Employees don't understand payroll deductions: Survey

And they aren't going to payroll professionals for answers

Canadian employees feel overburdened with taxes and most don't understand the deductions on their paycheques, according to a new survey.

The survey, released by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) to mark National Payroll Week (Sept. 10 to Sept. 14), is based on the responses of more than 2,000 payroll professionals across the country.

It found that 67 per cent of these professionals reported most employees in their workplaces feel overtaxed.

At the same time, most reported that employees have only a poor-to-fair understanding of taxes, deductions and benefits, and that less than 15 per cent of employees would be able to calculate their own taxes, deductions and remittances correctly.

But despite the knowledge gap, the survey also shows that employees do not ask questions about their pay. Most payroll professionals say they spend less than 10 per cent of their workday answering employee inquiries about taxes and deductions.

"What this survey tells us is that Canadian workers feel they are paying more in taxes, don't understand their deductions, and don't know where to turn for answers," says Elaine Gill, chairman of the CPA.

"That's why, during this National Payroll Week, we want to get our message out: We want employees to know that their payroll colleague is an excellent resource - that there is someone they can go to at work for information about payroll deductions."

Payroll professionals in 1.4 million organizations pay 23 million employees annually. They are responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate payment of $660 billion in wages, $220 billion in government remittances and $77 billion in health and retirement premiums. Payroll professionals must also comply with more than 185 pieces of tax and related legislation across Canada.

"Payroll professionals are the key communications point for employees and management on salaries and benefits," says Patrick Culhane, president of the CPA. "So if you're wondering why your pay statement has changed, your payroll professional has the answers."

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