Year-end has many challenges for those of us responsible for payroll in our companies; however, if you process your payroll in-house, your to-do list is even longer.  In this post, we’ll discuss the tasks you’ll need to do in order to be ready when you get to that last payroll run of 2012.

First, be sure to read the prior two posts, Year-End Payroll Reminders and Year-End Payroll Reminders – What Needs to Be Added to the W-2.  Taking care of those items is critical to having a smooth year-end.

Now is the time to order the year-end payroll supplies, including blank W-2s and W-3s, blank 1099s and 1096s and the envelopes for your employee copies.  Be sure to order extras in case the printer misbehaves or you need to rerun them for some other reason. 

There are lots of suppliers out there…take a few minutes to do some comparison shopping.  You’ll be surprised at the range of prices for the same product.  Also, check your payroll software to confirm what kind of W-2/1099 format it uses.  There are many different versions and you’ll want to ensure you have the right forms.  Last minute reorders can be both pricey and stressful!

Confirm that any manual checks you have written during the year, as well as voided or reversed checks, have been accounted for in the payroll system.

You’ll want to be sure you have all your fringe benefits and other compensation ready to enter with the last payroll run of the year.  Many have tax implications so you need to have regular earnings to withhold the proper amounts.

Finally, confirm your year-to-date totals.  Are the tax totals reasonable based on the total earnings?  Are there any negative year-end fields?  Are pre-tax deductions being subtracted before taxes are calculated on earnings?

Year-end doesn’t have to be frantic as long as you begin the planning process well in advance.  Plan to get started now so you don’t have to spend you holidays in the office instead of with family and friends!

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