Intuit announces free payroll app for small businesses

Exclusive to PCWorld: Intuit Snap Payroll for iOS devices calculate wages, tax withholdings, and net payroll.

Intuit will announce on July 12, the availability of a new, free app aimed at small business owners who don't use accounting software or payroll services. Snap Payroll, available for the Apple iPhone and iPad, will calculate an employee's net pay based on his or her hourly wage and hours worked, taking into account the appropriate withholding for state and federal income taxes.

Intuit claims to be one of the largest payroll processing services in the U.S., handling paychecks for more than one million employees. But Snap Payroll doesn't currently tie into any of Intuit's other accounting packages, and the employer is expected to prepare each payroll check manually.

In addition to calculating employee paychecks, Snap Payroll will inform the user as to all the tax-related forms the government requires, and it can email those documents to the employer.

While Snap Payroll is designed only to simplify the accurate computation of earned wages and income tax withholding, it could help small business owners avoid running afoul of the IRS if used correctly. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of every three businesses pays a penalty for payroll calculation errors each year.

"We interviewed a lot of small business owners to determine their needs," said Colin Roper, product manager of Intuit's Mobile Operations unit. "Some of them are brand new employers who aren't sure how to handle payroll, and some have just one or two employees to pay. We discovered that our existing payroll products--Intuit Payroll and even QuickBooks--were just more than what they needed."

Intuit's conventional payroll products range in price from $9 to $99 per month, depending on whether the business owner uses Intuit's QuickBooks accounting software ($12.95 per month for the online version; $230 and up for the boxed versions), the number of employees to be accounted for, and the level of service that Intuit provides. Other payroll services cost as much or more.

Snap Payroll currently supports businesses operating in 12 states: Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Intuit expects to add more states in the coming months.

Intuit's reasoning for giving the app away for free is sound. "Over time, as their businesses grow and their needs become more sophisticated," Roper said, "we want them to think of Intuit first when they need accounting software."

Snap Payroll is now available in the iTunes store.

This story, "Intuit announces free payroll app for small businesses" was originally published by PCWorld.

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