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Sales tax after importing your QuickBooks Desktop file into QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks7Updated December 22, 2022

You may notice some differences in Sales Tax after importing your QuickBooks Desktop company file into QuickBooks Online.

Difference: Your Accounts Payable (A/P) and/or Accounts Receivable (A/R) account balances are different.

  • When you filed sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop, a general journal was created with amounts against A/P (in the case of a tax amount owing) and A/R (in the case of a refund).   Paying the bill or receiving the payment closed the journal.
  • In QuickBooks Online, instead of using A/P or A/R, QuickBooks Online creates a new suspense account that retains amounts owed/owing to tax agencies.
  • If you have completed a filing but have not yet made or received a payment for that filing before you moved to QuickBooks Online, the amounts will be moved from the A/P or A/R accounts in QuickBooks Desktop to this new suspense account in QuickBooks Online.

Difference:  You can’t find your existing sales tax payments or refunds (that would have appeared in the bill payments window in QuickBooks Desktop).

  • QuickBooks Online manages these payments and refunds in the Sales Tax Centre.
  • Go to Taxes and select Sales tax (Take me there) to view your payments and refunds in QuickBooks Online.

Difference: Your existing filing PDFs in QuickBooks Desktop don't show up in QuickBooks Online.

  • Existing filing records are not retained.  It's a good idea to print or save copies for your PDFs from QuickBooks Desktop before moving to QuickBooks Online.
  • Any new tax filings completed in QuickBooks Online will be stored as usual.

Difference: You used to file with your tax agency on a bi-monthly schedule, but it now shows up as monthly in QuickBooks Online.

  • QuickBooks Online doesn't offer a bimonthly filing frequency schedule, and therefore defaults to monthly.
  • Go to Taxes and select Sales tax (Take me there) to change these details in QuickBooks Online.

Difference: The liability accounts you used to track sales tax in QuickBooks Desktop have different balances in QuickBooks Online.

  • If you tracked your tax on sales to a different liability account than your purchase account in QuickBooks Desktop, you'll see a difference in QuickBooks Online.
  • Transactions that had tax that tracked to GST Payable Purchases in QuickBooks Desktop will track to GST/HST Payable in QuickBooks Online.
  • You'll also see a difference in your chart of accounts, but the two accounts will balance when taken together, and your tax reports will be correct.

Difference: You see new expense accounts for some of your tax agencies.

  • If you had tax agencies that did not track tax on purchases separately to an account, a new expense account will be created and used in QuickBooks Online.
  • In QuickBooks Desktop, all the expenses associated with purchase transactions were rolled up into the expense account on the respective purchase line item.
  • After these transactions are imported into QuickBooks Online, they will look different, but your sales tax balances will be correct.
  • New transactions created in QuickBooks Online will now track this expense tax to the newly created expense account.

Difference: You didn’t track tax on sales, or you tracked the tax to an income account, and it now tracks to a liability account.


  • QuickBooks Online doesn't support tracking tax on sales as an income.
  • Instead, tax amounts track to a newly created liability account.

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