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An interesting, but long, view at how you can make your own payroll system using just Microsoft excel. If you want to save the maximum amount possible, do your payroll on your own!
There are three types of taxes or deductions on your payroll. First you have statutory deductions, or things the government makes employers take out. Then you have voluntary deductions, or things you and your employee agree to take out. Finally you have employer tax responsibilities, which are things you have to pay for even though you don't take it out of the check.
Statutory deductions consist of things like your Federal Income Tax withholding. Or taking out money for Social Security. There's also state taxes that have to come out. Even many cities have special taxes that you are required to know about and take out of a paycheck.
Voluntary deductions are things like employee retirement funds, extra money the worker would like applied to taxes, or life insurance. Things like allowances for meals and other job-related expenses can also be deducted here.
Finally there are things you as an employer have to pay for which the employee does not. FICA is the biggest item here. FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Basically it's just the government taking money out of your check to pay for social security. Some of it the employee pays, some of it has to be paid by the employer. Federal, State, and local unemployment taxes many times also fall into this category.
That's really hard to say. It depends on so many things -- how much money you make, how many deductions you have, what kinds of work you do, and whether or not you owe back taxes. There's not going to be one number, so instead of looking for how much the cut is for, better to spend a bit of time learning why it is so different between different pay checks.
Most business owners who are new to payroll would say yes, it is. There are multiple forms to complete and all sorts of laws to abide by. Fortunately there's help -- find a good bookkeeper or accountant. Or, if you want to save some money, look around for good payroll software that will handle the tax forms and details for you.
There are a few online, but the best ones are probably the ones that are updated frequently. Calculating payroll isn't like doing other kinds of math -- new laws and stuff are always changing how it works. So the last thing you want to do is use an online payroll calculator that was written ten years ago. Do yourself a favor and pick one made by a company that does payroll software for a living. Here's a nice one that Intuit has.