A bald, white-bearded man looks down at the piece of paper in his hand with a serious expression. He leans on a counter in a store filled with potted plants and flowers. Plants of various sizes sit in pots on shelves behind him, on the edges of the counter, and, in the case of a few tall plants, on the floor near the walls. The man wears a muted green collared shirt and a khaki green apron. On the counter in front of him are more folded up pieces of paper, a smart phone, a calculator, a handheld credit card reader, and a neon green spray bottle. A computer monitor and keyboard and a mug filled with pens and scissors are also on the counter.
Although employees are responsible for filling out Form W-4 at the beginning of their employment, employers are responsible for filing Form W-2 every year. — Getty Images/demaerre

There are certain forms that employees must fill out when they first join your company. Depending on the type of contract you offer, this could include the federal tax Form W-4, a state tax withholding form, and internal paperwork like a direct deposit authorization.

What you may not realize is that paperwork doesn’t stop after the onboarding period. There are some HR forms that need to be filled out every year to help your organization stay compliant. Each industry is different, and requirements may vary from state to state—so consult with an HR expert to make sure you’re submitting all the right documents. Here are a few annual forms you should consider asking your team to complete.

[Read more: New Hires: What Is the Required Paperwork Documentation for New Employees?]

Performance appraisals

It’s common to conduct annual performance reviews or self-evaluations on an annual or semi-annual basis. Any formal reviews that could impact someone’s pay, benefits, or job title should be recorded.

“Document all performance and disciplinary events, whether positive or negative,” wrote ADP. “This includes annual performance reviews, rewards and recognitions, promotions, and disciplinary action, including written and oral warnings, and performance improvement plans.”

Make sure that employees sign a form acknowledging they’ve received formal feedback. This documentation can help in the event that there’s a performance issue down the road.

[Read more: Employee Reviews: 6 Steps for Success]

Benefits enrollment and changes

Open enrollment refers to a period of two to four weeks during which employees may elect or change the benefits options you offer. During this time, benefits such as health insurance, dental coverage, retirement plans, or flexible spending accounts may need to be reviewed and updated annually. For calendar-year benefit plans starting on January 1, open enrollment often takes place in November. Employees who make changes to their benefits elections should resubmit their forms accordingly.

Document all performance and disciplinary events, whether positive or negative.


Tax-related forms

W-4 forms are only filled out by employees when they first join your team. Employers are responsible for filling out W-2 forms at the end of each tax year to tell employees and the IRS how much each individual was paid, as well as how much tax was withheld during the year.

However, employees may receive or need to fill out other tax-related forms annually, such as state income tax withholding forms or forms related to tax-advantaged accounts like the 401(k) or IRA. Refer to a licensed accountant to learn what state-related forms apply to your business.

Safety training and compliance forms

In certain industries, employees may need to complete annual safety training and certify their compliance with safety protocols. There are specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training requirements for businesses in agriculture, construction, general industry, and maritime sectors. Some states—including Connecticut, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island—require OSHA 10 training, which may be voluntary in other states. Make sure employees sign off to document completing this module.

Conflict of interest and code of conduct

Some sectors, such as the financial sector, require an annual review of conflict-of-interest rules. If your business has a board of directors or works closely with local government, annually renewing your conflict of interest commitments is a good way to build public trust. Likewise, employees may need to review and acknowledge your company's code of conduct on an annual basis.

Emergency contact information

Employees should update their emergency contact information and personal details, including addresses and phone numbers, as needed.

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