makes it simple to run reports, submit taxes, and deliver pay stubs, among other things. Your employee uses their W-2 and any other company-issued tax form to pay their income taxes.

If part of your job is  processing payroll for your organization, it goes without saying that you won’t only process it once or twice, you’ll process it hundreds of times. Take the time to write down step-by-step instructions of how to follow the payroll process. You can add  screenshots and even sections of “if you encounter this error, do this” to remind your future self what to do if you encounter a problem while you’re processing. While this may not be foolproof and you might still run into errors, you can add those to the process as you figure them out, making your document more and more comprehensive. Shiftbase doesn’t just streamline operations; it integrates seamlessly with various payroll software solutions. This means you can effortlessly transition all payroll data into your compensation package, ensuring that everything from employee hours to absences is accounted for accurately.

Overtime can be a difficult thing to calculate because it may differ per employee. Salaried employees do not receive overtime, but companies need to be careful in classifying these employees. Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Wage Theft

Before Chris has wiped the crusties out of his eyes, you’ve already let him down. Depending on where your business and employees are located, you might owe additional taxes (e.g., occupational privilege tax). When you pay the wrong rate, you must make up the difference in owed taxes. And, you might also have to pay late fees, penalties, or interest on the taxes you owe. Some cities may also have overtime wage laws that differ from state and federal laws. Use the Department of Labor’s (DOL) six-part economic realities test to determine if a new worker is an independent contractor or an employee.

Misclassification not only creates trust issues with your employees, but it is also likely to cost your organization money. From errors experienced by 1 in 4 employees to late paychecks at 32% of smaller businesses it’s clear what is the cost of fundraising for your nonprofit happen. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of payroll problems as well as minimize their impact on your employees and business. The first step to avoiding payroll errors is to make sure that you are up-to-date on all relevant laws and regulations. Staying compliant with the law will help you avoid costly penalties and fines.

Did you like this? Share it!