How to Do Payroll Accounting: A Step-by-Step Guide for Employers

How to Do Payroll Accounting: A Step-by-Step Guide for Employers

payroll tax journal entry

You’ll thank yourself when an audit arises or you just need to prepare an income or cash flow statement at year-end. For example, workers’ compensation is recognized as an expense once the time period that the premium covers has elapsed. At that time, if the payment has not been made, the amount becomes a debt and should be recorded as a liability until it’s paid to the insurance provider. If you haven’t already, follow the steps to create new accounts in your Chart of Accounts to track your payroll liabilities and expenses.

payroll tax journal entry

Keep in mind that your debits (left side) should equal your credits (right side). If they don’t balance, double-check your totals and look for accounting mistakes. After you get the information to record payroll entries in accounting, head on over to your books to get cracking. Increase the liability account because, as employees earn wages, you owe more. Payroll accounting helps you keep track of employee compensation and other payroll costs.

Payroll Software & Outsourcing

The employer withholds income tax amounts based on the allowances designated by each employee and tax tables provided by the government. The employer pays these withheld amounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In addition to income taxes, FICA requires a deduction from employees’ pay for federal social security and Medicare benefits programs. FICA taxes are withheld by the employer and are deposited along with federal income taxes in a financial institution. These payrolls are also subject to taxation like any other form of payroll.

Which is the correct journal entry when the payroll is paid?

Debit the wages, salaries, and company payroll taxes you paid. This will increase your expenses for the period. When you record payroll, you generally debit Gross Wage Expense and credit all of the liability accounts.

Charlette has over 10 years of experience in accounting and finance and 2 years of partnering with HR leaders on freelance projects. She uses this extensive experience to answer your questions about payroll. Let’s work through an example with a biweekly pay period and two departments. The pay period runs Monday through the next Sunday, and payday is on the following Friday. Let’s look at the pay period October 12 – 25, 2020, with payday on October 30. Payroll is probably one of the most common journal entries – and one of the most common for pitfalls and errors.

How to Accrue Payroll

Accounting for payroll gives you an accurate snapshot of your expenses. Payroll software can automate the process by giving you a complete ledger or payroll journal in just moments. On payday, January 5, the checks will be distributed to the hourly-paid employees.

payroll tax journal entry

Credit the FICA tax payable, federal income withholding payable, state income withholding payable, and any other withholdings on employee paychecks. You must also pay employer payroll taxes for your payroll accounting small business. These taxes include FUTA, SUTA and the employer’s share of FICA taxes. One way to double-check your math is to confirm that your employee and employer FICA tax amounts are equal.

Add employer payroll taxes

You also deduct FICA taxes, income taxes, the employees’ portion of benefit premiums, and wage garnishments from your workers’ paychecks. You must record these deductions as transactions in your general ledger. When you pay your employees, you should debit your expense accounts and credit your liability accounts.

payroll tax journal entry

About the author

Viswa Korapala, Serial Entrepreneur and Business Growth Specialist having 16 years of experience. Works with Entrepreneurs who want to multiply their business, and help them Increase their Brand value and Sales Revenue. So clients can grow their business quickly with Viswa experience and expertise.

We work with Entrepreneurs who want to multiply their business. We help them Increase their Brand Value and Sales Revenue. Our clients can quickly grow their business with our experience and expertise.


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