A Year-end Payroll Checklist to Finish the Year Strong

As the year comes to a close, you might be gung-ho about all the goals you want to achieve in next year. But before you can get the ball rolling in the new year, you have to wrap up some things in the current year—including your payroll.

There are a number of timely payroll requirements employers must complete at the end and beginning of each year. To help you stay on top of your responsibilities, use a year-end payroll checklist.

We know you’re busy (it’s been that kind of year). So to help you check “Making an end-of-year payroll checklist” off your to-do list, we made one for you.

Year-end payroll checklist 

Sure, you’re eager to get out with the old and in with the new. But, you can’t do that in your business without setting aside time to wrap up your payroll at year-end. 

Use our end-of-year payroll checklist to complete all your payroll tasks on time and set your business up for a successful new year.

For your convenience, we’ve split up our checklist into two groups: 

Year-end procedures to finish before the new year Tasks you should do at the beginning of the new year

Heads up! If you want more information on your year-end payroll responsibilities, plus specific instructions for accomplishing these tasks in Patriot’s Payroll, check out our help article, “Year-end Webinar Video (Plus Checklist) for 2020.” Here, you’ll find a recording of our webinar and a handy checklist handout.

Take a closer look at your responsibilities by learning more about each task of the year-end checklist for payroll.

Before year-end

Don’t enter a new year with disorganized records and loose ends. Get your employer end-of-year checklist in shape by completing the following tasks before your New Year celebrations begin. 

1. Confirm employee information

Is all of your personal employee information correct? Your records need to be accurate when it comes to each employee’s:

Full legal name Social Security number Current address Other contact information

Confirm and correct your records before distributing a W-2 form to each employee in the new year. Although you may have employee information on file, your records could have mistakes. If you have a missing or incorrect Social Security number or name on the W-2 form, you could wind up with penalties.

Not to mention, you could mail the Form W-2 to the wrong address if an employee recently moved. 

2. Make sure you recorded all paychecks

Did you miss recording some paychecks from the year? Did you pay anything to employees outside of regular payroll? If so, it’s time to update your records. 

Include all payments for commissions, bonus pay, and anything run outside of the normal payroll (e.g., retro pay).

Don’t forget to include handwritten checks. And, make sure you accurately recorded any voided paychecks you had throughout the year.

3. Look up time-off balances

If you offer employees paid time off (PTO), find out each employee’s used and remaining time-off balances. 

Look into whether employees want to roll over their accrued time off or cash it out, depending on your policy. Or, if you have a use-it-or-lose-it policy, notify employees of when they need to use their accrued PTO by. Keep in mind that there are PTO payout laws by state you must follow.

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