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Level 1

Cash Bonus

Under the "Pay Employees With A Gift Card Or Cash Bonus In QuickBooks Desktop Payroll" instruction in the second part where we have:

To zero out the paycheck, but still record the wages and taxes, you can create an offset item:

  1. In the Other Payroll Items column, click the drop-down arrow and select Add New.
  2. Select Deduction, and click Next.
  3. In the Enter name for deduction window, type Net pay offset, and click Next.
  4. In the Agency for employee-paid liability window, change the Liability Account to the account affected when the gift certificate payment was entered into QuickBooks Desktop.

Under #4, what if it wasn't a gift card but cash, where does that get posted to? If I write a check for "CASH" to get the bonus money, and i expense it to payroll expense, what would step #4 be?

Thank you.

3 Comments 3

Cash Bonus

Thanks for posting here, @Lwcc,


The process is the same even if the bonus is in the form of cash. Just select the account where you want it to be posted in the Agency for employee-paid liability window. You can use the same account you have on the check to offset it.


I'll be adding these links to guide you further with bonus checks:

If you have any questions I'll be right here to help you. Just tag me here to I can get back to you. Have a good one!


Level 1

Cash Bonus

Hi Jen_D,

Thanks for helping me out, please excuse me as I'm about to show my lack of knowledge about QB. I have never posted or heard of the Agency for employee-paid liability and I'm not certain what categories there are to select from, hence my failure to understand what account to post back to. Would you please give some further clarification knowing that I'm writing a check for cash to get the funds for the bonus.

Thank you in advance.

QuickBooks Team

Cash Bonus

Thanks for the prompt reply, @Lwcc.


Allow me to share some insights about paying your employees with a cash bonus.


When your employee receives a cash bonus, you’ll need to record those amounts through a paycheck. That way, the amount will reflect on your tax filings.


As my colleague shared above, the process is the same for the cash bonus and gift card. Since you’re unsure of what categories to select and what account to use, I recommend reaching out to your accountant for further guidance. Your accountant can give you their expert advice on recording this properly.


This way, we can ensure your accounts are well accounted for. If you’re not affiliated with one, you can visit our ProAdvisor page and we’ll help you find one.


Additionally, you can also use a separate paycheck when recording your employees' bonuses in QuickBooks Desktop (QBDT). Let me show you how:


  1. Go to the Employees menu. 
  2. Select Pay Employees.
  3. Click Unscheduled Payroll from the list.
  4. Checkmark the name of the employee(s) you want to create a bonus check, then select the Open Paycheck Detail button.
  5. In the Earnings box of the Preview Paycheck window, select in the Item Name column to get a drop-down menu, select a bonus item.
  6. In the Rate column, enter the gross amount of the bonus.
  7. Adjust federal and/or state withholding taxes as needed.
  8. Select Save and Close when done.

You can also read through this article for more details: Pay A Bonus On Separate Paychecks In QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.


Furthermore, in case you need to print your paychecks, check out this link for your reference: Print your paychecks in QuickBooks Desktop.


If you have other concerns or questions about creating a bonus check or cash bonus in QuickBooks, feel free to tag me in your reply. I’m only a post away from you. Have a good one!

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