Certified Payroll Reports -- Mistakes to Avoid

Submitting weekly certified payroll reports can be a time-consuming task; making mistakes on these reports will lead not only to frustration and more time spent fixing them, but also put your company's good standing in jeopardy.

If you are required to file certified payroll reports, you will become quite familiar with U.S. Department of Labor's Forms WH-347 and WH-348. According to their own estimates, these forms will take an average of 55 minutes to complete, which includes time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, and collecting and reviewing  your information.

Avoiding the following mistakes and submitting the reports properly the first time will benefit you all around.

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*  Mistake #1: Your reports are rejected as incomplete, inadequate, or not properly signed: You may not have submitted the correct form, or some information was left off the report. The report must be signed in ink, not with an electronic signature, so be sure the company officer signs the form in BLUE ink, as black may look like a copy.

You will need to correct any missing or erroneous information and resubmit by a new deadline or you may not receive payment on time. Delayed payments negatively affect your company's cash flow, so avoiding this problem is in everyone's best interest.

  • Mistake #2: You paid your employees their normal "non-prevailing wage rate" and you didn't submit certified-payroll reports: You will need to pay your employees wage restitution to bring up their pay to the prevailing wage rate, and then file certified payroll reports within 30 days that the General Contractor was notified. This may result in a delay of payment to both your company and the General Contractor.
  • Mistake #3: You did not pay your employees the wage rates listed in the Wage Decision: You will need to make wage restitution to the employees, submit proof of wage restitution, and submit revised certified payroll reports. You will typically have 30 days from the date the General Contractor was first notified; both your payment and the General Contractor's payment can be delayed.
  • Mistake #4: You failed to include any Subcontractor's wages on your report.  Both your own employees AND any subcontractors you may be using on the job are required to be reported, otherwise you will incur penalties.
  • Mistake #5: You discarded old records too soon. Should a complaint be filed several years after work has been completed, you will need your records to assist in such a dispute. To be safe, you should keep your records on file for at least 7 years in the event a complaint is flied.
  • It is in your best interest to avoid these mistakes; not only will you avoid extra paperwork and ensure timely payments, but if you continue to make such mistakes your company may be penalized both monetarily and in getting future contracts.

    Such penalties may include not being allowed to bid on or perform work on prevailing wage projects for up to three years. In addition, it may be a strike against your company in competition for another bid; you may be passed over in favor of another company without any issues in this area.

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