Each year I process W2 forms for employees, via AccuraBooks Full Service Payroll Solutions, for my clients.
It seems like each year, I learn something new regarding what to review and watch out for prior to actually processing any payroll tax forms. So here are some basic things to watch out for prior to processing your W2/W3 tax forms (this advice might differ amongst the different payroll systems out there, but nevertheless, it should be something to get you thinking prior to submitting payroll tax forms to government agencies and employees):
- Ensure both the company contact name AND the legal name is correct:
- If your company contact name is supposed to be the same as the legal name, BUT if there are ANY differences between the way the two were typed in to your payroll module, such as a comma or period, then you may get TWO names that will print as the company name on each W2 that prints out.
- Compare the total wages paid number on the W3 form to the total wages paid as reported on all quarterly 941 forms for the year. This could trigger an audit if there is a discrepancy here.
- Pay specific attention to information reported on box 12, box 13 and box 14 of employees’ W2 forms:
- Be sure you understand the codes, information, and amounts reported in these fields and that it actually applied to your payroll system this past year.
- Be sure the company address is correct:
- So many times I have seen companies move throughout the year (and even change names) and the bookkeeping system might be the last to know.
- When you e-file W2/W3 forms to any tax agencies, be sure they actually accept it.
- Pay attention to the pre-filing process which is known as the interview process:
- This is a concise and excellent way to catch potential errors that may plague your entire filing (before it’s too late).
- Also, your payroll software may have built in programmed ways of catching potential errors, but you may have to click on a button to activate this function.
- Perhaps pay more close attention to employee’s who had unusual circumstances this year and thus ensure this special information gets reported in the correct way on the payroll tax forms.
Overall, you may not catch every single discrepancy in your bookkeeping, but certainly take more time when you process payroll tax forms as any small errors here may require you to submit corrected forms later on.
Note: AccuraBooks is a bookkeeping firm only, so please consult with your C.P.A. for verification and clarification about the contents of this article.