All-in-one, full-service payroll with Gusto.

Work is so much more than a paycheck. That’s why we built Gusto to be a full-service payroll and people platform.

From handling payroll taxes to answering your HR questions, we simplify complex tasks so you save time and feel like an expert.

How Gusto works

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Gusto provides all-in-one payroll for more than 300,000 businesses.

Easy, flexible payroll services

You don’t have all day to run payroll. We do. We built Gusto so you can run payroll with just a few clicks — or even set payroll to run automatically each pay period.

Modern, integrated platform

With payroll, workers’ comp, benefits, and more integrated in one place, Gusto makes it easy to do more for your team. Plus, you save time and money and minimize the risk for mistakes.

Best-in-class support

Our team includes certified payroll professionals, licensed insurance brokers, and certified HR specialists. And we’re ready to help you via email, phone, and chat.

Trusted by more than 300,000 businesses and their teams

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Full-service payroll for all of your team’s needs.

There’s a reason why more than 300,000 businesses chose Gusto for their payroll, benefits, and HR needs. See how Gusto’s integrated payroll services can help you save time and money.

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Easy, flexible payroll services

Full-service payroll software that makes running payroll a breeze.

With Gusto payroll, everything’s handled.

Paying employees and contractors with multiple pay rates and in multiple states? Gusto handles that for you. Want to avoid dealing with payroll tax forms and filings? Gusto takes care of those, too.

With our full-service payroll platform, running payroll can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Modern, integrated platform

Payroll, benefits, and HR work better together.

Whether you want to offer health insurance and retirement plans to your team or need help building an employee handbook, Gusto is here to make those complex tasks easy. And it’s all in one connected platform that’s easy to use, with no hidden fees.

Learn more about our HR tools and all the employee benefits you can offer with Gusto.

Best-in-class support

Payroll specialists in your corner.

There’s no need to become a payroll and HR expert on your own.

We keep an eye on ever-changing laws to help you stay compliant, and our best-in-class customer service representatives are here to help you when you need it.

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IRS figures indicate that 40% of small businesses are fined each year for incorrect payroll tax filing, paying an average penalty of $845 per year for late or incorrect filings.

Work with Gusto and let us handle payroll filings for you instead.

All-inclusive pricing

From simple payroll services to robust HR tools and dedicated support, Gusto has the right package for your payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

Plans start at $46 per month.

Full-service payroll
Health benefits and workers’ comp administration
Employee offers and onboarding
Integrated time tracking
HR resource center
Built-in customer support
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Everything you need, doneWith Gusto, instead of a full-time salaried employee, everything is done for us for under $100/month. I dedicate almost zero mental space toward HR tasks.
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Pay-as-you-go workers’ comp

Take care of workers’ comp when you take care of payroll.

Gusto and AP Intego work together to make getting workers’ compensation insurance simple and stress-free.

All you need to do is pay for the premiums. We’ll take care of the administration and deductions by syncing it with payroll.

Employee self-service

Easy for you, even easier for your employees.

With Gusto, employees can onboard themselves. They can also access pay stubs, enroll in benefits, and make PTO requests all in one place.

When they’re done, Gusto stores all the paperwork in our secure online vault so you have one place for all your employee records.

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Full-service payroll FAQs

Payroll, benefits, and HR resources.

How do I pay both employees and contractors?

Paying employees and paying independent contractors are pretty similar processes, but there are some key differences you need to know about as an employer.

In general, paying contractors is a lot simpler than paying employees. The thing is, the IRS considers all workers to be employees unless you can prove otherwise. And if you misclassify your workers, you could pay major penalties.

So before you do anything, take a moment to ensure you know which of your workers are actually employees and which are contractors.

TL;DR: With employees, you can control what you want them to do and how you want it done. With contractors, you don’t get to tell them how to perform the work. Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of how to tell the difference between employees and contractors.

Did you classify all your workers correctly? Good. Now, let’s get into the main things to know about paying contractors and employees.

More than just a payroll serviceWe really do consider Gusto to be a key business partner. We rely on their expert payroll, tax, and compliance advice from their awesome, helpful support team and Help Center articles.
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1. Forms you need when hiring employees vs. contractors

Before you can pay them, you need to first ask your workers to fill out some paperwork.

Form I-9: This verifies that your employee is eligible to work in the US.Form W-9 or Form W-8BEN: This helps verify your contractor’s information, like their name, address, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), and whether they’re legally allowed to work in the US.
Form W-4: This helps your employee figure out their tax withholding. It also helps you calculate their income tax correctly.
Your state’s W-4 equivalent (if your state charges income tax)
Any benefits enrollment forms, such as those associated with 401(k) plans and health insurance
Note: These are just the forms you need when hiring employees. Other payroll forms you should know about include Form 941 for employers, Form W-2 for employees, and 1099-MISC for independent contractors.

2. Paying employees and contractors

Paying workers isn’t as simple as writing a check. Here’s what you need to know about paying each type of worker on your team:


When you pay employees, you typically have to pay a variety of taxes and withhold taxes from your employees’ paychecks. In general:

Both you and your employees pay:

  • FICA tax, which helps pay for Social Security and Medicare

You also pay:

  • FUTA tax, which helps fund federal unemployment insurance
  • SUI tax, which helps fund state unemployment insurance
  • Applicable local taxes for employers

Taxes aren’t the only thing that affect your team’s final paycheck—you also need to take into account elective pre-tax withholdings, voluntary and involuntary deductions, and reimbursements.


You generally don’t have to pay payroll taxes or withhold taxes for contractors—they’re responsible for paying their own taxes.

The exception is if they’re subject to backup withholding. If your contractor doesn’t write down a valid TIN on their W-9 form, you’re required to deduct backup withholding.

This makes it pretty simple to pay contractors—you just pay them the agreed-upon amount. However, there are a couple more forms you need to know about when paying contractors: Form 1099-MISCThis tells the government how much you paid your contractor over the calendar year. You need to fill one out and file it for every contractor you:

  • Paid more than $600 in a calendar year OR
  • Withheld federal income tax for

Form 1096: This summarizes all your 1099 forms. You only need to submit this if you file your 1099s by mail.

3. Filing deadlines and recordkeeping requirements

Keeping records isn’t just a good idea in case you’re sued or audited—it’s also required for certain employment documents. Here’s what you need to know:


The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require you to keep a copy of each pay stub for at least four years. And remember those forms we mentioned earlier? They have their own filing and recordkeeping requirements too:

Form 941File it by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter—i.e. April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 (or the next business day if any of those dates fall on a holiday or weekend).
I-9Keep it the entire time your employee works for you plus a minimum of either three years from their hire date or one year from their last day, whichever is longer.
W-2File it and give a copy to each employee by January 31. Keep it for at least four years.
W-4Keep it for a minimum of four years.
Federal and state payroll tax forms and tax deposit formsHold on to it for a minimum of four years.
FICA and FUTA tax formsKeep these forms for a minimum of four years.

On the benefits side, you should keep any records related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for three years and everything else (life insurance, COBRA, short-term and long-term disability insurance, retirement, health insurance, etc.) for six years.


Since paying contractors is simpler than paying employees, it should come as no surprise that this list is shorter. But it’s just as important to keep and file these forms on time:

941Give a copy to your contractor by January 31 (or the following Monday if the 31st falls on a weekend), send a copy to the IRS by February 28 (or
March 31 if you file using the IRS’s FIRE system), and keep it for at least four years.
W-9Keep it for at least four years.

4. Other HR laws to keep in mind

The government has a variety of laws in place to protect workers. This is a non-exhaustive list of important laws to know about.


We’re not going to sugarcoat it… there are a lot of laws you need to follow when you have employees—more than 180, in fact. Some of the most important labor laws include:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which regulates things like minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires you to provide unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees—if you have more than 50 employees
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which regulates health and safety in the workplace

To learn more about the major labor laws, visit the Department of Labor. And don’t forget: each state has its own employment laws as well.


There aren’t as many rules here—most laws like the FLSA only apply to employees. With contractors, your main duties are to:

  • Make sure they’re actually contractors (not employees). Otherwise, you may have to pay severe penalties.
  • Ask for/file/keep the appropriate forms — namely Form W-9 and 1099-MISC.
  • Keep records of everything, including contracts, invoices, and proofs of payments.

5. How employee benefits work


While your employees would probably appreciate any benefits you can offer, you’re not required to provide most of them. Despite that, many business owners offer benefits even if they’re not required to because they know that it’s a good way to attract quality candidates and keep employees happy.

Here’s what you need to know about the top benefits employees want:

  • Health insurance: You don’t have to offer health insurance unless you have 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
  • Vacation/PTO: While FMLA requires you to provide unpaid leave to eligible employees if you have 50 or more employees, you’re not required to offer paid vacation or sick time. However, most companies do.
  • Retirement plans: Unless you live in a state that requires you to offer a retirement plan, generally you’re not required to offer one. But if you do, make sure you’re following the regulations around how much your company and employees can contribute. The states that require employers to offer retirement savings plans include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon.


While you’re not required to offer benefits to independent contractors, you may be able to if you want. Providing benefits to contractors can be complicated though, so be sure to consult with a lawyer or HR expert.

While hiring employees and contractors can help your company scale, there’s a lot that goes into paying them. And the information we covered is just the starting point—states and cities have their own rules, too. It’s no wonder why small businesses paid nearly $5 billion in penalties in 2018 alone.

The good news is you don’t have to do this alone. With Gusto, it’s easy for small business owners to pay employees and contractors. See a demo or get started today.

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