After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Intuit Payroll as our 2018 pick for the best online payroll service for small businesses. We chose Intuit from the dozens of online payroll services we considered. 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.
Why Intuit Payroll?Intuit Payroll offers a variety of service plans that handle some, or all, payroll and payroll tax responsibilities. Intuit costs between $20 and $99 per month, plus $2 for each employee. Here is a detailed breakdown of why it's our best pick.
Service Plans and CostPart of Intuit's appeal is that its payroll services are available in three different plans, at three different price points. This gives businesses on varying budgets the ability to use this service. Many of the other payroll systems we looked into had only one plan at one price.
These are the three plans:
- Overview: The basic plan only runs payroll and does not handle any payroll tax obligations.
- Cost: $20 base fee for the first six months, plus $2 per employee. After six months, the base fee increases to $25 per month. If you pay for a year in advance, the base fee drops to $18.75 per month.
- Features and tax services: This package includes the ability to print instant paychecks for W-2 employees and 1099 workers, direct deposit, and live support. No tax services are included.
- Overview: This plan handles all payroll and some tax responsibilities.
- Cost: $31.20 base fee for the first six months, plus $2 for each employee. After six months, the base fee increases to $39 per month. If you pay for a year in advance, the base fee drops to $29.25 per month.
- Features and tax services: It includes everything in the basic package, plus calculates all federal and state payroll taxes. You are responsible for making all tax payments. The service also automatically fills in all the federal and most state payroll-tax forms for you and gives you the option of electronically paying these taxes. Additionally, this plan includes email reminders for taxes and the ability to print W-2 forms for employees.
- Overview: It handles all payroll and payroll tax responsibilities.
- Cost: $79 base fee for the first six months, plus $2 per employee. After the first six months, the base fee increases to $99 per month. There is no annual billing discount.
- Features and tax services: This package runs payroll, completes and files all federal, state and local forms, and guarantees tax payments are correct and on time. If Intuit makes an error, it will pay all the resulting payroll tax penalties that you incur. Intuit sets up this package for you by having a company representative enter all employee data and information into the system before you get started. In addition, the Full Service package takes care of processing and printing employees' year-end W-2 forms.
A detailed breakdown of how the plans compare to one another is available on the Intuit website.
A benefit of Intuit is that each of its plans allows unlimited payroll runs for no extra charge. This gives businesses the option of paying employees every week, biweekly or monthly, all for the same price. Some of the other services we examined based their pricing on the number of payrolls you run each month.
The only other cost is for businesses with employees working in multiple states. There is an added $12 monthly charge per state. Intuit offers a 30-day free trial period for all of its pricing plans.
Theresa Todman, Managing Partner/CEO of B&M Financial Management Services, LLC . Theresa works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to assist them with financial management and creating organized systems and procedures. She specializes in bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks solutions, small business tax issues and consulting.
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