Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is an Electronic Withholding Certificate?
A. An Electronic Withholding Certificate is an electronic version of the paper forms used traditionally when someone is hired or makes a change to their withholding.
Q. What electronic withholding products does Symmetry Software offer?
A. There are three levels of Applications offered to automate the preparation of the Withholding Forms:
- The Withholding Advisor is a web based service for Human Resources and Payroll personnel to determine the proper withholding forms based on reciprocity agreements, your nexus status and the employee’s resident and work states.
- The StateW4.com service is a web-based hosted application that automates withholding form preparation for employees self-service.
- The Employee Exemption Certificate SDK is a software development kit made up of the Forms Library, Multi-State Wizard and Data Dictionary. It resides on your servers, and is used as a self-service application on your Intranet or portal. It integrates your existing data into the Forms and updates your Payroll and HR systems with the transaction data when a form is submitted.
Q. Is it legal to use an electronic process?
A. Symmetry Software has performed extensive research, retained a specialty law firm and asked for specific rulings from some states. The EEC SDK is regulatory compliant and auditable for all tax jurisdictions.
Q. What about an employee that lives in one state and works in another?
A. The Multi-State Wizard helps determine which forms need to be prepared. This Wizard has all state to state Reciprocity agreements built in, as well as rules relating to which forms are required and optional based on the employee’s settings and the company’s nexus settings.
Q. Don’t I have to keep a hard copy of each form?
A. IRS guidance is that forms generated by an electronic process are the same as a paper form. You do not need to keep a paper version. States accept electronic versions, and you can always print a paper version from StateW4.com or the EEC SDK.
Q. What happens when a withholding form changes?
A. Symmetry maintains all the state and federal forms in the Kit and on StateW4.com and updates the forms when changes occur.
Q. What about the security of employee information?
A. Since the SDK resides within your servers, your internal security standards and login process would apply. StateW4.com does not move information into the forms, nor does any employee data go out onto the Internet.
Q. Do I have to archive old forms when a state makes a change?
A. Symmetry maintains and includes all versions of the forms whenever an update is made to the SDK, so you have only one repository for all the forms that your employees have used. The StateW4.com website is constantly updated as forms change. Symmetry maintains and includes all versions of the forms whenever an update is made to the SDK, so you have only one repository for all the forms that your employees have used. The StateW4.com website is constantly updated as forms change.
Q. What do the employees need to use the SDK or StateW4.com?
A. All you need is a browser and Adobe Reader, version 5.0 or higher (it’s available as a free download).
Q. If I’m using the SDK, how do I develop the interfaces?
A. Your developers would select a PDF Utility (e.g., Active PDF, iText, PDFtk, etc.) to facilitate the movement of data and storage of transactions. Symmetry also works with third party developers that provide the definition and building of interfaces and business rules.
Q. What technical environments can the EEC SDK use?
A. The EEC SDK and Wizard operate in both JAVA and Microsoft .NET.
Q. What happens if an employee wants to change their withholdings months after making a change?
A. Using the SDK, you call the data string from the previous change and pre-fill the form with that data. The employee would then make any new changes and submit.
Q. How often can an employee change their Withholding Certificate?
A. The employee can change as often as your policies allow.
Q. Does the EEC SDK fulfill the regulations regarding electronic signature?
A. IRS Publication 15-A Cat No. 21453T describes the federal regulation regarding signature for the W-4 form. Many states also have electronic signature regulations. The EEC SDK meets these regulations.
Q. What happens if an auditor needs copies of forms from previous years?
A. Auditors will likely look at your withholding form process for consistency and at the form for details. Using your PDF utility, you would match the data transaction and form together and print it for the auditor.
Q. Are there forms that aren’t included in the SDK or StateW4.com?
A. Symmetry has built over 156 forms in the SDK and on StateW4.com. If a federal, state or local jurisdiction has a form that sets a withholding parameter needed by your payroll system; it will likely be in the Kit. Symmetry will also add other forms over time to the EEC SDK. Once a form is added, all EEC SDK and StateW4.com customers would receive them.
Q. Do I have to pre-fill the forms with employee data?
A. No, this is an option. You could display the blank form and require the employee to fill in all the required fields.
Q. Is any validation done on the information entered?
A. The Forms process on StateW4.com and EEC SDK both validate that mandatory data is entered, as well as validating at the field level for proper data type and entry.
Q. What happens if the employee puts in a different address than what we have on the Master File?
A. You can lock the withholding forms to only display master file data or build an error checking routine into your application and initiate your internal business process on how to handle an update.
Q. If an employee has allowances greater than what the state allows or declares as exempt, what happens?
A. All the federal and state regulations that require a paper copy to be filed are built in to the EEC SDK and StateW4.com. In the SDK, a flag is set in the tax parameter section that indicates a follow-up action.
Q. Do I have to change my internal procedures to use the EEC SDK or StateW4.com?
A. The StateW4.com process requires almost no change in procedures. It is very simple to integrate and utilize, without changing your business processes. The EEC SDK uses your business processes, rather than making you adapt.
Q. How much space do I need for data storage/How big are the files?
A. The largest state form data string is about 3K in size. A completed form with data is about 100K.
Q. How do I get more information?
A. Click on the "Request Info" button at the top of the page or click here