How to Create a Payroll Register

Including a Sample Payroll Register

Payroll Register
Payroll Register. JGI/Daniel Grill/Getty Images

What is a Payroll Register?

A payroll register is a spreadsheet that lists the total information from each payroll: total gross pay, total of each type of deduction, and total net pay, is set out in a payroll register. The calculation for each individual employee for total gross pay, withholding and deduction amounts, and total net pay is set out in an employee earnings record and the totals from all employee earnings for the pay period are the source of the totals in the payroll register.

A payroll register is usually part of an online accounting software package or online payroll application. 

The information in the payroll register is used to help you with several important payroll tax tasks:

What Does a Payroll Register Include? 

You must keep a record of totals for all employees for the following:

  • Total gross wages, total social security wages (up to the maximum for each employee each year), and total Medicare wages
  • Totals withheld from employee pay for federal, state, and local income taxes
  • Totals withheld for the employee share of social security and Medicare
  • Totals withheld for all optional donations, such as charitable giving, union dues, and others.

In addition, you must set aside an amount equal to the total social security and Medicare deduction.

Creating Payables From the Payroll Register

Payables are amounts that are owed by your company to others, but which have not yet been paid. The total for each category for each paycheck creates several payables that are owed to federal and state (and sometimes local) agencies. 

When you create a payroll (all the payroll checks), you must set aside money for these payables, to be paid when 

  • FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare) withheld from employee paychecks and payable by you as the employer
  • Federal income taxes withheld from employee paychecks
  • State and local income taxes withheld from employee paychecks
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Payable - the amount of federal unemployment tax your business must pay, annually or quarterly, based on total employee gross wages for all payrolls during the period.
  • State Unemployment Tax Payable - the amount of state unemployment tax your business must pay based on the total employee gross wages for all payrolls during the period
  • State Worker's Compensation Tax Payable
  • And payables for other voluntary deductions, like United Way, 401(k) deductions, and employee portion of health plan costs. 

If you have deducted money from employee paychecks for such items as health insurance premiums, charitable donations, or qualified retirement plans, you must account for these totals and create payables for each, so you know how much to pay at the appropriate time.