From processing payroll yourself to choosing a payroll provider, find everything small business owners need to know about the payroll process.

The Payroll Process

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

Mistake-free payroll starts here

Welcome to our 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 better than anyone what it’s like to be up in the middle of the night trying to solve a payroll problem.


We want you to know that you’re not alone (even if it feels like it sometimes). In this guide, you’ll find articles and tutorials that detail every step of the payroll process. We’ll either answer your questions or make it easy to find the resources that will help. All of our most important (and most popular) articles are listed above. We try to make sure they don’t sound like they were written by the IRS, and we’re careful to walk you through each of the major steps of the process with clear examples.


We see those steps as being:

  1. Getting your business ready to run payroll

  2. Calculating pay runs

  3. IRS and state tax forms and filings

  4. What to do when something goes wrong



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. And if you’re having a hard time finding local information, we also pulled together a quick reference guide to state tax agencies and filing details:

State payroll tax information

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’d always be happy to help. We do all the math, pay your employees, and file payroll taxes for just $36 each month, plus $4 per employee. We’ll even talk to the IRS if something goes wrong.


Thanks again for checking out our guide! We hope this payroll stuff never gets in the way of running a thriving business.

Make Payroll a Breeze

OnPay pays your employees and does tax filings for you.