Key Dates to Remember for Year-End Payroll

For HR and payroll professionals, the holiday season means a whole lot more than gingerbread and mistletoe. The transition between years brings tax deadlines, ACA reporting requirements, bank holidays, and more.

This year, ring in 2019 with confidence by keeping the below dates in mind. While these dates pertain to most employers, note that some businesses may have their own industry-specific compliance deadlines as well.

December (All Month)

If you haven’t already, confirm your state and city’s minimum wage. A number of jurisdictions update their rates in late December or January. A full listing of this year's batch can be found here.

December 1 - Required Form W-4 Reminder
Whether by letter or email, employers are required to remind employees to review and update their Form W-4 allowances for the following year.

December 25 - Bank Holiday
Christmas, which falls on a Tuesday this year, is a bank holiday. If your payday falls on this date, you’ll need to work with your vendor to find another time and confirm whether your processing deadline has changed.

January 1 - Bank Holiday
Happy 2019! Banks will be closed on New Year’s Day. Make sure your first payroll of the year isn’t scheduled on a bank holiday.

January 21 - Bank Holiday

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a bank holiday, so work with your payroll vendor to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with a processing deadline or employee paydays.

January 31 - Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC Due

Out of all the dates listed above, this might be the most critical to remember. The W-2 Wage and Tax Statement and 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income Form must be provided to employees and filed with the IRS by this date. Help employees get a head start on their tax returns by providing this sooner rather than later.

January 31 - Forms 940 and 941 Due
You’ll need to worry about more than just employee W-2s in late January. Make sure your Form 940 (Annual FUTA Tax Return) and Form 941 (Quarterly Federal Tax Return) are squared away and filed with the IRS. If you work with a payroll provider, they should be handling most of the heavy lifting here.

February 15 - Confirm W-4 Information for Exempt Employees
Employees wishing to claim exempt status for federal tax withholding in 2018 must file a new Form W-4 by this date.

February 18 - Bank Holiday
Happy Birthday, George Washington! Direct deposits and other payments cannot not be processed on President’s Day.

March 4 - Form 1095-C Due to Employees
To comply with the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to furnish workers with the Form 1095-C by this date. The form summarizes what health coverage the company offered in the last year.

April 2 - Forms 1095-C and 1094-C Due to IRS
Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act must file these coverage-related forms to the IRS by this date. Work closely with your broker to confirm you’ll make the deadline.

If you use a third-party vendor to run payroll, note that they may have their own internal deadlines as well—like the last day to submit payroll for 2018, for example. While it sounds simple, keeping a list (and checking it twice) can help set you up for success this holiday season.

Once the dust settles on the year-end, year-start period, there are a number of easy to-dos that you can tackle in Q2 to make payroll go even smoother next year. Subscribe to our newsletter to catch other helpful compliance and HR best practice tips year round.

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