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Payroll Tax Overview for Georgia

GeorgiaThe mechanics of payroll tax law vary widely by state, so knowing how to file and pay payroll taxes can be a challenge. The following payroll tax overview should help give companies a better sense of the specific requirements in Georgia, assist them in filing taxes accurately, and help payroll tax managers mitigate the penalties associated with not filing taxes in a timely and accurate manner.

How to file and pay withholding taxes

The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is responsible for collecting withholding taxes on behalf of the state. Employers must register for an account number, and can do so online through the Georgia Tax Center (GTC).[1] Employers who register online will typically receive an account number within 15 minutes of registering.[2]

The DOR assigns semi-weekly, quarterly, monthly and annual payment schedules based on a 12-month lookback period.[3] Employers may choose to pay via ACH Debit or ACH Credit or through the Georgia Tax Center,[4] but any tax payment greater than $500 must be remitted through an electronic funds transfer (EFT).[5]  If a payment greater than this amount is not paid via EFT, there will be a 10 percent penalty on the amount of the tax due.[6]

One unusual exception to payment rules: In Georgia, if tax liability is $100,000 or more for a payday, employers are subject to the “one-day rule,” which stipulates that employers must submit their withholding tax deposit by EFT by the next banking day after their employees’ payday.[7]

Penalties and interest for withholding taxes

The penalty for late filing of a return is $25 plus five percent per month of the tax not paid by the original due date.[8] For late payment of tax due, the penalty is $25 plus five percent of the tax due.[9] Interest accrues at one percent per month.[10] The total of the penalty for late filing of return and penalty for failure to pay tax shown on a return cannot exceed 25 percent of the tax due.[11]

If a filing exceeds $500, employers must pay via EFT or receive a penalty of 10 percent of tax due for any on-time payment that is not remitted via EFT.[12]

Credits and refunds for withholding taxes

If an employer overpays withholding taxes, a refund will not be sent automatically. Employers must file a claim and mail it to the DOR or request a refund on GTC.[13] The DOR will keep a record of the credit, which can then be applied to future quarters.[14]

How to file and pay unemployment taxes

Unemployment insurance (UI) taxes are collected by the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL). In most situations, employers are liable under Georgia law if they employ at least one employee in covered employment for part of a day in 20 different weeks in the current or preceding year, or if they paid wages of $1500 or more to employees in any quarter within the current or preceding year.[15]

Unfortunately, there is not an option to register for an unemployment insurance tax account online; forms must be sent by mail or faxed to the DOL.[16] However, once registered, Georgia encourages employers to manage filing and payments online at the DOL website.[17]

There are two methods of paying unemployment insurance taxes. Most employers are contributory employers who pay taxes at a specified tax rate on a quarterly basis based on their historical experience.[18] Government employers and certain non-profits may elect to reimburse the DOL for benefits paid to their former employees on a quarterly basis.[19]

Penalties for unemployment taxes

The penalty for not filing a Quarterly Wage and Tax Report is $20 or .05 percent of gross payroll, whichever is greater for each month or fraction of a month a report remains delinquent.[20] The penalties for misclassified workers are the same penalty for failure to file a report plus interest of 1.5 percent per month on any additional tax due.[21]

Other resources

For additional resources, check out The Bridge Sponsored by ADP®, a new secure social networking community sponsored by ADP® that provides a unique peer-to-peer online forum for employers to interact, collaborate, communicate and share experiences and knowledge about a wide range of human capital management topics. Here you can find the Georgia tax forum and additional details about the state’s tax employment documents and requirements.

Learn More about ADP Employment Tax


The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing accounting, legal, or tax advice. The information and services ADP provides should not be deemed a substitute for the advice of any such professional.  Such information is by nature subject to revision and may not be the most current information avai



[3], pg. 6


[5], pg. 6

[6], pg. 8

[7], pg. 6

[8], pg. 17

[9], pg. 17

[10], pg. 17

[11], pg. 17

[12], pg. 8

[13], pg. 11

[14], pg. 11

[15], pg.45

[16], pg. 54

[17], pg. 62

[18], pg. 67

[19], pg. 67

[20], pg. 147

[21], pg. 147


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