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Payroll Best Practices: 10 Areas You Must Handle Correctly to Ensure Compliance  

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Payroll professionals, Human resources professionals, Accounting professionals, Finance professionals, Business owners, Legal professionals, Anyone responsible for the compliance issues of a payroll department

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Seminar Summary:

This HR compliance course is designed for people tasked with ensuring compliance within the payroll process for their organization (see full course description)

 

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Training Course Syllabus:


Payroll Best Practices: 10 Areas You Must Handle Correctly to Ensure Compliance

Course Description:

Paying an employee is not simply multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours worked to get the gross wages and deducting the taxes from these.

Employer responsibilities go beyond taxing and reporting what is paid through the paycheck under IRS and state requirements. Any payment to an employee could and should be considered taxable wages. So the payroll department must not only worry about the fringe benefits it processes such as third-party sick pay, but all of the payments made by accounts payable such as auto allowances, moving expenses, prizes and awards or gift cards given to employees. Garnishments also have to be handled properly. And the responsibility doesn’t end when the employment is terminated. It is also the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all paychecks issued to the employee have been cashed or it must relinquish those wages to the state at regular intervals.

This highly interactive seminar on payroll compliance will help attendees learn:

  • Best practices to comply with the various laws and regulations in 10 strategic compliance areas that are the key targets of government audits or considered the most misinterpreted when paying employees.
  • Which method to use when calculating overtime (there are two permitted under the FLSA).
  • What is and is not a permissible deduction to an exempt employee’s salary under the salary basis rules and how to properly deduct for various types of garnishments to ensure compliance.
  • How to handle the tax and wage/hour law requirements when an employee has been overpaid, and who must handle the taxation of third party sick pay—the employer, the employer’s agent or not the employer’s agent.
  • State tax implications and requirements for withholding the proper income tax when an employee lives and works in two or more states.
  • Best practices for setting up a system to track, report and remit wages considered to be abandoned.
  • Key areas to examine when payments are made to employees through AP such as prizes, bonuses, awards or gift cards.
  • How to handle auto allowances, which may be taxable one month but not the next.
  • How to determine if the personal use of company property such as cell phones and company cars are taxable or not and how to determine the taxable wages for the personal use of a company aircraft.
  • When providing meals or lodging to your employee is or is not taxable.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completing this course participants will:

  • Understand how to calculate overtime correctly under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Know when you can and cannot deduct from an exempt employee’s salary.
  • Be able to determine the proper state income tax to withhold when an employee lives and works in two or more states and which state gets the unemployment insurance.
  • Understand what are the rules and regulations governing the withholding for child support, federal and state tax levies, creditor garnishments, voluntary wage assignments and bankruptcies.
  • Learn how to handle overpayments under both wage and hour law as well as IRS regulations and what to do if the overpayment and the repayment occur in separate tax calendar years.
  • Learn the tax ramifications of third party sick pay and how whether the insurance company is the employer’s agent or not the employer’s agent affects the taxation and reporting of the wages.
  • Understand what is considered abandoned wages and how to track, remit and report them properly to the correct state agency.
  • Comprehend the basic taxation and calculations concerning the personal use of company property including cars, airplanes, cell phones, tablets and housing.
  • Have a basic understanding of when meals and lodging provided by the employer are taxable wages to the employee and when they are not.
  • Be able to determine when an auto allowance paid to an employee is taxable income.
  • Understand the basic tax rules concerning items paid out of accounts payable such as prizes, awards, bonuses, educational assistance payments and relocation benefits as well as the definition of de minimis.

Topic Background:

Paying an employee is not simply multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours worked to get the gross wages and deducting the taxes from that. Processing a paycheck correctly is infinitely more complicated. Accurate decisions must be made to determine the final outcome of the wages owed. These decisions involve the application of a complex set of wage and hour laws and tax regulations. Misunderstanding the meaning of the term “regular rate of pay”, violating the “salary basis rule” or failure to withhold taxes properly for a multistate employee are just a few of the areas where even one wrong decision can result in grave consequences for the employer. For that error will be costly in terms of penalties, fines and interest. But these complex wage and hour or tax laws do not even scratch the surface of what payroll must comply with to properly process a paycheck. Other laws and agencies must be satisfied as well. One of the most challenging of these laws involves deducting for garnishments. Whether it is for child support, tax levies or to repay a creditor loan, garnishments must be handled properly. Deducting too little and the employer face fines from the one issuing the garnishment. Take out too much and the employee will have reason to sue. It is a fine line to walk indeed.

Course Outline:

Day One (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)


Registration Process: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Session Start Time: 9:00 AM

  1. 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM - Wage and hour law (90 Min)
    • Paying exempt employees
      • Salary basis rule
    • Paying nonexempt employees
      • Tracking hours worked
      • Travel pay
      • Calculating overtime
  2. 10:30 AM to 10:45 AM - Break (15 Min)
  3. 10:45 AM to 12 Noon - Multistate Taxation (75 Min)
    • Withholding state income tax correctly when an employee lives and works in two or more states
    • Paying state unemployment when an employee lives and works in two or more states
  4. 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM - Lunch (60 Min)
  5. 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM - Garnishments (90 Min)
    • Withholding and paying the following:
      • Child support
      • Federal tax levy
      • State tax levy
      • Creditor garnishment
      • Voluntary wage assignments
      • Bankruptcies
  6. 2:30 PM to 2:45 PM - Break (15 Min)
  7. 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM - Continuation of Garnishments (60 Min)
  8. 3:45 PM to 4:30 PM - Overpayments in Payroll (45 Min)
    • Handling overpayments made in the payroll department correctly under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour law
    • Proper handling of overpayments under IRS rules including:
      • Overpayments repaid within the same calendar year
      • Overpayments repaid in a different calendar year

Day Two (8:30 AM – 1:00 PM)


  1. 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM - Third Party Sick Pay (60 Min)
    • Withholding taxation correctly from Third party sick pay payments including:
      • FIT withholding
      • FICA withholding
      • FUTA taxation
    • Proper reporting of third party sick pay
      • Reporting wages and deposits on Form 941 correctly
      • Proper completion of Form W-2
  2. 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM - Abandoned Wages (60 Min)
    • Rules and regulations of abandoned wages
    • Setting up a system to track abandoned wages
    • When are wages considered abandoned
    • How to report and remit abandoned wages
    • How to perform due diligence when needed
  3. 10:30 AM to 10:45 AM - Break (15 Min)
  4. 10:45 AM to 11:30 AM - Personal Use of Company Property (45 Min)
    • Company cars
      • 4 IRS methods available to tax the personal use of a company car and when to use each one
    • Company aircraft
      • The proper method to determine taxable wages when an employee flies for personal reasons
    • Company cell phones and tablets
      • When is the phone or tablet taxable income
      • When is the usage of the phone or tablet taxable wages
    • Company housing
      • How to handle executive use of company lodging such as condos or yachts
  5. 11:30 AM to 11:45 AM - Meals and Lodging (15 Min)
    • When is company provided meals or lodging nontaxable
  6. 11:45 AM to 12:00 Noon - Auto Allowances (15 Min)
    • When are auto allowances taxable
    • When are auto allowance nontaxable
    • What is an accountable plan and how does it affect the taxation of auto allowances
  7. 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM - Other Payroll Related Items paid out of Accounts Payable (60 Min)
    • Determine the proper taxation or reporting of:
      • De Minimis fringe benefits
      • Prizes
      • Bonuses
      • Achievement awards
      • Gift Certificates or Cards
      • Educational Assistance
      • Relocation or moving expenses

Seminar Summary:

This HR compliance course is designed for people tasked with ensuring compliance within the payroll process for their organization (see full course description)

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