After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend SurePayroll as our 2019 pick for the best online payroll service for paying household employees.
Household employers have different payroll needs compared to traditional businesses. You likely only employ a few employees, at most. You need a payroll solution that makes it easy to pay your employees and doesn't require a lot of set up. You also want a solution that charges per month and not per payroll, so you can pay your nanny, senior caregiver or other workers as often as you'd like for a single flat fee.
It's also ideal to find a solution that will handle, and guarantee the accuracy of, your payroll taxes. By delegating this responsibility, you won't have to worry about things like tax withholdings or year-end tax forms.
You should be able to access the system from anywhere and quickly pay your employee. Another factor to consider is whether the service is accessible via mobile app. Mobile access makes paying employees an even simpler process.
Finally, the household payroll service you select should offer the ability to pay workers via direct deposit or printed check.
SurePayroll fills all of these needs. This is a comprehensive solution that removes the worry about paying your household employees properly. You can run payroll as often as you like and rest easy knowing that your payroll taxes will be taken care of properly. The platform is also easy to use. It can be accessed from anywhere, including on your mobile devices. In addition to the excellent household employer services, SurePayroll offers top-notch small business online payroll services.
To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of online payroll services on our best picks page.
Of all the household payroll services we examined, SurePayroll was one of the cheapest. This payroll company charges a base monthly fee of $39.99 for one employee. If you have more than one household worker, there is an additional $10 monthly charge per worker. This is cheaper than some of the other payroll services we considered; most other services charge $20 to $75 for each additional household employee.
The only other added cost is for year-end tax services. This service, which costs $45 plus $4 per employee, provides you with the proper year-end tax forms for you and your household employees. Most of the other services we looked into not only charge more for year-end tax services but have initial setup fees of at least $100.
We like that SurePayroll has a monthly fee, rather than the quarterly fee that many other household payroll providers charge. Because there is no long-term contract, you can cancel your service at any time and not pay for months you might not be using.
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SurePayroll Services and Features
SurePayroll provides everything household employers need from a payroll service. The company handles all your payroll and payroll tax responsibilities.
Unlike some of the other household payroll services we considered, which only offer services for child care providers, SurePayroll can be used for all types of household employees. This includes nannies, elder caregivers, home care providers, private nurses, drivers, yard workers and cooks. With some of the other services we evaluated, you would only be able to pay the nanny and would have to look for a separate service to pay the yard worker.
Another benefit to SurePayroll is that you can run payroll as often as you like each month. Since it is a monthly fee, you have the option of paying your workers weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly. Some services have a per-payroll fee structure, charging you a base fee every time you run payroll. This could raise your payroll expenses considerably, depending on how often you pay your employees. Being able to pay your household employee every week for no extra charge can mean significant cost savings.
In addition to running your payroll each month, SurePayroll handles your payroll tax obligations. This includes calculating and deducting Social Security, Medicare, and federal and state unemployment taxes, along with filling out and filing federal, state, and local tax forms. It makes all tax payments for you.
SurePayroll provides a 100 percent guarantee that your taxes will be filed and paid correctly and on time. Should an error be made, the company corrects the mistake and pays the fines or interest fees you incur. Not all of the services we looked into offer this guarantee.
SurePayroll also files a quarterly 1040-ES on your behalf and provides you with a signature-ready Schedule H (Form 1040) that attaches to your annual 1040 filing.
It is important to note that SurePayroll only supports household employers in the state of California who are designated as quarterly filers. Annual filers in California need to change their filing status to quarterly to use this service.
SurePayroll integrates with a variety of popular accounting software, including QuickBooks, AccountEdge, Xero, Intacct, Sage 50, Less Accounting and Kashoo. These built-in integrations make the process of transferring data between the two programs a seamless one.
Ease of Use
SurePayroll is a cloud-based service that has no software to install or maintain and is accessible online from anywhere.
Upon login, the system's homepage provides a snapshot of any tasks you need to complete. It shows your payroll status and any important reminders, such as your upcoming payroll processing dates and bank holidays.
To run payroll, all you need to do is enter the hours each employee worked and their pay rate. You then see a preview of the payroll, which includes the employee's gross pay and how much is being deducted from each check for employee and employer taxes.
If everything is accurate, the final step is to click the Submit for Approval link to run the payroll. At that point, you receive details on when the money will be transferred for direct deposit or when you can write out checks.
You can also use a mobile app to run your payroll. SurePayroll's mobile app, available on both Android and iOS, lets you enter earnings, deductions, hours worked and benefits, such as vacation and personal time. Most of the other household payroll services we examined do not offer a mobile app.
Your household employees also have access to the system. They can log in online or use the mobile app to review their pay stubs and pay history.
We were pleased with the support we received from SurePayroll. To gauge the type of service you can expect, we called and emailed the company numerous times, posing as a household employer and small business owner interested in the company's services.
Each time we called, we were immediately greeted by a representative who provided clear and detailed answers to all of our questions. SurePayroll's representatives never pressured us to sign up for the service. Many of the other payroll providers we called had us wait on hold, gave short answers to our questions (sometimes just one word), and spent most of the call trying to get us to commit to their service.
SurePayroll was also the only payroll provider that offered to let us test the system on our own. One customer service agent we spoke with gave us temporary login credentials that allowed us to see exactly what it was like to use the platform. This gave us a feel for what it would be like to set up the system, enter in new employees and run payroll every month.
Another appealing aspect of SurePayroll's support is that customers receive the same high level of service whether they call about payroll for household employers or small businesses. When conducting our investigation of SurePayroll, we called on separate occasions to inquire about both types of service. During each of those calls, we received the same level of support. That is a sign to us that SurePayroll values each of its clients equally, regardless of the size of their payroll.
SurePayroll provides customer support between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. (CST), Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (CST) on Saturdays. We like that the helpline is open later in the evenings and on Saturdays, which is something many of the other services we examined don't offer. The online help center is also available 24/7.
SurePayroll is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. According to the BBB website, as of September 2018, 46 complaints had been filed against the company. Note that nearly all of the payroll providers we reviewed had some criticism levied against them with the BBB.
Small Business Payroll
In addition to its household payroll services, SurePayroll provides top-notch small business payroll services. It offers small businesses a comprehensive payroll solution that can handle all payroll processing and payroll tax responsibilities.
With this service, you can run your business's payroll as often as you like each month. All of your payroll records and reports are stored in the cloud, which means you can run your payroll and access your payroll information from anywhere.
The service takes care of all of your payroll tax responsibilities. SurePayroll calculates, pays and files all your federal, state, and local payroll taxes. This includes Social Security and Medicare. It also prepares all of your year-end tax forms, such as W-2 and 1099 forms.
Since the small business payroll service runs on the same platform as the household employer service, it is just as simple to run payroll for your small business workers as it is for your household employees. You can pay your employees via direct deposit or paper check.
Costs for SurePayroll's small business payroll solution start at $30 per month, plus $4 per employee. If you have employees in multiple states, there is an additional $10 monthly charge per state. You can also access the system's accounting integrations for $5 per month and its timeclock integration for $10 per month.
Other services SurePayroll offers that small businesses can add on to their payroll service include 401(k) options, workers' compensation, health insurance and pre-employment background checks.
One potential downside of SurePayroll's household payroll service is that it doesn't offer different packages like some of the nanny-specific payroll providers we considered. Some of SurePayroll's competitors offer cheaper plans for lower levels of service. For example, they give you the option to pay less if you only want them to calculate tax withholdings and prepare your tax documents.
In California, SurePayroll only supports household employers who are designated as quarterly filers. Annual filers in California need to change their filing status to quarterly to use this service.
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