Payroll management is a critical function for businesses of all sizes. Accurate and compliant payroll processing is essential to ensure employees are paid correctly and on time while avoiding costly mistakes and penalties. In this article, we’ll discuss the top payroll mistakes that business owners should be aware of and, more importantly, avoid. 

Automate and outsource the complex management of wages, direct deposit, tax codes, and all payroll and tax functions to Asure’s experts who ensure you remain compliant. 

1 – Employee Misclassification 

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors or vice versa can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Ensure that you correctly classify your workers according to IRS guidelines to avoid issues down the road. 

2 – Inaccurate Time Tracking 

Inaccurate time tracking can result in incorrect payments and employee dissatisfaction. Implement reliable timekeeping systems and regularly review and verify employee hours to prevent discrepancies. 

3 – Missing Payroll Deadlines 

Failing to meet payroll tax deadlines can lead to costly penalties and upset employees. Stay informed about federal, state, and local payroll tax deadlines and ensure your employees are paid on time. 

4 – Overtime Errors 

Calculating overtime incorrectly can lead to underpayment and compliance issues. Familiarize yourself with labor laws, and ensure your employees are compensated correctly for overtime work. 

5 – Ignoring Tax Reporting 

Accurate tax reporting is crucial for compliance and avoiding tax-related issues. Stay up-to-date on tax laws and regulations, and consistently report employee wages and taxes to the appropriate authorities. 

6 – Neglecting Employee Benefits 

Employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, can have tax implications. Make sure you account for these benefits accurately in payroll to prevent errors in tax withholding and reporting. 

7 – Not Keeping Detailed Records 

Effective record keeping is essential for payroll accuracy and compliance. Maintain organized records of payroll information, including pay stubs, timesheets, tax filings, and benefit records to resolve disputes and audits efficiently. The FLSA requires employers to keep pay records for 3 years. Certain states also have recordkeeping requirements.  

8 – Failure to Address Garnishments 

Ignoring wage garnishments, such as child support or creditor orders, can result in non-compliance and legal troubles. Ensure that you properly deduct and remit garnishments from employees’ paychecks as required by law. 

9 – Overlooking State and Local Taxes 

In addition to federal taxes, state and local taxes can significantly impact payroll. Be aware of the specific tax requirements in your state and local jurisdiction and ensure you comply with them. 

10 – Lack of Payroll System 

Some businesses still attempt manual payroll processing, which can be prone to errors and inefficiencies. Invest in reliable payroll software or outsource your payroll to professionals to ensure accuracy, compliance, and time savings. 


Payroll management is a complex task, but avoiding these common mistakes is vital for maintaining a smooth and error-free payroll system. By addressing employee classification, accurate time tracking, meeting deadlines, handling overtime correctly, staying updated on tax reporting, accounting for employee benefits, maintaining detailed records, addressing garnishments, considering state and local taxes, and implementing a payroll system, you can significantly reduce the risk of costly payroll errors and associated consequences.  

Prioritize payroll accuracy to ensure your business runs efficiently and compliant with regulations. Automate and outsource the complex management of wages, direct deposit, tax codes, and all payroll and tax functions to Asure’s experts who ensure you remain compliant. 

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