Focus on Finance: Payroll and Tax Administration

The corporate finance function of National Life serves the organization in many different ways. Over the next few weeks, we will introduce to you to some of these teams and the terrific people behind the great work they do. Let’s begin with Payroll and Tax Administration.

  • Tell us about the members of your team.

Our “team” is predominantly the duo of Janis Blais and Christine Copeland. Together, they have over 50 years of collective experience and expertise in payroll and taxation!

  • Can you give us an overview of the payroll and tax administration functions?

Payroll processing ensures our employees get compensated for their work. It involves calculating total wage earnings and withholding deductions for benefits and taxes and filing payroll taxes so that each employee can be paid bi-weekly.

As an insurance company, we withhold, submit and report taxes from policyholder transactions as well as certain agent commissions. This supports our over 1 million buying customers and their beneficiaries.

  • Payroll is certainly an important function for all of us at National Life who want to get paid every other week! What are some of the many aspects of making that happen without fail?

The payroll cycle involves coordinating a broad range of data for every employee including wages, bonuses, and expenses, as well as the many withholdings for all of our employee benefits. Federal and state income taxes and FICA taxes are also withheld and submitted with the employer match.

All of this information needs to be updated and reconciled to ensure each individual payout is accurate. This includes maintaining employee bank information, reconciling cash, and recording accounting entries for our financials.

  • Tax Administration is more than just employment payroll taxes. What else does this encompass?

This involves withholding for payments to policyholders or beneficiaries and submitting to the respective federal or state tax agencies. The totals are reconciled and reported quarterly and annually along with appropriate journal entries for the company’s financials. Federal and state unemployment taxes are also calculated and submitted as part of this process.

At year end, W-2s are processed for employees and the taxing authorities. We take great pride in getting these out as early as possible in early January. For our policyholders, amounts withheld are also reconciled to ensure our policyholders receive accurate 1099s.

  • Tell us something about what you do that would surprise us?

We partner closely with our charitable foundation and Accounts Payable to ensure that every employees’ individual Share the Good contribution is made and matched to the appropriate charity. It requires quite a bit of coordination, but it is a rewarding process.