Onboarding and State Tax Withholding

Transactional Onboarding, as we’ve been saying for some time now, is the science aspect of onboarding (versus the art of Acculturation Onboarding).  Transactional Onboarding directly automates business processes, policies, and rules that ensure the accuracy and completeness of critical new employee forms, and automates data flowing to HRIS systems.  It seems curious then that so many onboarding vendors (not us, of course) ignore a critical component of transactional onboarding for American employers: state withholding taxes.

The simplest way to collect state withholding forms is to offer them as fillable PDFs and allow the new employee to select the states that are applicable and let them fill them out.  The simplest way is the easiest way and therefore the most common you’ll see, but is this method really achieving the objective of transactional onboarding which is to ensure the accuracy of and completeness of new employee forms (said another way: transactional onboarding should work to eliminate errors and omissions in new employee forms).  Will the employee select the proper set of state withholding forms to complete?  Are the state withholding forms “intelligent” enough to prevent the new employee from errors and omissions?

The answers to these questions are, of course, not necessarily.  A good transactional onboarding system should be able to enforce business policy and rules in such a way that the user is required to provide the information that is relevant to their job.  If they work in 4 states, and 3 of those states have withholding taxes, 2 of which have unique forms (the 3rd might accept the federal W4), is the transactional system intelligent enough to ensure that the 2 unique forms are collected? 

Furthermore, though PDF files can be embedded with some intelligence, I’ve not seen a state W4 with any such intelligence.  In other words, all of the errors and omissions that are possible on paper are still possible in PDF.  Everyone I’ve talked to evaluating onboarding systems–particularly those hiring employees in multiple states–recognizes the value of going a step further: enforcing the rules and policies of the various state forms.

I’m proud to say that Emerald Software has built and maintains a library of intelligent state withholding forms (we actually call them “panels”).  Not only can the AllegroHR Onboarding system ensure that the candidate fills out all of the forms necessary, but that the forms are guaranteed perfect.  No errors, and no omissions.

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