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Essentials of Payroll



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Making Voluntary Unemployment Tax Contributions


imageMaking Voluntary Unemployment Tax Contributions If a state uses the reserve ratio method described in the previous section to arrive at the contribution rate charged to a business, then the business may have the option to contribute additional funds into its ... [full story]


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Termination Payments


imageTermination Payments A variety of state laws govern how soon employees are to be paid after their employment is terminated. The key factor in these laws is whether an employee leaves a company under his or her own volition or if ... [full story]


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Payments to Employee Credit Cards


imagePayments to Employee Credit Cards Some companies employ people who, for whatever reason, either are unable to set up personal bank accounts or choose not to do so. In these cases, they must take their paychecks to a check-cashing service, which ... [full story]


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Direct Deposit Payments


imageDirect Deposit Payments Direct Deposit Payments Direct deposit is the most prevalent method for paying employees. It involves the direct transfer of funds from the company payroll account to the personal savings or checking accounts of its employees. By doing so, employees ... [full story]


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Check Payments


imageCheck Payments Check Payments A far more common method for paying employees is to create a check payment for each one. It is increasingly rare to see a company manually calculate and create payroll checks, since very inexpensive software can be purchased ... [full story]


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Cash Payments


imageCash Payments Though cash payments are still used, this practice tends to be limited to day laborers who work for short periods. It is not a recommended payment approach, as it requires a considerable amount of labor to calculate and distribute ... [full story]


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Frequency of Payment


imageFrequency of Payment Frequency of Payment The frequency of payment to employees covers two areas: the number of days over which pay is accumulated before being paid out and the number of days subsequent to this period before payment is physically made. Organizations ... [full story]


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Student Loans


imageStudent Loans The government can mandate the garnishment of an employee's wages in order to pay back the overdue portion of an outstanding student loan. Garnishment orders can be issued either by the Department of Education or a state guarantee agency, ... [full story]


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Pensions and Other Savings Plans


imagePensions and Other Savings Plans An employer may offer several types of savings plans to its employees. In its simplest form, a business may arrange to make regular deductions from employee paychecks and deposit these funds in any number of pension ... [full story]


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Loan Repayments


imageLoan Repayments Employees may either have loans payable to the company, or the company may have obtained loans on their behalf. For example, a corporate officer may have been extended a loan in order to move to a different company location ... [full story]


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Garnishments for Unpaid Taxes


imageGarnishments for Unpaid Taxes If an employee does not pay his or her federal or local income taxes, the employer may receive a notification from the IRS to garnish that person's wages in order to repay the taxes. The garnishment will ... [full story]


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Employee Portion of Insurance Expenses


imageEmployee Portion of Insurance Expenses Employee Portion of Insurance Expenses Most businesses offer some form of medical and related insurance to their employees. This can include medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, long-term disability, life, and supplemental life insurance coverage. An employer may ... [full story]


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Deduction of Prior Pay Advances


imageDeduction of Prior Pay Advances Employees who require more cash than they earn on their normal pay-checks sometimes ask their employers for an advance on their pay. The need may be nonbusiness-related, such as a sudden medical crisis or to purchase ... [full story]


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Child Support Payments


imageChild Support Payments The payroll manager will almost certainly see court-ordered child support withholding orders at some point during his or her career. Tightly enforced federal laws help to track down parents who are not making support payments; these laws also ... [full story]


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Charitable Contributions


imageCharitable Contributions Many employers encourage their employees to give regular contributions to local or national charities, of which the United Way is the most common example. Employers typically have employees sign a pledge card that authorizes certain amounts to be deducted ... [full story]


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Asset Purchases


imageAsset Purchases Asset Purchases An employer may allow its employees to either purchase assets from the company or through it. In the first case, the company may be liquidating assets and so offers to sell them to its employees. In the latter ... [full story]


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Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return


imageEmployer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return Form 941 must be filed by employers on a quarterly basis with the federal government. This form identifies the amount of all wages on which taxes were withheld, the amount of taxes ... [full story]


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Federal Tax Deposit Penalties


imageFederal Tax Deposit Penalties The IRS imposes significant penalties if a business does not make its tax deposits on time, makes insufficient deposits, or does not use the EFTPS electronic filing system when it is required to do so. Its penalty ... [full story]


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Remitting Federal Taxes


imageRemitting Federal Taxes Once Social Security, income tax, and Medicare taxes have been withheld from an employee's pay, they are essentially the property of the federal government; the company is merely holding them in escrow until the next required remittance date. ... [full story]


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Registering with the Government for Tax Remittances


imageRegistering with the Government for Tax Remittances When a company sends payroll tax remittances to the federal government, the government needs to identify the company so it can give the company proper credit for the remittances. This is done with an ... [full story]


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Payroll Taxes for Aliens


imagePayroll Taxes for Aliens An employer is required to withhold all types of taxes for resident aliens. Holders of the I–551 Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card") fall into this category. However, employers do not withhold Social Security or Medicare taxes if ... [full story]


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Payroll Taxes for Employees Working Abroad


imagePayroll Taxes for Employees Working Abroad Payroll Taxes for Employees Working Abroad Special withholding rules apply if an employee works in other countries. The first consideration is the duration: If an employee works abroad for only part of the year, in ... [full story]


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State Income Taxes


imageState Income Taxes All states require state income tax withholding, with the exceptions of Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Those states requiring a business to withhold state income taxes from its employees all ... [full story]


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Medicare Taxes


imageMedicare Taxes Employers are required to withhold 1.45 percent of each employee's pay, which is forwarded to the government Medicare fund. The employer must also match this amount, so the total remittance to the government is 2.9 percent. This withholding applies ... [full story]


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Social Security Taxes


imageSocial Security Taxes Employers are required to withhold 6.2 percent of each employee's pay, which is forwarded to the government Social Security fund. The employer must also match this amount, so the total remittance to the government is 12.4 percent. This ... [full story]


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Sick Pay


imageSick Pay Sick Pay In general, sick pay made to employees requires all of the Social Security, Medicare, and income tax withholdings that are calculated for normal wages; however, there are a few exceptions. For example, if an employee dies and sick ... [full story]


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Supplemental Pay


imageSupplemental Pay Several of the alternative tax calculation methods just described are used because the amount withheld from employee pay for the year-to-date is higher than will be needed by the end of the calendar year. This may be caused by ... [full story]


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Federal Income Taxes


imageFederal Income Taxes An employer is required by law to deduct income taxes from employee pay. If it uses a payroll supplier, then the calculation of the appropriate income tax amounts is completely invisible to it, since the supplier handles this ... [full story]


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W-4 Form


imageW-4 Form W-4 Form When an employee is hired, he or she is required by law to fill out a W-4 form, which can be done either on paper or in an electronic format. An employee uses this form to notify the ... [full story]


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Workers Compensation Benefits


imageWorkers' Compensation Benefits Businesses are required by law to obtain workers' compensation insurance, which provides their employees with wage compensation if they are injured on the job. This insurance may be provided by a state-sponsored fund or by a private insurance ... [full story]


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Stock Purchase Plans


imageStock Purchase Plans Stock Purchase Plans Some companies offer stock purchase plans that allow employees to buy company stock at a reduced price. The purchases are typically made through ongoing deductions from employee paychecks, and are usually capped at a specified percentage ... [full story]


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Stock options


imageStock options [3] Stock options  A stock option gives an employee the right to buy stock at a specific price within a specific time period. Stock options come in two varieties: the incentive stock option (ISO) and the nonqualified stock option (NSO). Incentive ... [full story]



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