Payroll 101 for new-business owners

These online sources help small-business owners navigate payroll and tax issues.

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(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: My sister just started her own business and I'm trying to set up her payroll on Intuit (INTU)'s QuickBooks. The program is asking me for addresses to which to send state taxes and federal taxes. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I need to. Is there a list of "what to do" when paying employees? Who to register with? Where to send the tax payments, etc?

- Julie Barrow, Bel Air, Md.

Dear Julie: Managing the practical aspects of starting a business are often a big source of fear and hesitation among people starting their own small company. As Mike Porcaro, a senior manager in Intuit's corporate communications group, puts it: "People who start small businesses usually don't do it just so they can run a business." It's the idea for a great product or service that drives them.


Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available online for small-business owners, including guidance on proper procedures for payroll, taxes and more. While the QuickBooks program doesn't have the checklist feature you seek, Intuit - the company that makes QuickBooks - has a resource, payroll.comthat does have that information.

Intuit has recently added a Guide to Hiring and Paying Employees, with information on everything from posting an effective job ad to calculating your employees' paychecks correctly and reporting your new hires to the state, Porcaro says.

Furthermore, within the QuickBooks application (in QuickBooks 2006 and later), there's a Payroll Center feature that consolidates functions related to paying employees, such as issuing payments, handling taxes, and accounting for other payroll-related expenses.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has free information available on its Web site to help small-business owners navigate the practical, legal and tax implications of taking on new employees. The site also features links to resources at the IRS and the Department of LaborTo top of page

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