As the owner of a business, acquiring employees is a key indicator that your organization is growing. However, as many employers soon discover, understanding what is payroll and configuring payroll taxes can get complicated quickly. Ensure you’re in the know when it comes to payroll. You should understand how to do payroll, how are payroll taxes calculated, and how to anticipate how much are payroll taxes come time to pay them.
In this blog, we’re going to explore the question, “What does payroll mean?” We’ll also discover how you as an employer can anticipate the taxes involved in employee payroll.
What does payroll mean from the lens of an employer? Mainly, payroll is the compensation businesses pay to their employees for working a set period. Keep in mind that payroll can differ from one pay period to another because of variables such as overtime and sick pay. Typically, human resources (HR) or a third-party accounting firm manages payroll tasks and potential pay variables. The payroll process can include tracking hours worked for employees, calculating pay, and distributing payments via direct deposit or check.
Payroll can also refer to the list of a company's employees and the amount of compensation due to each of them for a predetermined period of work. Payroll is a major expense for most businesses and is almost always deductible. The expense of payroll can be deducted from gross income, lowering a business’s taxable income.
Many companies outsource payroll services to accounting firms to streamline the hiring and employee management process. Employers track the number of hours each employee works and relay this information to their chosen payroll service or accountant. Come payday, the payroll service or accounting firm calculates the gross amount the employee is owed based on the number of hours or weeks worked and the pay rate. The service then deducts taxes and other withholdings from earnings and then pays the employees.
How are payroll taxes calculated and are you responsible for them as an employer? Since your business and your employee are both taxpayers, there are two types of payroll taxes: ones that come out of your own pocket and ones that you collect from employee paychecks and remit to the federal government. You as an employer are responsible for managing both of these two types of payroll taxes, or you can outsource these tasks to a payroll service provider or accountant.
Part of understanding how to do payroll involves understanding how are payroll taxes calculated. Let’s cover how you can answer how much are payroll taxes based on the payroll taxes you pay out-of-pocket and the payroll taxes you retain from employees to remit to the federal government.
You can determine how much are payroll taxes using a few key calculations. Let’s begin by looking at federal, state, and local income taxes.
When using the Wage Bracket Method, there are two possible calculations: one for employees with a Form W-4 from 2019 or earlier, the other for employees with a Form W-4 from 2020 or later. You can find Form W-4 from 2019 and its instructions using this IRS website link. For information regarding the Wage Bracket Method 2020, you can follow this link.
The Percentage Method tends to be more complicated and isn’t recommended if you’re doing this on your own. If you want to learn more about the Percentage Method, you can read all about it and the wage bracket methods in IRS Publication 15-T.
Once you’ve figured out how much federal, state, and local income tax to withhold from your employees’ paychecks, your next step will be to figure out how much FICA to withhold (more on that below), and how much you’ll be required to pay on their behalf.
When it comes to funding FICA, your employee pays 50% from their paycheck and the employer pays 50% out of their own revenue. The current tax rate for social security is 6.2% for the employer and 6.2% for the employee, or 12.4% total. The current rate for Medicare is 1.45% for the employer and 1.45% for the employee, or 2.9% total. Combined, the FICA tax rate is 15.3% of the employee’s wages.
The FUTA tax rate is 6% on the first $7,000 of wages paid to employees in a calendar year. However, employers actually pay 0.6% since each state receives a credit to cover the remaining 5.4% of FUTA payments.
Figuring out the answer to “What does payroll mean?” can be complicated, but making payroll tax payments is thankfully much simpler.
For federal income tax payments, just enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), then make your payment online.
When it comes to state and local payroll tax payments, state and local payroll taxes are governed at the state and local levels. Payroll tax rates and rules vary depending on where your business is located. To find out more about payroll tax in your state and local area, check out the Federation of Tax Administrators’ list of each state’s taxing authority.
Federal, state, and local income taxes. As an employer, you withhold income tax on behalf of your employees and then remit those taxes quarterly to federal, state, and local tax authorities. To calculate how much of your employee’s federal income tax to withhold, you’ll need a copy of their Form W-4, as well as your employee’s gross pay.
As a business owner, it can be hard to get a firm handle on how to do payroll. What does payroll mean in terms of the time you have to invest in taxes and calculations?
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Allow us to be the experts on payroll services and taxes so you can focus on growing your company. In addition to bookkeeping for small and large businesses, 4Corner offers support in choosing and using accounting software, professional tax services, and valuable financial advice to guide decision making. We help businesses both large and small implement proven growth strategies so you can turn our accounting and bookkeeping services into revenue successes.
Being a small business owner can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Every business owner has their own reasons.
If you’re a small business owner or thinking about starting a small business, you’re likely focused on saving as much money.
Payroll might not be the first thing that jumps to mind when you think about making your construction business efficient.