Abacus: Zeal’s Gross-to-Net Engine

Kirti Shenoy

We’re excited to announce the launch of Abacus, Zeal's Gross-to-Net Calculation API. We’ve exposed our gross-to-net engine, so developers can access compliant payroll calculations for all 50 states and territories in the United States via a simple API.

Abacus will be an incredibly helpful tool for software payroll solutions, franchises, Fortune 1000 Enterprises, accountants and back-office providers, PEOs and EORs, to compliantly process payroll for millions of hard working American employees. Our hope is that Abacus will bring Zeal one step closer to accomplish our mission of building tax logic that will touch every paycheck in America.

Intro to Gross-to-Net

Gross-to-Net Calculations is the process of calculating income taxes for an individual employee, transforming a gross pay value into net payout total, and communicating the breakdown of taxes to a payroll provider, Employer, and employee.

You’ve likely received a paycheck at some point and reviewed a pay stub that details values on the net wages being deposited into your bank account and the breakdown of Federal, State, and Local taxes you paid for via your payroll provider. The calculations on this paystub are based on rules proposed by 11,000+ tax jurisdictions with over 25,000 tax code changes. 

Every week there are hundreds of tax code changes that may affect changes to the net wages you receive through an ACH in your bank account or through a paper check. Onboarding documents, company locations, historical wage payout, work locations, earning components, and hundreds of variables contribute to differences in gross-to-net calculations, resulting in billions of combinations of withholding calculations.

Why Platforms Need This

Building Gross-to-Net calculations in-house is incredibly difficult for platforms because there’s no central database that posts comprehensive changes to local, state, federal taxes and parameter changes to documents that can affect changes. Zeal takes lead on surveying government departments, closely monitoring changes to payroll, and communicating parameter changes to our Platform Partners so they can be on top of compliance for payroll. Our goal with Abacus is to take care of the gnarly compliance scenarios for platforms, so they can focus on building great products, UI/UX, and support for their users.

Abacus will be a helpful offering for platforms that want to build their own payroll tax engine from scratch, replace their legacy gross-to-net calculation providers, or for platforms that wish to “double-check” their calculations in complex jurisdictions and scenarios.

How It Works

  1. Request Abacus API Documentation and API Keys from Zeal
  2. Integrate with our calculation endpoint to calculate taxes and arrive at the employee’s net pay
  3. When you want to calculate employee Gross to Net Calculations, simply give us:
  • The check date
  • The employee’s pay frequency
  • The employee’s residency address
  • Employee’s federal and state tax parameters
  • List of wages (which includes, the pay type, gross pay, and work location)

We’ll give you back federal and state employee withholdings and employer liabilities and you’ll be ready to pay out your employees accurately and compliantly.

At Zeal, we’re building the best tax, payment, and risk technology to make payroll simple, robust, and compliant. Our goal is to empower our Partners to build payroll products, instead of selling payroll directly to an SMB. With Abacus, we’re excited to continue our mark as a payroll provider’s hidden superpower.

We’re launching Abacus with a select group of users before opening it up to the public. If you’re interested in learning more about our Gross-to-Net API and some (secret) payroll developer versioning offerings we’re working on, please reach out through our website!