Tip 1- W-2’s

You are required to provide a W-2 to all employees, regardless of gross earnings, by January 31st. To aid in the accurate information on the W-2″s, send out a notice with your November checks and have your employees review the information on their check stubs – Name spelling, Address, Social Security number (if printed). If you don”t print the employees Social Security number on their checks, ask them to verify the information with you personally. Be sure that your employees information on their paycheck matches EXACTLY to their Social Security records. Not just the number, but the name must be exactly as it recorded with the Social Security Administration. When I was the Controller, I asked new employees to show their social security card to me (if not provided as documentation for the I-9 form) when they are hired. This way I knew, without a doubt, how the information on their payroll records should look. Should you have employees who get married during their employment, be sure they have reported their name change to you in a timely manner.

TIP 2 – Vendor 1099-MISC Information Returns

Besides W-2″s, businesses are required to provide 1099-MISC”s to any person or business (with certain exceptions) that have been paid more than $600 during the calendar year by January 31st. Start now, by running vendor payment reports and isolating only those vendors that you know MAY need to receive this information tax return. The $600 target is just a starting point. From there you can eliminate Corporations (EXCEPT Legal and Health) from the list of vendors over the dollar criteria. If you haven”t already started to create a W-9 binder, start by sending out the W-9 forms to any vendor that you don”t have a form on file for. The reason you are starting now is that it will take you until December 31st to get these all back in to your vendors. Some of these vendors you may need to send out 2 or 3 reminder notices to get the information you need to provide those 1099 information returns. So don”t hesitate, believe me, you need to start this project now. If you”ve got a binder or folder with past years W-9 forms, review those forms against your payment list and see who you need to get a W-9 form from.

TIP 3 – Leased Vehicles

An item that a lot of employers tend to forget about is Leased Vehicles. When vehicles are provided to employees for their use, you need to include a portion of the lease in the employees Gross wages as Fringe Benefits. Generally, this is based on the Fair Market value of the lease and the personal miles driven by the employee. The calculation of “how much” is not as easy as it may sound. There are several methods for determining how much to include in your employees wages. Consult IRS publication 15-B “Employers Guide to Fringe Benefits” for more information on this and other employee provided fringe benefits.