Review Your Pay Statement, Regularly

*This is an item to mark on your calendar.

Review your pay statement regularly – two or three times a year – and especially after any major changes (moved to another city or state, new position, raise, started contributing to retirement, new benefits).

Most of us glance at our bank account each pay period and say “well, looks accurate.” But it might not be! And you may be negatively impacted.

We’re all human, including the individuals in your Human Resources and Payroll Departments, and mistakes happen. Fat fingers happen. Employee Self Service has bugs. Errors, updates, missing data, and typos.

Regardless of the reason, you may not have the correct taxes withheld, the correct benefits being applied, or correct pay being received.

Taxes

If your taxes aren’t set up correctly, then you may be under or over-withheld. Or, you may be having the wrong state taxes being taken out!

This can cause severe headaches if not caught during the year. If you don’t notice it until you receive your Form W-2, then you may have to wait to file your tax return until the system is corrected and a corrected Form W-2 is processed. Delaying your tax filings (obviously) causes unnecessary stress.

Make sure to check your tax withholding elections as well (Update Your Form W-4).

Benefits

Some benefits are taxable, some are not. Some benefit plans have pre-tax deductions, some have post-tax deductions.

Make sure you review your pay statement and confirm you’re enrolled in the plans you selected. Are the deductions correct? Does anything seem to be missing?

Is your 401(k) balance what you expected? Did you recently get married but your employer still shows your spouse as a domestic partner?

Employer benefits impact both your taxes and your take-home pay.

Pay

If you are an exempt employee (not hourly), then this is pretty straight-forward. Depending on the number of pay checks you receive a year, divide your salary. (Example – $52,000 salary divided by 26 pay periods is $2,000 a pay period.) Is this what’s on your pay statement (less taxes and deductions, plus any taxable benefits)?

If you are non-exempt (hourly), then make sure you’re being paid for the correct number of hours in the pay period. Did you have any overtime? Were the hours recorded properly? Was your pay rate adjusted correctly?

You may be missing money that is technically owed to you. (Hey, mistakes happen…)

Review and Reach Out

If you see any errors, or you have any questions, reach out to your Human Resources or Payroll Department – today.

Some errors may have been occurring for years – to your detriment – so don’t assume that because you don’t see a change in your take-home pay that everything is okay.

A quick confirmation can help a lot when it comes to taxes, benefits, and pay.

Have you ever found errors when reviewing your pay statements? Were they easy to fix?

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