The Payroll Process

Everything small businesses need to know about payroll (and taking care of employees).

    Mistake-free payroll starts here

    Think of this as your small business payroll guide! Every month, we help thousands of businesses like yours calculate their pay runs, pay their employees, and process IRS tax filings.


    While we offer payroll software that makes it easy and affordable to offload these responsibilities, we know lots of you choose to go it alone. We were once a small business ourselves, so we admire your DIY spirit. At the same time, we know what it’s like to be up in the middle of the night trying to solve a payroll problem: You’re not alone (even if it feels like it sometimes).

    Payroll tutorials, guides, articles and more

    In this resource center, you’ll find articles and tutorials that detail every step of the payroll process — and we try to make sure they don’t sound like they were written by the IRS.


    You’ll also find lists of important deadlines and detailed explanations about tricky concepts like net pay vs. gross pay or figuring out whether someone on your payroll is technically an employee who you need to withhold taxes from.

    Outlining the payroll process

    We’ll carefully walk you through each of the major steps of the payroll process with clear examples. Running payroll is ultimately the task of converting your employees’ and contractors’ gross pay (or the total of all the money they earn) into the net pay in their paycheck by removing withholdings and deductions for taxes and other expenses your employees incur. Then you must remit and report those taxes to state and local authorities.

    State tax calculators

    If you’re having a hard time finding local information, we also pulled together a detailed list of state tax agencies, tax rates, and free calculators to help you with the math:

    Dive into the payroll particulars

    It may not exactly be fun, but processing payroll doesn’t have to be painful, either. If you ever encounter a problem or need more help, we’ll always be here. We do all the math, pay your employees, and file payroll taxes for a low monthly fee. We’ll even talk to the IRS if something ever goes wrong.


    But if you’re doing things yourself (like 40% of small business owners), you can probably find answers to all your payroll questions here. Good luck with payroll (and everything else), and let us know if you ever need any help with the process!


    It’s easy to get started

    Try OnPay out yourself to see how easy payroll and HR can be. To get started, just share a few basic details about your business. Our team of pros will set everything up and import your employees’ information for you.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.