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Get started with QuickBooks Online Payroll

SOLVEDby QuickBooks120Updated January 08, 2024

Learn how to set up your new QuickBooks Online Payroll Core, Premium, or Elite payroll service.

You’ll need to complete a few tasks before you can pay your employees. Here’s a handy guide and videos to help you get set up.

In this article, you'll learn how to:

Idea Tip: If you're not sure which QuickBooks Online Payroll plan you have, sign in to your account. Then, refresh this page for personalized steps, or follow these steps if you're the primary admin:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Subscriptions and billing.
  2. The name of your payroll plan is in the second box.

Start your payroll setup

To launch the payroll setup:

  1. Sign in to your account as the primary admin.
  2. Go to Payroll, then select Overview (Take me there).

If you have QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite, you can opt to have one of our experts set up payroll with you, or do it for you. Check out the Expert setup section to call or schedule an appointment.

  1. Select Get started.
  2. Select if you (or someone else) paid employees in the current year.
  3. Select the date when you want to start paying your employees through QuickBooks.
  4. Enter your main business address.
    • Enter a physical address (not a PO Box). The work location determines your tax responsibilities.
    • If you have multiple work locations, you can add those later when you add your employees.
  5. Enter your main payroll contact info.
    • This is generally the person responsible for paying your employees. The payroll contact will get important payroll notifications from us, and may speak with our payroll experts about your payroll account.
  6. Select how you’ve run your payroll in the past.
    • Depending on your answer, you may be able to import employee and pay history info instead of entering it manually.
  7. Now you’ll start adding your employees. See Add your team below for details.
  8. If you haven’t paid any of your employees this year, you can opt to pay them now by paper check if needed. Or you can continue the setup and finish the remaining setup tasks. See Set up tasks below.

Note: If you opt to pay your employees now, you’re responsible for any payroll taxes due until you complete the payroll setup. If you have paid employees this year, you’ll have more tasks to complete before you can run payroll. See Complete your Payroll setup tasks below.

Complete your payroll setup tasks

We know it takes time to get your payroll information into QuickBooks, so setup is designed to allow you to add info at your convenience and save it as you go. 

The tasks can be completed in almost any order. There are a couple of additional tasks if you've already paid your employees this year.

To get to these tasks:

  1. Go to Payroll, then select Overview (Take me there).
  2. Select Start on the task you want to work on.

Add your team

You have a couple options to help add some of your employee info.  You’ll still need to add some info yourself. 

In this task, you’ll enter your employees’ info, and you can invite your employees to enter some of their own info through our free QuickBooks Workforce product. 

Here's the info needed to add your employees:

  • Completed Form TD1 and any provincial equivalent forms if applicable
  • Hire date
  • Birth date
  • Pay rate
  • Any paycheque deductions such as contributions to insurance, retirement, or loan repayments
  • Bank account for direct deposit (if applicable)
  • Sick, vacation, PTO accrual rates and balance (if applicable)

Check out these videos to learn how to add your employees:

Enter your tax info

In this task, you’ll add your federal and provincial payroll tax info. Here's the information you’ll need:

  • Business details like your Company legal name and Company legal address. This is the info you used when you applied for a business number with the CRA.
  • A CRA payroll number consisting of:
    • A nine-digit Business Number
    • A four-digit Reference Number
  • Forms used to calculate and submit your payroll taxes to the CRA (for example, Form PD7A)
  • How often you pay your employment taxes

Connect your bank

In this task, you’ll connect your payroll bank account so you can use direct deposit and we can pay and file your payroll taxes. You may be able to connect it instantly so you can use direct deposit right away. Here's the information you'll need:

  • Principal officer’s name, home address, Social Insurance number, and birth date. The principal officer is the authorized signer on the payroll bank account
  • Your Transit Number, Financial Institution Number, and the Chequing account number of the account you want to use for your direct deposits. Read about the multiple layers of security we use to keep your data safe.

Add your payroll history

In this task, you'll enter year-to-date paycheque info for each employee you paid this year. We'll use this info to accurately report wages and taxes on T4s and other payroll tax forms. Here's the information you'll need:

  • Pay stubs or payroll reports for each employee paid this calendar year
  • Payroll reports with company totals of wages and taxes for each paycheque date in the current quarter

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