Two Web services that take the labour out of payroll

Ever-changing taxes and other deductions make payroll preparation a headache for many employers.

But two new Web-based payroll preparation services–Intuit’s Online Payroll and PayCycle’s PayCycle Payroll Plus–offer relief. All you need is a Web browser and a broadband Internet connection.

Both services allow you to print paper paychecks and pay stubs and to deposit net pay electronically into employees’ bank accounts.

They also maintain current tax tables, calculate gross pay and deductions, and help you prepare payroll tax forms at filing time.

Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit’s relatively inexpensive (US$30 per month) payroll service is aimed at businesses that don’t use its popular QuickBooks application. To set it up, you fill out a questionnaire and take a tour of the service to learn how to pay employees, pay taxes, and file tax forms.

Online Payroll offers tax forms for just 19 states, however; if your state isn’t among them, you’ll have to complete the state tax forms manually. Also, Intuit Online Payroll doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks or any other small-business accounting software–so if you use such a program, you’ll have to enter your payroll and deductions manually.

PayCycle Payroll Plus

At $43 per month (for five or fewer employees) PayCycle Payroll Plus is pricier than Intuit’s offering, but it does a little more, too. Because of its integration with many accounting and personal finance programs–including MS Money, NetBooks, Peachtree,

QuickBooks, and Quicken–PayCycle can export data directly to your accounting app, saving time and improving the accuracy of your records.

The service also provides tax forms for all 50 states and lets you file forms and payments electronically in some states.

Despite its drawbacks, Intuit Online Payroll is cost-effective and easy to use. But PayCycle may be worth its higher price if you need its extra features.


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