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Labor reporting: establish a routine that works

Hiring new employees to your business can be exciting – whether you’re at the stage of just considering hiring your first employee or already have many. What’s not so exciting… labor reporting. All employers must follow reporting requirements, but the process doesn’t need to be a hassle.

If you’re just starting out, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Labor has to be reported to several difference agencies. Both federal and state wage withholdings and unemployment need to be submitted. What forms to file and when to file depends on the industry.
  2. Agencies have different payroll requirements. The request of different payroll information at different dates, times and to different locations (websites, mailings, etc.) should be expected.
  3. Your first employee will be your biggest learning curve. Most new employers find this transition the hardest as there are many new rules to learn once an additional person is brought into the business.

As you grow past the hurdle of your first employee, you’ll find the paperwork is the same for one employee or 100. However, depending on the number of employees you have, the frequency of your filing may increase from only once a year to quarterly, monthly or even every time you process your payroll.

But don’t sweat it. Here are a few tips to keep you on track and build a routine.

  1. Register with the appropriate agencies. It’s important to register with the appropriate agencies when your business decides to hire. When you register, you’ll complete information about your business, industry, and entity, along with other information.
  2. Research the payroll laws. Agency websites can be helpful. IRS.gov has the official agricultural employer’s tax guide. While your business may hire most employees for on-farm work, it’s important to understand if any workers are employed for non-farm work, as this requires different filing.
  3. Learn your due dates. Deadlines can creep up, so setting reminders can really help. The Federal Tax Calendar is one way to remind yourself of due dates, and Farm Credit East publishes these due dates in our annual Agricultural Views calendar as well. Note, form due dates may be different than payroll due dates. For example, some forms you’ll file are informational reports to taxing agencies and simply report numbers and payments already made. Others require payment with them when they are filed.
  4. Stay current on labor information. Staying current on law changes, such as minimum wage and your state information, is key. Subscribe to you state employer newsletters or other labor reporting to make sure you stay informed.

How can Farm Credit East help?

Farm Credit East offers payroll processing services for ag businesses of all sizes, both from our office or at your farm. However, we understand that beginning farmers are more cost sensitive, so it may not make sense to have us do your payroll right out of the gate. We offer training and guidance to help your business learn the ropes of labor reporting. If you prefer to handle your employees’ paychecks, Farm Credit East can also help with quarterly reports to make sure they’re done properly and filed on time.

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