Payroll Processing

This topic walks through the different Spectrum functions you will use for Year End processing of payroll.

These functions are available through System Administration > Year End > Year End Processing > Payroll, or through the Payroll module. In addition to this document, the help files on individual screens will have detailed instructions that may include additional information on field-level allowed values.

  • Year End Reports

  • W-2 Processing (W-2 Form Maintenance)

  • Build W-2 Forms

  • Print W-2 Forms

  • Print W-3 Forms

  • Export W-2 File

    • Nelco Processing

  • Income Tax Tables

  • Year End Update

Payroll Reports

We recommend running and saving/archiving the following reports. They are available through Payroll > Reports or System Administration > Year End > Year End Processing > Payroll.

  • Quarterly Federal Tax

  • Unemployment Tax

  • State, County & Local Tax – also called Subject-to-Tax

  • State Disability Insurance

  • Worker's Comp Rate/$100

  • Worker's Comp Rate/Hour

  • State History – also called Wage and Tax History

  • Earnings History – also called Employee Earnings History

The following report, only available at Payroll > Reports, should also be reviewed as part of your year end payroll balancing

  • Liabilities Reconciliation

W-2 Form Maintenance

The W-2 Form Maintenance screen is used to add or edit information produced by the Build W-2 Forms function. It is also the landing page for all W-2 and W-3 processing functions: Build, Print, Listing and Export.

  • Numeric fields should be entered in dollars and cents (up to $99 million), but numbers cannot be negative.

  • Do not enter dollar signs ($) or commas. Use a decimal point even if the amount is an even dollar amount.

  • For a complete list of field descriptions, please refer to the Spectrum Help.

Cost Center Security Information

If cost centers are being used in the current company, only employees that the operator has security authorization to access are available.

If entity tracking is enabled in the current company, employee W-2 records display based on whether the operator has authorization for the assigned entity. If at least one authorized cost center is assigned to the specified entity code, all W-2s for that entity display.

Build W-2 Forms

Use this screen to update W-2 information. Up to 360 forms per employee are supported. The Build W-2 Forms screen clears the W-2 file and calculates W-2 information based on the payroll earnings history file.

If the Write 1 state & locality per W-2? checkbox is clear, there will be up to two localities on each form. Only Form 1 for each employee will contain federal information regardless of whether this box is checked. If you are processing W-2 forms through Nelco, and you have multi-state filings to make, please leave this checkbox clear.

New for 2021: When reporting COVID wages for FFCRA or ARPA on W2's, the IRS requires qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages must be included in Boxes 1, 3 (up to the social security wage base) and 5 on the Build W-2 Forms screen. They also must be reported in Box 14. As it is possible to have three items plus up to three FFCRA items and up to three ARPA items for an employee, the Build process will create extra forms automatically.

Cost Center Security Information

If cost centers are being used in the current company, only employees that the operator has security authorization to access are available.

If entity tracking is enabled in the current company, employee W-2 records display based on whether the operator has authorization for the assigned entity. If at least one authorized cost center is assigned to the specified entity code, all W-2s for that entity display.

Separate W-2s by Entity

If entity tracking is enabled for the current company in the Enterprise Installation screen, the W-2 build will break employee earnings onto separate W-2 Forms based on 'Entity code' stored in the Payroll Check History Table. The software will first look to find the particular state or locality's tax code for the entity code and if found, will then look for whether it has an assigned Payer tax ID number. If the state or locality does not have a tax code present, the taxpayer ID will be assigned from the tax table.

For step-by-step instructions on this screen, refer to the field descriptions at Build W-2 Forms.

Print W-2 Forms

The Print W-2 Forms function is available in two locations:

  • On the Site Map, click Payroll > Period End > W-2 Processing, then click the Print W-2 button.

  • On the Site Map, click System Administration > Year End > Year End Processing > Payroll, click W-2 Processing, then click the Print W-2 button.

Use this screen to Print W-2's. If W-2's need to be grouped by state when printing, use the Tax table code field to specify a state.

Each year, before W-2 forms are loaded into the printer, we recommend the following:

  • Print one W-2 on plain paper to confirm the correct printer destination.

  • After printing a W-2 on plain paper, hold it up against a W-2 form to check the alignment of the values with the form. If the W-2 values do not align with the form, please try the following:

    • Try another browser to print from (if using Chrome, try Firefox and vice versa).

    • Click Export in the print selection screen (instead of preview) and print to Acrobat (PDF) or Crystal Report Viewer (RPT).

    • When printing, use the Actual size print option (no scaling).

    • After all the above, try using another printer.

    • Try scaling the print one or more percentage points in either direction.

  • Export the final W-2 print to .PDF format and save it in a read-only, year-specific folder on your server or workstation. This will allow you to reprint the W-2 in the future, if necessary.

For step-by-step instructions on this screen, refer to the field descriptions at Print W-2 Forms.

Cost Center Security Information

If cost centers are being used in the current company, only employees that the operator has security authorization to access are available.

If entity tracking is enabled in the current company, employee W-2 records display based on whether the operator has authorization for the assigned entity. If at least one authorized cost center is assigned to the specified entity code, all W-2s for that entity display.

Print W-3 Forms

Use this screen to print the W-3 Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements form, which is a required form when filing W-2's. Please refer to the IRS instructions on filing forms W-2 and W-3 for detail on SSA requirements.

Per Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations, the W-3 form is a Federal form not intended for use as a "state" totals page. Please go to W-2 Form Maintenance screen, click the Listing button, select Totals only?, enter the state code in the Tax table code field, and use that print-out for state purposes.

  • Box 12a of the W-3 form sums Box 12 figures of the W-2 forms for code letters D, E, F, G, H, S, Y, AA and BB.

  • Box 12 code DD is for the Cost of employer-sponsored health coverage, and code EE is for Designated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan.

  • For a complete list of field descriptions, please refer to the Spectrum online Help (click Help from the Print W-3 Forms screen).

Export W-2 File

Use this screen to prepare W-2 electronic files. There are two electronic file types that can be created from this screen. One conforms to the federal electronic EFW2 format. The other is a comma-delimited file, in a format used by Nelco, a 3rd party processor of W-2's.

Backup W-2 Records to History

Use the Backup option on the W-2 Processing screen to save W-2 information into a new history table. This process is available before or after the electronic files and printing of forms takes place. While it can be run multiple times, only the latest version will be saved.

EFW2 Format File for Federal Filing

Here are instructions for creating the EFW2 format file for Federal W-2 filing:

  1. Complete and review the screen selections. For step-by-step instructions on this screen, refer to the field descriptions at Export W-2 File and Nelco State Tax Filing.

  2. For Federal submittal, leave Tax table field at 'ALL.'

  3. Click the Continue button. A pop-up will appear where you can enter an alternate file name for the export (the file name will always default to W2REPORT).

  4. Click the Continue button on the pop-up. The download settings for your browser and / or workstation will determine where the EFW2 format file is saved or how it is opened. Please contact your company IT department for more information.

  5. After the EFW2 format file has been created, use Notepad or Notepad++ to confirm the W-2 information has been created. Power User Tip: Spectrum includes data validations on the Nelco export that are not part of the EFW2 file creation. Before clicking the Continue button on the Export W-2 file screen, click the Nelco CSV button, to let Spectrum check addresses, SSNs and names on the W-2 Employee records. After all corrections are entered, and the Nelco CSV validation is clean, then click the Continue button, and create an EFW2 record with cleaner data.

  6. To further review the contents of the electronic file, the Social Security Administration offers AccuWage Software.
    Note: All Address fields must be completed, even if the same address is used more than once, or you will receive an error message when you run your AccuWage test.
  7. Enter information as needed in each field. Refer to the message line at the bottom of the screen and IRS or SSA documentation for assistance.

Supplemental Instructions for State filing with the EFW2

Spectrum includes the standard, required EFW2 fields in its W-2 export. Many states require additional fields, which are not supported by the Spectrum W-2 export. Please see the Appendix to this Help File for a list of states which have additional requirements for electronic filing.

There are several options to create an electronic file that meets these states' non-standard requirements:

  • Manually modify the EFW2 file created out of Spectrum in Notepad or Notepad++.

    Please note that Spectrum Support is not able to assist with modifying EFW2 files.

  • Contract with Viewpoint's Professional Services or Technical Services to create a state-specific EFW2 file.

  • Contract with Nelco to generate the W-2's (see section below).

  • To create a state-specific electronic file, enter the tax table code for the state in the Tax table field, and fill in the Tax ID and FIPS code on the screen, before clicking the Continue button.

    Important: Be aware that the file name always defaults to "W2REPORT." We recommended that you create separate sub-directories to write the Federal and each individual state file, or be very careful to consistently name the files. Unless you write to a slightly different location or file name, your latest electronic file will overwrite the previous one.

Viewpoint Partners with Nelco to Support W-2 Filing

The Spectrum interface has a function to create a comma delimited (.csv) file which can be uploaded to the Nelco site to process W-2's. In addition, Nelco has special Viewpoint customer pricing for processing W-2's. Please contact Nelco at 1-800-266-4669 for more information.

After carefully filling out the Export W-2 file screen, click the Nelco CSV button. After validating and correcting data, the system will prompt you, based on the download and save settings on your workstation, to save or open the file. If you do open the file, please use Notepad or Notepad++, as Excel will often strip leading zeros unless the data is carefully imported in.

Once the file has been saved, you will go to the Nelco website and choose from a menu of Nelco services, including electronic filing and delivery of forms to employees.

Important: If you are using Nelco to file W-2's, the State ID must be entered in an exact format. Please see the Appendix for a document with State ID format requirements, or contact the taxing agency of each state in question. The State ID should be verified prior to building W-2's. To correct the State Tax ID, enter it at Payroll > Maintenance > Tax Tables and then return to the W-2 Maintenance page and perform the Update State ID utility.

Complete and review the screen selections, paying special attention to the tax year selection.

  1. Click the Nelco CSV button. The Export to Nelco CSV Format information window displays.

  2. Click the hyperlink to learn more about Nelco Solutions, or click Continue if you are already sure you wish to proceed with the export.

  3. A second information window displays letting you know if the export was successful and listing any exceptions (records containing errors) if they exist.

  4. Open the Nelco partner site. If this is your first time here, you'll need to click the Create Account link. Here you'll be prompted to enter your general info (name, address, email, etc.) about your company.

  5. Click the Import Data link and select the 'Federal Information Reporting' Form Type and select the File to Import.

  6. Upload your .CSV file to the Nelco site from your Downloads folder.

  7. Click the Import button.

  8. On the Forms In Progress screen, choose the filing services you wish to use: Federal E-filing, State Filing, Recipient Mail & Online Retrieval. These services can be selected as a bundle or individually.

  9. Make sure all the employees for your companies are selected on this screen and click the Next button to proceed.

  10. If you have selected the 'Recipient Mail & Online Retrieval' service, enter recipient email addresses.

  11. Review the recipients in your cart and click the Next button.

  12. On the Payment Details screen, enter credit card information.

  13. Click the Pay & Submit button to complete processing.

Cost Center Security Information

If cost centers are being used in the current company, only employees that the operator has security authorization to access are available.

If entity tracking is enabled in the current company, employee W-2 records display based on whether the operator has authorization for the assigned entity. If at least one authorized cost center is assigned to the specified entity code, all W-2s for that entity display.

Income Tax Tables

There are two methods for updating the income tax graduated tables in Spectrum: they can be updated manually, or you can use the tax table subscription download from the Spectrum Customer Portal.

Note that the tax table subscription update only updates graduated and percentage income tax tables. It also updates standard deductions and exemptions as applicable.

IRS Notice 1036 contains the US Federal taxation rates. We recommend reviewing this publication when setting your US tax rates.

Refer to the Year End Checklist topic for detailed instructions.

Year End Update

The Payroll Year End Update clears the prior year YTD earnings figures, clearing the decks for a New Year payroll cycle. Once the Year End Update is performed, and a payroll cycle in the New Year is updated, it is not advisable to attempt to process a prior year's payroll check. Special procedures would have to be taken to do so (that is, voiding all the payroll checks in the New Year) and is not recommended. Please confirm that all payroll checks dated for the prior year have been completed.

Refer to the Year End Checklist topic for detailed instructions.

For non-standard calendar years that require an additional pay period, the system will calculate using the appropriate weekly and biweekly payrolls that occur in a non-standard calendar year by selecting the Extra pay period this year checkbox on the Tax Table Maintenance or Year End Update screens.