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A group certificate is a document that provides details regarding benefits provided to employees under a group membership plan that is offered by an employer. The employee’s membership may be in a group health coverage plan of some type, or an investment plan that is utilized as retirement plan. In some countries, a group certificate may also refer to the document issued to employees just prior to a tax season, providing details of that each individual’s earnings, earnings, withholdings, and taxes subtracted and sent to tax agencies for the most recently completed tax period.
Typically, a group certificate is focused on providing information on benefits that are available to the employee through membership in a group plan of some type. For example, a certificate that has to do with health insurance would provide a simple to read breakdown of the types of covered illnesses, co-pays, deductibles, and other important matters relating to the provisions of the plan. An employer would provide this type of detail to employees rather than issuing them a copy of the actual group health insurance contract that the employer has established with the provider.
The same general approach with group investment accounts also applies. Rather than issuing employees copies of the agreement between the employer and the entity that will manage the investments, the group certificate covers the details of how the plan works. In addition, the certificate issued to each employee will often include details on his or her contributions to the plan, making it easy to cross-check those amounts with other financial records the employee maintains.
When it comes to providing employees with income information prior to the filing of income tax returns, a group certificate serves as a recap for all financial activity that occurred during the most recently completed tax year. For each employee, the certificate will include details such as the total gross salary and wages earned during the period, and any bonuses or commissions issued during that same time frame. At the same time, the detail will include information on any amounts withheld as taxes for local, state, and national tax agencies, as well as any deductions for child support, garnishments, or other issues. The total detail is helpful when preparing tax returns in many nations that do no require employers to provide a government approved breakdown of income and withholding within a certain amount of time after the tax year is completed.