Training Your Staff Part 2: Yes I have Tests!

Last week I blogged about and offered a white paper on how important it is to have a trained staff. I suggested that you create tests to help determine each staff member’s current level of payroll knowledge on such topics as wage and hour law, taxation and garnishments.  A whole lot of my followers requested the white paper and a whole lot of those asked me if I had any tests that I could supply to get started with.  Because there was such an abundance of requests for the testing I decided to make this white paper a 3-parter.  The first part you got last week on the basic info.  This week I am supplying two simple tests for wage and hour law.  These are culled from my student testing core questions that I use at Brandman University’s Practical Payroll Online Program and my certificate in Payroll Practice and Management offered through ed-2-go in over 100 universities nationwide.  I hope you find this week’s white paper very useful.  Next week’s white paper will be on testing for tax law both under IRS rules and state law.

Training Your Payroll Staff

There is more to running a payroll department than just producing X number of payroll checks every X number of weeks and passing them out.  Payroll not only has to meet the payday deadlines but each and every paycheck must be 100% correct.  Not just mathematically but it must also comply with every federal, state and local wage and hour or tax law that applies to it specifically.  Of course, we can’t forget that is must be process properly through the payroll system itself to ensure that all wages, taxes, employee benefits, other deductions such as garnishments, are reported and paid according to all the rules and regulations that govern them.  So how does a payroll department, whether it is a party of one or twenty, ensure that it is in compliance with this myriad of laws and regulations?  The answer to that question is actually fairly simple.  Make sure the staff is trained in every facet of their individual job duties and that the training is thorough and current.

But just saying out loud my staff needs training is not going to resolve the issue.  Questions arise as to how to set up a training program. These include:  where do I get this training, how do I pay for it with my limited budget and most critical of all, which staff member needs or should receive training on what subjects?  My white paper this week, that is available on my website, deals with  these exact questions and many more when it comes to staff training.  Please stop by and request your copy today. I know you will find it useful.

Categorizing Employees Under the FLSA–Our Latest White Paper

Should a worker be an independent contractor or an employee? Employers grapple with this question everyday.  And most think that it is all based on what the IRS wants under the tax rules.  Do they pass the three factor test on the employee side or the independent contractor side?  Do we offer training? Do we have too much control over them?  These are the questions the IRS asks in making the determination and employers must answer to the IRS’ satisfaction.  But employers must never forget there is another government agency out there that is just as interested in how you categorize a worker and have been since 1938.  It is the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Their rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) have been in play for decades.  Sitting quietly through audit after audit.  The WHD has incorporated dozens of states into its fold with its misclassification initiative. Late last summer it issued an “interpretation of these rules” that have been in place for decades. All this to reinforce the idea that they are here and they are auditing.

So what are these rules under the FLSA?  That is what our white paper is about this week.  How to classify a worker as an employee under the FLSA. What are the basic rules, the court rulings and the latest Administrator’s interpretation.  Check out our home page to request a copy this week.


National Taxpayer Advocate Wants to Hear From You

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and Sen. Bob Casey, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, will hold a public forum to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations. The public forum will be held Friday, April 8, at 10:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, Harrisburg, PA. Members of the public and the media are invited to attend. Building on initiatives already implemented, the IRS for the past two years has been developing a “Future State” plan that envisions how it will operate in five years and beyond. It is continuing to develop a path for how it gets from its “Current State” to the “Future State,” including refinements to the vision along the way.  A central component of the plan is the creation of online taxpayer accounts as a convenient but non-exclusive channel through which taxpayers will be able to obtain information from and interact with the IRS.

The April 8 public forum will feature an invited panel of representatives from the small business and local taxpayer communities, including the following:

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to speak. Olson will conduct the hearing in collaboration with Sen. Casey, who represents Pennsylvania in the United States Senate. Senator Casey’s subcommittee is responsible for IRS oversight. Local Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) staff will be available to talk with attendees about unresolved tax issues and help determine if their situation qualifies for TAS assistance. TAS generally is unable to assist taxpayers with return preparation questions, but can provide assistance to taxpayers who have already filed their returns with the IRS for the current or past years and are experiencing problems that meet its case-acceptance criteria. The public forum will take place in the auditorium of the Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, 326 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA  17101. For information about the forum, go to

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This Week’s White Paper

Our latest white paper is now available.  This week the topic is paying deceased employees.  A sad topic to be sure but one the payroll department must deal with.  And of course, during this tough time, the IRS wants things to be handle differently than a normal paycheck.  Check out our website and sign up for this white paper today.  It will be available until Friday at 5 pm pacific time.