Linux bookkeeping: calculating payroll

Revenue Canada - Payroll Deductions Online Calculator.

I had yet another Windows setback last week. I had some automatic updates that needed to restart the system in order to finish up. Upon reboot, it got to 35% complete and then...nothing. I eventually did a hard reboot. A couple of days later, I was back in Ubuntu, backing up my important files before doing a clean install. No matter how many tips or tricks I tried, I could only get into Safe Mode.

To make matters worse, Friday was payday for one of my clients. Of course, all of those records are in QuickBooks, which I couldn't get to until I was done backing up and restoring my OS. I ended up getting it done, and it wasn't as difficult as I had imagined.

Revenue Canada has always had downloadable tax tables, and a fairly good Windows app. I didn't realize they also had an online payroll calculator. It's really good. It handles all the calculations, prints off a decent PDF "paystub", and even gives you a total for how much you need to remit. Unfortunately, it only gives you this for each employee. There's no way to get a running total for all the paycheques you make.

Long term, this isn't a solution on its own. I need to have a system to track the year-to-date totals, and it doesn't handle things like advances or non-taxable deductions very well. But, when I was done, I realized that this and a well made spreadsheet would do a pretty good job, especially if you're only tracking a handful of employees. If you are working for a bigger company (maybe 10+ employees), you'll either need a proper application, or a spreadsheet black belt. You wouldn't want to get those year end calculations wrong, or you may end up with a call from a Revenue Canada auditor.

This doesn't solve all of my problems yet. I would still need a fairly robust accounting app, but this was exciting to realize that I had options if I was temporarily without a Windows install.