Bringing your first employee into your business is a reason to celebrate. You’ve done well enough as a sole proprietor that you can’t handle the workload by yourself anymore.
It’s a major milestone for you, but it comes with a lot of paperwork that you must do correctly.
Before your first employee even shows up for the first day of work, you should have assembled all the paperwork required to keep you compliant with the IRS and other federal and state agencies.
If you are a sole proprietor and you’ve been using your Social Security number as your tax ID, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for one here.
The IRS’s EIN Assistant walks you through the process of applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Once you’ve completed the steps in the IRS’s EIN Assistant, you’ll receive your EIN right away, and can start using it to open a business bank account, apply for a business license, etc.
You’ll also need an EIN before you start paying your first employee in order to provide him or her with Form W-4. If you’ve ever worked for a business yourself, you’ve probably filled out this form. As an employer now, you should provide one to your new hire on the first day. This form will help you determine how much federal income tax to withhold every payday. If you’re not bringing in a full-time employee but, rather, an independent contractor, you won’t be responsible for withholding and paying income taxes for that individual. You’ll need to supply him or her with a Form W-9.
Payroll processing is the next step and can be complex. If you don’t have any experience with it, you’ll probably want to use an online payroll application. After you’re set up on one of these websites, you enter the hours worked every pay period. The site calculates tax withholding and payroll taxes due, then prints or direct deposits paychecks. Let us know if you want some guidance on this.
Don’t forget about state taxes. You will have to register with the Texas Workforce Commission so you can receive a TWC tax account number. To register online click here. You will have to file wage reports and make state unemployment tax payments online.
You also have to be in contact with the State to report a new hire (same goes if you ever re-hire someone). Click here to find out more about the new hire reporting requirements.
All employees are required to fill out a Form I-9 on the first day of a new job. New employees must also prove that they’re legally eligible to work in the United States. To do this, they complete a Form I-9 from the Department of Homeland Security. As their employer, you’re charged with verifying that the information provided is accurate by looking at one or a combination of documents (U.S. Passport, driver’s license and birth certificate, etc.). By signing this form, you’re stating that you’ve done that.
You can also use the U.S. government’s E-Verify online tool to confirm eligibility.
A Helping Hand
The Department of Labor has a great website for new employers. The FirstStep Employment Law Advisor helps employers understand what DOL federal employment laws apply to them and what record-keeping they’re required to do.
Please consider us a resource, too, as you take on a new employee. Preparing for a complex new set of tax obligations will be a challenge. We’d like to see you get everything right from the start.