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Payroll Tax Specialist Job Description
  • Publish: April 2, 2021
  • Author: StrongerTeams Editorial
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Payroll Tax Specialist Job Description

A Payroll Tax Specialist manages employer and employee tax contributions and reconciliations in an organization. The role reports to payroll management and is critical to ensuring the organization is compliant with tax legislation.

An accounting or payroll background is important for a Payroll Tax Specialist, with in-depth knowledge of payroll procedures, tax legislation, accounting practices, and audit requirements. This is a highly specialized role with a high degree of responsibility.

The Payroll Tax Specialist job is a mid-level position and may lead to a Senior Specialist or a management role.

Similar Job Titles:

Human Resources Associate, Payroll and Benefits Specialist, Payroll Coordinator, Payroll Assistant

What Does a Payroll Tax Specialist Typically Do?

A Payroll Tax Specialist calculates tax deductions, reconciles tax reporting, and monitors payroll compliance.

Specific tasks assigned to a Payroll Tax Specialist include:

  1. Calculating employee and employer tax amounts
  2. Filing of weekly, monthly, and quarterly tax returns and reporting
  3. Reconciliation of payroll tax deductions with the general ledger
  4. Monitoring of legislative changes
  5. Incorporation of legislative changes into the HRIS and payroll system
  6. Reporting to management
  7. Preparing and handing out tax certificates for employees
  8. Generating reports for audits
  9. Handling tax-related employee queries

Calculating Employee and Employer Tax Amounts

A Payroll Tax Specialist calculates all tax-related deductions for both staff and the organization and hands the calculations on to payroll staff for processing in the weekly and monthly payroll runs. The calculations are often automated, but it is the Payroll Tax Specialist’s responsibility to ensure all calculations are complete and correct.

Filing of Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Tax Reports

Tax returns are crucial to maintaining organizational compliance and ensuring business continuity. A Payroll Tax Specialist submits the required returns to the relevant tax authorities. The returns must be confirmed as having been received, and the Payroll Tax Specialist must ensure that all records are filed.

Reconciliation of Payroll Tax Deductions With the General Ledger

A Payroll Tax Specialist enters all tax payments into the general ledger and ensures that the ledger is balanced. This task is highly detailed and may require strenuous effort. The Payroll Tax Specialist must be committed to detail in this task.

Monitoring of Legislative Changes

Federal, state, and local legislation is subject to periodic change, and a Payroll Tax Specialist keeps track of any proposed or impending changes that may affect payroll tax calculations.

Incorporation of Legislative Changes Into the HRIS and Payroll System

Legislative changes may affect tax rates, benefits schemes, or incentives, such as car allowances. 

A Payroll Tax Specialist updates the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and the payroll system immediately to reflect any changes in the law. They must also inform all stakeholders about changes that may affect them and ensure that the changes are documented.

Reporting to Management

Management relies on up-to-date payroll reporting to calculate cash-flow, earnings, and profit forecasts, so a Payroll Tax Specialist prepares weekly, monthly, and quarterly management reports for inclusion in board packs. The reports must include all payroll tax data, tax compliance status, and employee tax payment information.

Preparing and Handing Out Tax Certificates for Employees

A Payroll Tax Specialist ensures that all employees receive their mandatory tax certificates and that all the information in them is complete and correct.

Generating Reports for Audits

Payroll is often the largest financial area to be audited for compliance, accuracy, and completeness. A Payroll Tax Specialist is responsible for ensuring that all necessary reports, documents, and receipts are ready for the annual audit process. This should be an ongoing task, requiring only that the documentation be collated at audit time.

Handling Tax-Related Employee Queries

A Payroll Tax Specialist should be the first point of contact for questions related to employees’ tax contributions. Employee queries are often demanding, so the Payroll Tax Specialist should be helpful, courteous, and willing to find solutions to employee concerns.

Roles a Payroll Tax Specialist Typically Collaborates With

A Payroll Tax Specialist will work closely with the following posts:

Collaborative Roles
Senior HR SpecialistCompensation and Benefits ManagerPayroll Coordinator
HR ManagerHuman Resources ExecutiveBenefits Manager
Benefits AnalystBenefits AdministratorHR Coordinator

Payroll Tax Specialist Salary

In the U.S., a Payroll Tax Specialist will typically earn between $52,000 and $81,000 annually. The median is around $61,696.  

What Is the Payroll Tax Specialist Pay Difference by Location?

Average salaries for a Payroll Tax Specialist differ by location as follows:

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$73,483
Seattle, WA$67,458
Denver, CO$62,393
Austin, TX$60,678
Washington, DC$68,680
Milwaukee, WI$61,060
Boston, MA$69,513
New York, NY$70,720

What Is the Payroll Tax Specialist Pay Difference by Experience Level?

Pay for a Payroll Tax Specialist will vary according to experience as follows:

Experience LevelAverage Salary
<1 year$58,439
1–4 years$65,132
5–9 years$68,855
10–19 years$68,855
20+ years$68,855

Payroll Tax Specialist Job Description Template

[Company Name] is looking for a dedicated, conscientious, and exacting Payroll Tax Specialist to handle all tax matters in our payroll team.

Apply if you have expert knowledge of relevant tax legislation and are committed to total quality in your work.

You will be joining a team of seasoned professionals and will contribute to making our payroll function efficient, fault-free, and dedicated to our employees’ satisfaction.


As a Payroll Tax Specialist, you will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Calculating tax deductions for payroll runs
  • Filing tax returns according to legislative timelines and stipulations
  • Reconciling tax payments internally
  • Monitoring relevant tax legislation
  • Helping employees on all tax or payroll matters

Required Skill Set

The Payroll Tax Specialist should possess the following qualifications, skills, and attributes:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or HR
  • At least two years’ experience working in payroll
  • Expert knowledge of Excel
  • Attention to detail
  • Expert knowledge of common HRIS (SAP, Oracle, etc.)
  • Ability to work accurately under deadline pressure
  • Service orientation and collaborative attitude 

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