Payroll taxes are kindred spirits to things that “go bump in the night.” Yes, they are scary. but here are a few resources to take the fright out.
I have been doing payroll my entire career, and as a result, I have a few go-to payroll and payroll tax resources that are my favorites. You may find them useful too.
The first source is www.paycheckcity.com, a site I’ve been recommending to employees for years. Not all payroll systems are designed to do a “what if” scenario, so this site is the next best thing. When you want to calculate how your bottom line will be affected by changes in exemptions, marital status, or location, or an increase/reduction in pay, Paycheck City makes it simple to do so. The website is so easy to use that even employees without a background in payroll can calculate their simulations.
Another go-to I have always recommended to employees is the use of the 1040ES form from the Internal Revenue Service. The 1040ES is basically a mini-tax return. Employees can calculate how a change in their circumstances will impact their annual income tax return without getting down to the fine nuts and bolts. The 1040ES provides a high-level, big picture view that will let you know if you are withholding too much federal income tax each pay period or if you need to up the game, so to speak, to avoid those pesky penalties the IRS is so fond of.
Pennsylvania has a jillion local tax codes—and that’s after they simplified the process with Act 32 some years back. So, I’ve learned it pays to have handy local resources to answer the various payroll questions that relate to local tax codes for your state. The bookmarks I have for Pennsylvania locals include:
You can find pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the PA local tax codes and rates on these three sites. Other states have similar resources, worth tracking down and bookmarking if you need them.
Since I’ve started working here at CS3, I receive a daily feed called, “What's New from Kronos — News from HR and Payroll Resource Library.” This is another handy tool to help employees stay on top of what is coming down the pike tax-wise.
And of course, not to be left out is the American Payroll Association, which I have been a member of for most of my career. The Association provides a monthly newsletter (Payroll Currently Newsletter) and a monthly magazine (Paytech Magazine), which are great for keeping up with what is new in the industry.
Here in Tulsa, we have a local APA chapter called the Northeast Oklahoma Chapter. Life before COVID-19 included monthly meetings featuring a guest speaker and covering a multitude of payroll topics. These monthly gatherings allow you to connect with like-minded folks who are always happy to share in your pain or celebrate your victories each time new complex legislation is introduced. We are now hot and heavy down the Zoom trail, like a lot of other businesses. But we are staying connected nonetheless, which is so valuable.
I remember when people used to say, “All Payroll does is write checks.” Oh, those were the days! But not anymore. With all the governance around benefits, wage and hour laws, 401K plans, immigration laws, and every other kind of law that would apply to the business of payroll, this area of business is complex. Make use of these resources and others to ease the process.
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