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Advice for year-end: Fly the plane!

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

Flying airplanes is complicated, so student pilots are taught to fly the plane, and not worry about talking to air traffic control. Year-end is just as complicated, but you’re your own air traffic controller. Here are the final tasks you must accomplish now.

√  If you need an extension of time to file W-2s, 1099s or 1095s, file Form 8809 with the IRS.

√  Renew third-party designee status on Forms 940 and 945.

√  Review states’ filing deadlines and mandatory e-filing thresholds for W-2s.

√  Review wage and tax categories. Before processing W-2s and the fourth-quarter 941, verify that the general ledger employer/employee withholding liability accounts balance. Make correcting journal entries for out-of-balance situations caused by year-end adjustments.

√  Complete your fourth-quarter 941 first, then balance the 941 and W-2 totals. What must balance: Social Security and Medicare wages/taxes and federal income tax withheld.

Use the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) free Accuwage software to flag critical errors before distributing W-2s. Accuwage is available at www.ssa.gov/employer/accuwage.

√  Verify data before a preliminary printing of W-2s on plain paper. Watch: Employees’ Social Security numbers, employees whose wages exceed the 2016 Social Security wage base, benefits reported in Boxes 10 and 12, check marks in Box 13, and state/local totals. Match totals to a reconciliation worksheet.

√  Confirm that data extracted from templates/interfaces are accurate before transferring the data onto your records.

√  Verify that employees sign requests for duplicate, corrected or early W-2s and that signatures are legitimate. This ensures that ex-spouses or ID thieves haven’t slipped one by employees.

√  Notify the mailroom of the date W-2s will be mailed. Remind mailroom personnel to have sufficient postage in the postage machine.

W-3 WORKSHEET: Use this worksheet to reconcile your four quarterly 941s and W-2s, so the amounts you report to the SSA and the IRS match.


A step-by-step payroll compliance guide to each pay period, month and calendar quarter of the year is now available. Download it free here.

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