Payroll Year-End Checklist

It’s that time of the year to wrap up 2019 payroll duties. Here are a few reminders to help you close out your payroll for the year. 


Late November/Early December: 


☐ Remind employees that if there has been a change in their filing status (e.g. due to marriage, divorce, or dependents), they may want to file a new W-4 and state tax form for 2020.


☐ Compare previous W-2 with gross wage report.


☐ Confirm that employee name, address, date of birth, and social security numbers are correct.


☐ Verify all employees are taxed in their correct state.


BEFORE your LAST PAYROLL of the calendar year: 


☐ For tax purposes, checks or electronic payments of wages paid in 2020 are generally 2020 wages, even if earned in 2019.


☐ Check all Social Security tax withheld. If any employee exceeded the 2019 limit, make an adjustment or refund before making your final tax-year 2019 deposit.


☐ Verify that all special wage payment and adjustments are correctly posted to 2019 earnings before processing 2019 W-2s. These may include: 

  • Non-qualified relocation expense reimbursement;

  • Group term life insurance in excess of $50,000;

  • Third-party sick pay if the employer has responsibility;

  • Manual or voided paychecks not in the payroll system; 

  • Personal use of company vehicles, parking and/or company-provided transportation;

  • Employer paid child care;

  • Company-paid educational assistance;

  • Bonuses;

  • Non-cash payments;

  • Other taxable items paid outside of the payroll system


AFER your LAST PAYROLL, but BEFORE the FIRST PAYROLL of the NEW calendar year:


☐ Process W-4s submitted for 2020.

☐ Review discrepancies such as missing addresses, and missing Social Security numbers.

☐ Check for excess contributions to qualified plans, including 401(k), 403(b), especially for highly-compensated employees.

☐ Check accumulators – Make sure the year to date numbers are zeroed out.


By January 15 

Third-parties that distribute sick pay are required to send to you by today each payee’s annual statements of wages paid and taxes withheld for tax year 2019.  









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