Payroll Tax Records: Storage Guidelines

How should I keep track of my payroll tax records?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, you should keep all business records, including payroll tax records, in an orderly and safe place. Choose any recordkeeping method that works for your business, as long as the method clearly demonstrates your income and expenses.

What records do I need to keep?

    • Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Amounts and dates of all wages, annuity, and pension payments
    • Amounts of reported and allocated tips
    • Fair-market value of all in-kind wages (goods or services)
    • Names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and occupations of employees
    • Dates of employment for all employees
    • Periods that employees were paid while absent due to illness or injury, and amount and weekly rate of payments made by you or a third party
    • Fringe benefits and expenses reimbursed to employees and supporting documents
    • Any employee copies of W-2/W-2C that were returned as undeliverable
    • Copies of Employee Withholding Allowance Certificates (W-4)
    • Dates and amounts of payroll tax deposits made via the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) and confirmation numbers
    • Copies of payroll tax returns filed

How long do I have to keep them?

Keep all employment tax records for at least four years after the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

Where can I find more information?

Look for the following resources at

Publication 15: The Employer’s Tax Guide (Circular E)
Publication 15A: The Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide
Publication 583: Starting a Business and Keeping Records 


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