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The Certified Payroll Professional Corner: Statutory Employees

Christopher Wood, CPP  

· 5 minute read

Christopher Wood, CPP  

· 5 minute read

This weekly blog series is on the Certified Payroll Professional exam. For week-one, the focus is on statutory employees.

The Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) exam is an advanced payroll professional certification offered by the American Payroll Association (APA). This 190 question test can be a benefit to both payroll professionals and their employers. The CPP allows payroll professionals to demonstrate their expertise and advancement in a company.

CPP benefits. 

The certification is also beneficial for employers because employing subject matter experts with the highest payroll certification means getting more expertise, a standardized approach, and employees with a greater commitment to payroll.

FPC exam for entry-level employees and CPP criteria. 

The CPP exam is aimed at more experienced payroll workers. The APA also offers a Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) for entry-level payroll workers. This is also a beneficial certification for both employees and their employer.


To sit for the CPP exam, a payroll professional needs to meet one of the following three criteria:

  1. Must have practiced payroll for at least three of the past five years before the exam date.
  2. Must have been employed as a payroll worker for at least two full years before the exam date, as well as having completed specific APA coursework within the same time period.
  3. Must have been employed as a payroll worker for at least 18 months before the exam date, have previously obtained their FPC, and have completed specific APA coursework within the same time period.

Leadership and management for senior roles. 

According to the APA, the CPP exam questions are much more in depth than the FPC and also includes questions on leadership and management. CPP holders are considered experts in their field and are ready for more senior roles within a payroll team.

When is the exam offered? 

The CPP exam is typically offered in the Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall each year. For example, the 2022 exams are being held from January 10 through April 16, 2022 and from September 10 through October 8, 2022. There is a registration period and a lot of available exam preparation that includes books, training courses, webinars, study groups, and online research materials.

Use the Checkpoint payroll library to help. 

The Checkpoint payroll library contains most to all of the information needed to prepare for the CPP test. Our search engine can bring users to necessary materials to help them get ready for the exam. There is in depth coverage and federal source materials that cover many of the topics discussed on the CPP.

Weekly CPP question and discussion. 

To help our subscribers interested in the CPP exam, the Checkpoint payroll editorial team will be preparing a weekly question and discussion on payroll topics that are found on the CPP exam. Each week there will be a question that will be thoroughly answered the following week. Subscribers can follow along each week to learn more about payroll for the CPP exam, to learn more on the subject, or as a refresher.

Question on statutory employees.

Workers in certain occupations may be employees for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA; Social Security and Medicare taxes) and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA tax) purposes even if they qualify as independent contractors under the common law. These workers are known as statutory employees because their employee status is expressly defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

So, let’s get started with our first in a weekly series of CPP-related exam questions:

Q: Which of the following workers would be considered a statutory employee?

  1. A full-time life insurance salesperson
  2. A real estate agent
  3. An accountant
  4. A worker from a temporary agency

More to come each week. 

The Checkpoint payroll editorial team will provide the answer to this question next week with more information on statutory employees, specifically where users can find Checkpoint payroll coverage of the topic in Payroll Guide, and a new question to consider.

Want more information now? Find more information on payroll topics on Checkpoint Edge today.

More answers