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Payroll Taxes ~ solo

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Brad Ott
5,000+ posts Supporter

I use Quickbooks on-line to manage my checkbooks and to print out P&L statements each year for annual taxes.

But, I have been using various payroll service providers to manage my monthly payroll tax payments to the state and federal governments.  Mostly, I have chosen to do this in order to have an expert in my corner when I get those scary notices from the state from time to time which are completely foreign to me.

However, the latest 'expert' payroll tax service provider has been less responsive than I would like, even when minor issues arise. 

I have been ignoring the little advertisements from Quickbooks to have their software help me with payroll and taxes.  I am now considering looking into how they might be able to help me.

Your thoughts?

Is there a good primer somewhere on the internet for me to learn to handle this myself?

Or, should I just go shopping for yet another payroll tax service provider (ugh)?

Should I look at the Quickbooks option?

Topic starter Posted : August 7, 2021 9:14 am
holy cow
10,000+ posts Member

Surveyors are sharper than most tax service providers.  Learn how to do it yourself.  It really is not that difficult.

It helps if you are working with negative numbers.  Learn how to make the negative numbers work to your benefit early on in business.

Posted : August 7, 2021 10:26 am
1,000+ posts Supporter

Time value of money. 

Depending on how many employees you have(solo) seems like you can master this quickly.

I'd be pretty pissed if someone I'm paying for a critical service like this ever delayed getting back to me. Unless they have a legitimate reason, and by legitimate, I mean not that they claim they are too busy. That's not good for anything.


Posted : August 7, 2021 10:44 am
Brad Ott liked

Bruce Small
1,000+ posts Member

My major was accounting, and I took many a class on taxes and finance taught by a great guy who was both an attorney and a CPA. Taxes are a complex specialty where the rules change all the time, and it takes a real pro to stay on top of those changes. I consider what we pay our CPA money well spent, leaving me to focus on surveying, which is what I do best.

Bottom, don't do it yourself.

Posted : August 7, 2021 10:59 am
holy cow
10,000+ posts Member

This largely depends on the complexity of one's situation.  It seems we are taught to believe we are all idiots and require the services of "experts" to do such and such.  All sorts of people with nothing but a single W-2 and no investments of any kind hand off their taxes to someone because they have been taught it is complex.  The most important thing is to stay current with  what makes you the most money in the long run.  Understanding these relatively simple things is essential.

Anyone capable of reading at the seventh grade level has the ability to read and grasp IRS guidance for filling out the forms.  Knowing what numbers to put in is the problem for those who refuse to keep records.  Keep the information where you can find it, read the instructions, roll on.  Making an error is no big deal whatsoever.  You will get a nice letter saying it appears you made a mistake when filling out Form XY on line 22.  Fix your return and resubmit in a timely fashion.  No big deal.  No massive audit with a couple of thugs from The Godfather leaning over your shoulder.

Posted : August 7, 2021 11:58 am
John Putnam
1,000+ posts Member

Back to the OP.  For years used Quickbooks do it yourself option for myself and 5 employees.  It was simple and reasonably priced.  Then, in true Intuit fashion, they discontinued it pushing users to their drastically more expensive full service plan.  For a bit I went the route of doing all of the calculations myself.  Once you track all of the tax tables down it is not all that hard but it does take a fair amount of time.  Since then I've been using a service called esmartpaycheck.  It is $50 a year for 5 of fewer employees.  It does all of the payroll calculations and then allows you to e-file federal 940 & 941 forms (state forms are optional).  You can also prepare and file W-2/W-3 files.  It can also make your tax payments.

You do have to enter the values in Quickbooks manually, but that is a simple process.  You might even be able to import the data into Quickbooks.

Posted : August 7, 2021 12:57 pm
Brad Ott liked

5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @holy-cow

There are times when the financial situation changes and it takes a lot of study to figure out the new parts.  When my wife inherited farm land, I had her mother's last tax forms to follow or I would never have figured out the fence and tile depreciation they had going or other unique forms used for farm rental.

Posted : August 7, 2021 1:44 pm
200+ posts Supporter

if I really told you what I think about Quickbooks and Intuit, I would be banned from this site.

You asked about payroll and QB does payroll ok - just do not get hooked into renewing your payroll service through them.  I suggest you purchase QB Pro with Payroll that is usually bundled.  We purchase it every for half what Intuit charges for the payroll update.

QB w/Payroll used to let you put the fed and state constants in but figured they could get a few hundred each year with a subscription.

Not sure why QB has a lock on payroll and why not competition

Posted : August 7, 2021 2:43 pm
200+ posts Member

Another vote for esmartpaycheck. I've been using the service for several years.

Very affordable and offers tiered services.

Cheap 10-99 prep. and file too.


Posted : August 7, 2021 3:11 pm
Brad Ott liked

holy cow
10,000+ posts Member

Being aware of your own business opportunities is crucial.  From time to time there are wonderful opportunities afloat that you will not recognize or exploit to your advantage unless you are on top of things.  I recall a couple of years where income averaging was a handy thing for my situation.  In another case, I had one year where I had such a huge loss (on paper) that I was able to go back and recoup taxes from previous years that I had paid.  One year I made certain to purchase a small property where the  largest value was a single-purpose agricultural structure.  That specific year you could get a 20 percent investment credit subtracted from your taxes owed for such an investment and that opportunity would not be available in the next year.  We closed and recorded the deed on December 31.  That effectively decreased the purchase price by over 15 percent.

It is your money.  No one cares about it more than you do.  Make it work for you.

Posted : August 7, 2021 3:14 pm
5,000+ posts Supporter

Brad, I used this for 32 years, it's cheap and better than anything Quickbooks has ever offered and the annual renewal (update of withholding tax and payroll) is under $100. It's idiot proof (believe me)


Posted : August 7, 2021 3:17 pm
200+ posts Member

At my rate, I'll find bigfoot before I find an accountant worth hiring.  

Posted : August 7, 2021 6:56 pm

Mark Silver
500+ posts Vendor

20 years ago, at the previous company we decided to use a local payroll service that came highly recommended by someone. We had 12 employees and the processor would do the payroll, send someone over to pickup a company check to cover the payroll and taxes. Then they would send a runner back with the prepared checks.

All was well for 18-months, then we got a note from the IRS informing us that the federal withholding had not been paid for the last 6 months. The payroll company was boarded up, they took 6 months of Fed withholding for all the for all the companies they serviced with them. We had to make up the withholding and it was a tough cookie to chew at the time.

Every time I struggle printing the payroll checks or doing the online filings I remember how lucky I am to know that I am not going to have to track down some fly-by-night accountant and take my money back by any means possible.

While I love our current commercial banking partner (they are the GREATEST!) I would never trust them to get payroll done correctly, and if anything ever went wrong it would be impossible to get their attention to get it fixed.

Just my 2 cents Brad...

Posted : August 9, 2021 4:06 pm
Brad Ott liked
5,000+ posts Supporter

We have a program paid for and updated by our guy. It helps to have a guy. 

Payroll is done every other thursday. Everything is sent to the accountant and reported on per quarter. 

Adjustments are made by the accountant if necessary. Books are reconciled at the first of the month.

Quick books is a part of it but payroll is done outside of quickbooks and inhouse. A ckeck is sent to the IRS and confirmed real time.

Posted : August 9, 2021 7:33 pm
Brad Ott liked
500+ posts Supporter

Another vote for Medlin!   I do the accounting for my wife's medical practice sole-propriorship and my hangar business.  Straight Forward, simple, and in-expensive.   

Posted : August 9, 2021 7:50 pm

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