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Intuit’s Online Payroll Service Offers Free Training & Learning on a Variety of Payroll Related Topics


By Herb Strassberg-Staff Review Editor, 9/1/09

Intuit’s website for its Online Payroll Service (OPS for short) offers users many type of free information on payroll related topics.  One particular area worth taking note of is the Guide to Hiring and Paying Employees section, located at  This webpage offers free information in three main areas that small business owners will surely find useful, whether they decide to go for the free 6-month trial of OPS or not.  The information and links provided fall into three categories: Preparing to Hire, Hire Away, and The Government Stuff.  Note too, that the right side of the webpage other additional payroll information, including webinars and a blog on how to use OPS.

The Preparing to Hire section offers tips to business owners who are the stage of pondering how to get started in hiring employees.  Information is provided for how to classify workers as employees vs. independent contractor, how to get your Employee Identification Number (EIN), and how to find out the real cost of hiring an employee.  The first thing a business owner must consider when deciding to hire one or more employees is  whether they should be classified as employees or independent contractors  makes a big difference in whether your company will need to pay payroll taxes at all or not.  The  Preparing to Hire section provides you with 4 key questions to ponder in making that decision, as well as links to the related IRS Publication 15-A and a sobering Wall Street Journal article  entitled “IRS and States Team Up on Payroll Taxes.”  If you have decided that the new hire you are pondering falls under the employee category, you will want to take a look at the ”Choose a Payroll Method” section, as it provides you with a useful table comparing your options in choosing the various methods of dealing with the payroll chores that are required for one or more employees your company hires.  If your new to hiring employees, we recommend taking a look at the section on finding out the real cost of hiring an employee.  There you can take a look at a table that breaks down the various associated payroll taxes for each employee your company decides to hire.

The Hire Away section offers tips to business owners who have decided to hire an employee, but aren’t sure what to consider next.  Things discussed include how to find a good employee, writing effective job postings, and how to interview and screen job applicants.  The information provided in this section is a little thin, but there are some useful links to take a look at; for instance, the section on determining how much to pay an employee provides links to state employer websites and a link to the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC).  The ASBDC organization is a very comprehensive small business network, funded in part by the Small Business Administration.  It provides business owners with free one-on-one counseling and low-cost training classes on a wide range of topics.  The Hire Away section also provides a link to a Hiring Forum blog hosted by Intuit in the Interviewing and Screening Job Applicants section, where business owners can discuss tips on interviewing prospective new hires.

The Government Stuff section offers business owners details so they won’t get intimidated in dealing with the government when it comes to reporting and paying employee related taxes.  There is information available on how to how to use W-4’s to calculate your employee’s paychecks correctly, how to verify your employee’s employment eligibility using the I-9 forms, and reporting newly hired employees to the state where you are doing business.  The information provide in this section is a bit basic, but if your company is just starting out or about to hire its first employee, then you would be wise to take a look at this section.  You might be surprised to learn that if you employee one or more employees, you are legally required to place state and federal labor law posters in a location where employees can view them.  It is the employer’s responsibility to have up-to-date posters.    A link is provided to a source for theses posters.  Another important section to review is the one on workers’ compensation insurance.  The premium you pay for the insurance varies by the category of employee you hire and if you don’t carry such insurance, you may be held personally liable for any injuries your employees sustain while at work, and that can include not just the cost of medical care, but the cost of the injured employee’s lost wages while they are out of work.  An interesting link is provided to a Workers’ Compensation Program called XactPay Web from the Hartford Insurance Company for business owners that have one of Intuit’s QuickBooks program and subscribe to one of the Intuit Payroll Services..  The program allows your company to pay its workers’ compensation premiums a little bit at a time with each payroll run, instead of having to make the typical large down payment. 

If you have read this far, you will likely agree that it is worth your time to at least browse the Intuit website for all the rich payroll related content that is available to you for free.  There are many other types of useful information provided on the site.  In particular, be sure to review the Payroll 101 section for the Hiring Your First Employee: Step-by-Step Guide that provides additional chores to do when your business decides to hire one or more employees.

Intuit Online Payroll 





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