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Can One Certified Payroll Report Meet Requirements in all 50 States?

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Certified payroll reporting requirements are complex.  There is no single certified payroll form that will meet the requirements in all 50 states.  Don’t be fooled!

Certified Payroll Reporting requirements by stateIt’s a common misconception that a single certified payroll report form will meet the prevailing wage requirements found in each of the 50 states.  To be fair, at one time or another a contractor in any state will work on a federally funded construction project and submit the US Department of Labor WH-347 form (or an acceptable substitute).  However, that would be the only time.

21 states follow the reporting requirements of the US Department of Labor and file a WH -347 form or an acceptable substitute for each government-funded construction project that they work on.

14 states have enacted state prevailing wage laws, which are overseen by a single state agency – perhaps the State Department of Labor, or Department of Transportation. . In this situation a contractor is required to file the certified payroll report form that is been developed by the state when they work on a construction project that is funded primarily with state money and the WH-347 when a project is funded with federal dollars

The remaining 15 states have prevailing wage laws that are monitored by multiple state agencies or require that the certified payroll reports be submitted electronically.  in this case a contractor must know which agency is providing the filing requirements so that the proper payroll report form can be generated or electronically uploaded.

(To find out what prevailing wage requirements your state follows, see the Certified Payroll Reporting Requirements by State page on our main website.)

Electronic certified payroll reporting requirements have become increasingly popular since 2004.  Electronic compliance requires less manpower and quicker recognition of compliance issues.  Many state and local governments are using online compliance monitoring systems which of been developed by TRS Consultants/Hill international, LCPtracker, or Elation Systems.  Other states have designed their own systems.

An electronic certified payroll file contains all the normal information that is required on a paper report, however, that information is transferred into a special machine readable file format (usually an XML document or a specifically designed Excel spreadsheet).  If your software can produce these machine readable files.  All you need to do is log into the online system, and upload the files.  If your software doesn’t have the ability to create the XML document or Excel spreadsheet you’ll need to first complete the normal paper report and then log into the system and manually reenter all of that data.

Many contractors are facing these challenges on a daily basis.  while they may have software program that will create paper certified payroll reports.  Those reports may not meet state specific prevailing wage requirements; let alone produce a file in the proper format to be electronically uploaded.

QuickBooks users face this challenge on a daily basis, especially if they are using the built-in QuickBooks certified payroll report.  It simply doesn’t meet any of the state specific or electronic filing requirements.  For example, the California Department of Industrial Relations, created a Compliance Monitoring Unit (CMU) that became effective January 1, 2012 for construction projects that are funded with state bond money.  The CMU utilizes the system developed by TRS Consultants/Hill International and the electronic upload file MUST contain all of the information that is required on the DIR Form A-1-131 when it is converted to an XML file.

If you use QuickBooks and need to file electronic certified payroll reports in Alaska, for the Texas Department of Transportation, for Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, or have to upload the reports to TRS Consultants/Hill International, LCPtracker, or Elation Systems check out Certified Payroll Solution – it will provide you with Federal or State specific paper certified payroll reports and provide you with the correct electronic file format to submit.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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