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The Payroll Compliance Checklist You Need to Use

Payroll compliance isn’t a once per year task you can easily check off. Remaining compliant is a big job. You must make sure your business is compliant with all payroll laws year round.

You can make payroll compliance easier and less stressful by doing tasks throughout the year. In fact, there are some tasks, like filing taxes, that you must do multiple times throughout the year.

To keep track of what you need to do, use a payroll compliance checklist.

The payroll compliance checklist

Use this payroll compliance checklist to complete your payroll compliance tasks. It breaks down what you need to do every payday, month, quarter, and year.

Every payday

  • List all earnings, taxes, and other payroll deductions.
  • Record all manual and voided checks.
  • Make any payroll adjustments.

Payroll Compliance Checklist Infographic

Every month

  • Reconcile your payroll register.
  • Make sure all voided checks are recorded properly.
  • For any manual checks, make sure you recorded gross and net amounts, plus deductions.
  • Deposit your federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. For monthly depositors, the deposits are due by the 15th day of the following month. Some employers will be semiweekly depositors instead, meaning they will deposit more frequently.

January

  • Send Form W-2 to your employees by January 31.
  • Send Forms W-2 and W-3 to federal, state, and local governments by January 31.
  • File your Quarter 4 Form 941 or annual Form 944 by January 31 to report your federal income, Social Security, and Medicare tax liabilities.
  • File Form 940 by January 30 to report your FUTA tax liabilities.
  • Deposit your Quarter 4 FUTA tax liabilities by January 31.

February

  • Send corrected Forms W-2 to employees and governments if necessary.
  • Form 941 filers: If you made full and on-time deposits during the fourth quarter for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, you have until February 10 to file your Quarter 4 Form 941.
  • Form 944 filers: If you made full and on-time deposits during the year for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, you have until February 10 to file Form 944.
  • Form 940: Form 941 filers: If you made full and on-time quarterly deposits for FUTA tax, you have until February 10 to file Form 940.

March

  • Respond to any government notices saying your Form W-2 totals don’t match Form 941 or Form 944.

April

  • File your Quarter 1 Form 941 by April 30.
  • Deposit your Quarter 1 FUTA tax liabilities by April 30.

May

  • Form 941 filers: If you made full and on-time deposits during the first quarter for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, you have until May 10 to file your Quarter 1 Form 941.

July

  • Do a mid-year review of your payroll to make sure everything is recorded properly.
  • File your Quarter 2 Form 941 by July 31.
  • Deposit your Quarter 1 FUTA tax liabilities by April 30.

August

  • Form 941 filers: If you made full and on-time deposits during the second quarter for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, you have until August 10 to file your Quarter 2 Form 941.

September

  • Begin thinking about holiday pay. How much will you give? When will you give it?
  • Make sure you know all your year-end payroll deadlines and duties.

October

  • File your Quarter 3 Form 941 by October 31.
  • Deposit your Quarter 3 FUTA tax liabilities by October 31.

November

  • Form 941 filers: If you made full and on-time deposits during the third quarter for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, you have until November 10 to file your Quarter 3 Form 941.

December

Every quarter

  • Reconcile your payroll register. Make sure all taxes are accounted for and recorded correctly. Make adjustments as needed.

Every year

  • Confirm employees’ identifying information, such as legal names, Social Security numbers, and addresses of residence.
  • Update labor law posters.
  • Check and update your tax rates.
  • Determine your deposit schedule for federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.
  • Have employees review their withholding allowances for federal and state income taxes.

Make payroll compliance easier by using payroll software with a tax filing service. When you use our full-service software, our payroll services take care of depositing and filing employment taxes. And, we’ll create easy-to-read payroll reports for you to use. Try the software for free.

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