Who needs Halloween when year-end seems to come up like a witch riding on a broomstick—all at once. Take a few minutes to stir things up now and your Payroll cauldron won’t bubble over in December.
√ Inquire when your software provider will publish tax updates for 2013.
√ Have employees confirm their addresses and Social Security numbers (SSNs). If your payroll system masks SSNs, unmask them so employees can confirm them.
√ Register with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Business Services Online portal. Use the SSA’s Social Security Number Verification Service for SSNs that don’t match your records.
√ After you file your third-quarter Form 941, check your records against the totals on all three forms. Identify any over- or under-reporting of income or wages, and adjust tax overpayments or underpayments on your fourth-quarter 941.
√ Review authorization letters and corporate officers’ facsimile signatures for Forms 941, 940 and 945.
√ Check deduction codes for employees making charitable donations through payroll deductions. If you choose, you can report those amounts in Box 14 of their W-2s.
√ Inquire whether other departments will need year-end reports from Payroll. Send memos to other departments thanking them for their timely input last year and reminding them that their cooperation will be needed again this year. Examples: HR, accounts payable, accounts receivable, accounting, president/CEO, CFO.
√ Review the holiday processing schedule, and remind managers of the dates’ time sheets are due to Payroll because of the holiday schedule.
√ Identify new outsiders, such as third-party 401(k) plan administrators or third-party payers of sick pay, with whom you’ll be working.
√ Mark Nov. 1, or any later date, as the cutoff date, if you use the special accounting rule for noncash.