New Year Payroll Tax Checklist


Hopefully, you've already taken care of your 2018 payroll tax duties. (If you use Full Service Payroll, you only need to worry about distributing W-2s to your employees; we handle the rest of your tax filing.) 

Unfortunately, your "year-end" payroll tax responsibilities aren't finished once the new year begins. Don't worry β€” simply use the following checklist to stay organized and make sure you complete the required payroll tax tasks on time. You can also download and print the End-of-Year Payroll Checklist for free!


π₯ Update new wage rates, withholding allowances and other deductions.

π₯ Give a Form W-2 to each employee by January 31.

π₯ File Forms W-2 and W-3 with federal, state and local governments by January 31.

π₯ For the federal government, file with the Social Security Administration.

π₯ For states or localities with income taxes, file with the appropriate state and local governments.

π₯ Some employment taxes from the previous year are filed in the new year.

π₯ File FUTA taxes on Form 940 by January 31. Fourth quarter FUTA taxes are also due by January 31.

π₯ File federal income taxes and FICA taxes by January 31. Most employers will use Form 941, but some employers can use Form 944.


Did you complete all of the following year-end payroll tasks? If you didn't, we recommend that you contact a Certified Public Account (CPA) to determine the best path to abiding by all tax laws and regulations. You could face costly IRS penalties if you incorrectly handle your payroll and employment taxes. If you struggle with taxes, outsourcing payroll is a reliable option that may be better for you


π₯ Confirm identifying information for all employees.

π₯ Legal names

π₯ Social Security numbers

π₯ Current addresses of residence

π₯ Make sure all paychecks from the year are correctly recorded. Include:

π₯ Commissions, bonus pay or anything run outside of the normal payroll

π₯ Handwritten checks

π₯ Voided paychecks

π₯ Verify employee wages, benefits and deductions.

π₯ Look up remaining sick days, vacation time and other permitted time off for each employee.

π₯ Based on your policies, find out if employees want to roll over the time to next year or cash it out. If you have a use-it-or-lose-it policy, notify employees of how much  time they have left and when they need to use it by.

π₯ Order Form W-2 and Form W-3 from the IRS or another authorized provider.

π₯ Get updated labor law posters to hang up next year. You must meet both federal and state labor law posting requirements.

π₯ Check your tax rates for federal, state and local taxes.

π₯ Federal income tax

π₯ Federal unemployment tax (FUTA tax)

π₯ Social Security tax

π₯ Medicare tax

π₯ State income tax

π₯ State unemployment tax (SUTA tax)

π₯ Local income tax

π₯ Have employees review their withholding allowances for federal and state income tax withholdings.

π₯ Employees indicate federal withholding allowances on Form W-4.

π₯ Employees might also need a state withholding allowances form.

π₯ Determine next year’s deposit schedule for federal income tax and FICA taxes. You must pay these taxes on a monthly or semiweekly basis. Your deposit schedule is based on a lookback period.

You don’t have to keep up with payroll taxes on your own. 

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Disclaimer: This checklist is for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional financial and/or legal counsel.