Blog Post

How to Keep Your Employees from Stressing over Tax Deadlines

Published on

Mar 5

Robyn Hollas

Tax season is fast approaching and it's important to be prepared for the common questions and concerns that employees may have. In this article, we will discuss some of the key things to keep in mind when reviewing tax forms and elections, as well as provide helpful tips for troubleshooting and updating employee withholdings. 

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2024 Tax Filing for Employers

April 15 tax filing deadline is right around the corner! Employees are finalizing their tax returns to ensure they file by the deadline!

Many Human Resource or Payroll departments are asked the same question each year by multiple employees.

“My tax person says I should have paid more taxes." 

"Why did you not deduct more?” 

While it can occasionally be a frustrating question to be asked, we must remember that employees often fill out forms during onboarding and never think about the forms again. Until they file taxes. A few things to consider as you walk your employee through reviewing employee elections are:

  • Did the employee fill out the form correctly for filing status?
  • Did the employee have a change in marital status?
  • Was a new dependent added this year through birth or adoption?
  • Was there a change to the number of dependents the employee can claim for the filing year? 
  • Did a pay increase occur during the year?

Guide to W4 Form and Federal Withholding

Keep in mind that as an HR or payroll professional answering general questions is not illegal but filling out an employee’s W4 form for an employee is illegal. Each employee must fill out the W4 on their own behalf. A go to on troubleshooting federal withholding is to review the last filled out W4 for the employee. 

So often life gets busy with getting married, creating, or expanding a family or changes in our families that we forget to adjust for our tax deductions. An easy review of the most current W4 can often resolve this issue if the employee does not think enough taxes were deducted last year. Verifying the updated W4 can easily be completed through the audit trail reports in Scissortail.

W4s and Employee Marital Status

If a person is no longer married and the W4 indicates the employee is filing jointly, a new W4 would need to be recommended to update the filing status. Maybe a person that was formerly considered by the IRS a dependent no longer qualifies for that status. This is another reason for an updated W4 form. 

W4 Employee Wage Increases 

A pay increase may also have taken place during the year. The employee may want to evaluate the tax deductions. It could increase the employee’s income to move the employee to the next tax bracket. 

A surprise tax balance on their tax return would not be welcomed. Encouraging reviews of the latest W4 for all employees is highly encouraged throughout the year.

Calculating Estimated Taxes

There are many free online calculators that an employee can use to estimate taxes from each paycheck. The employee can either enter a salary or an hourly rate, the state he or she works in and the W4 elections. Once the information is entered and a payroll has been processed, the employee can compare the taxes deducted from their pay statement to the online calculator. If any further W4 updates need to be done, the employee can submit a new form to the payroll department for processing. 

Updating W4’s iN Scissortail HCM

Updating the W4 form in Scissortail is a quick and easy process. The employee can go through their Employee Self Service. An employee can simply go to My HR>Forms>Government Forms>Withholding. The electronic form can be updated and electronically signed for the next payroll cycle. 

This is a seamless process for the employee and payroll department to no longer handle paper forms. Each employee can review their current W4 at any time throughout the year. While they are in the portal, they can sign up for electronic consent for their W2. This saves time waiting for their W2 in the mail. 

In conclusion, managing employee tax deadlines can be a daunting task that presents challenges not only for the employees but also for the HR and payroll professionals. However, with proper preparation and communication, it is possible to reduce the stress associated with tax season and protect the mental health of the employees. 

Reviewing tax forms, offering helpful tips, and understanding the common questions and concerns of employees are some key steps to ensure a smooth tax filing process. By implementing these strategies, employers can make the tax season less overwhelming for their staff and show that their well-being is a top priority.

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