Business owners (especially small business owners) already have a lot on their plates when it comes to running their operations. But those who choose to start their businesses (or hire employees) in Georgia, USA have even more on their to-do lists: sorting through the Peach State’s payroll taxes.
In addition to federal income tax, federal unemployment tax (FUTA), and FICA taxes, like Medicare tax and Social Security tax, US employers are responsible for payroll taxes that vary from state to state—making it crucial to understand how to stay compliant with the unique tax laws where your employees live.
As of 2023, the state of Georgia has a complex progressive tax system, but by the end of 2024, it’ll be replaced by a flat tax system that will offer businesses some relief and make calculating state withholding much simpler. For the time being, though, if you have employees in Georgia, it’s up to you to master the state’s different payroll taxes, their rates, and their due dates. Let’s dive in.
The 2 Georgia payroll taxes
In the state of Georgia, aside from taxes paid to the federal government, employers need to withhold two types of payroll taxes at the state level.
The Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) administers the state unemployment insurance (SUI) program, which employers pay into. The Georgia Department of Revenue collects Georgia income tax, which is withheld from employees’ wages.
All employers in Georgia are required to report new hires and rehires to the state directory within 10 days of their hire date, with no exemptions. New hires can be reported online through the state’s new hire reporting center.
Unemployment insurance tax
Georgia unemployment tax provides temporary payments to state residents who are unemployed due to no fault of their own—for example if they’re laid off. The Georgia Department of Labor sets annual tax rates for employers based on their experience. The current rate for new employers is 2.7%.
Under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), Georgia employers pay federal unemployment taxes in addition to the state tax below.
0.04% to 8.1%
Taxable wage limit
$769.50 per employee per year
Personal income tax
Personal income tax (PIT) in Georgia helps provide funding for state resources like schools, healthcare infrastructure, roads, and more. Employees pay income tax, but employers are responsible for income tax withholding and remittance to the Georgia Department of Revenue on their employees’ behalf.
As of 2023, the state income tax rate is progressive, with Georgia residents paying different tax rates depending on their wage base:
Income tax bracket
2023 income tax rate
- 1% to 5.75% in 2023
- 5.49% beginning January 1, 2024, then decreasing by 0.1% each year until it reaches 4.99%
Taxable wage limit
There are two methods for calculating how much to withhold for Georgia personal income tax:
- Method A uses the tax tables provided by the Department of Revenue in the Employer Tax Guide. With this method, you can use the pay period, filing status, and number of withholding allowances to determine the withholding amount, but the Department of Revenue warns that tax tables are not exact and may cause the amounts on the returns to be changed.
- Method B is using the percentage method outlined in the Employer Tax Guide. This method requires more exact computations—and is more complicated—but results in a more exact and accurate calculation of the income tax to be withheld. For this method, you’ll need to know the applicable deductions, personal allowances, dependents, and exemptions for each employee.
Navigating payroll tax laws is complicated for any employer—and in Georgia, where tax rates are changing year over year, things are even more complex for business owners. But with Rippling’s payroll software, it’s easy—Rippling automatically calculates your taxes, submits the right forms, and pays taxes on your behalf, all while monitoring tax laws at both the federal and state levels to help ensure total compliance. Rippling’s PEO can even register and maintain your state tax accounts for you, automating another part of the tax process.
Payroll tax due dates in Georgia
The amount of payroll tax a Georgia employer withholds each year determines their payment schedule—most employers will need to file either semi-weekly or monthly.
For semi-weekly filers:
- If they pay their employees on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, taxes are due on or before the following Wednesday.
- If they pay their employees on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, taxes are due on or before the following Friday.
For monthly filers, due dates are listed in the table below. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, payment is due on the following business day.
Some employers may only need to remit payroll taxes quarterly or annually. Those due dates can be found each year on the Georgia Tax Center website.
Staying on top of tax deadlines in Georgia is important—penalties for late or missed payments are steep. Late payments are assessed a penalty of $25 plus 5% interest on the total tax due each month past the due date, up to a maximum of 25% of the tax due before payment or credits.
How to submit payroll taxes in Georgia
Before you can hire employees and submit payroll tax filings in Georgia, you’ll need to take a few steps:
- Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
- Register with the Georgia Department of Revenue to establish your withholding tax account. You can do this online through the Georgia Tax Center website.
- Have your employees complete their withholding tax forms. For federal income tax, they’ll need to complete a Form W-4, and in Georgia, they’ll need to complete a Form G-4, State of Georgia Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate.
Employers who remit payroll tax semi-weekly are required to do so by electronic fund transfer (EFT), which must be done through the Georgia Tax Center website. Simply log in to your account and follow the instructions to remit payments.
Pay by check
If you make withholding payments monthly, quarterly, or annually, you can pay them by check. They must be returned with the correct payment voucher or return. Monthly filers use form GA-V. Quarterly and annual filers use form GA-7. You can download the correct forms from the Department of Revenue website. Follow the instructions on the form to return it to the Department of Revenue once complete.
Rippling’s full-service payroll software
Paying withholding taxes doesn’t need to be so complicated. Rippling’s payroll software is so powerful it practically runs itself—automating all your compliance work in the process. Rippling automatically files your federal and Georgia state payroll taxes at the right time and with the right agencies.
FAQs about Georgia payroll taxes
Are there local tax laws in Georgia?
No. Whether your employees live in Atlanta or Savannah, you’ll calculate their Georgia payroll taxes the same way—Georgia has no local income taxes.
Can your tax returns be audited in Georgia?
Yes. The Georgia Department of Revenue reviews business tax returns to ensure the correct amounts are reported and paid. Withholding tax is among the types of taxes the agency may review in an audit.
Are nonprofit organizations subject to payroll taxes in Georgia?
Nonprofits in Georgia are subject to all of Georgia’s payroll taxes if they have four or more employees for at least 20 weeks in a calendar year. If they don’t reach that threshold, they’re exempt from paying the state unemployment insurance tax.
Does Georgia have a state disability insurance tax?
Unlike many states, Georgia doesn’t require employers to pay a state disability insurance (SDI) tax.
Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide or be relied on for, tax, accounting, or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, accounting, and legal advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.