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Source Consulting
Level 3

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

I cannot easily find where copies of prior filed payroll tax returns/W2's are so I can print from within QuickBooks Accountant version 2020. A client sent me a backup file which I restored. His prior accountant ran payroll through QB's.  I am trying to find the payroll tax returns & W2's from 2020 and print copies of them. I can print copies of e-filing confirmations (state only) but no forms are available under the payroll center. I searched help and they suggested this:

 

 Go to the "left panel taxes menu" and then in the "forms" section tap "view and print archived forms under quarterly forms".

 

This sounds great but, dumb question... where is the left panel taxes menu? This does not exist in my software at least that I can see. Am I not looking in the right place? I am getting completely frustrated and have now wasted over an hour trying to print these forms. Help.

Solved
Best answer September 13, 2021

Best Answers
BigRedConsulting
Community Champion

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

@Source Consulting 

Based on your detailed description of what you're seeing, you have sort of gotten caught in a crack in the design of the payroll system...

 

RE: A. ...client’s CPA who retired and is no longer available to send another backup...

If you don't have the files / if they were not included in the backup, then you will need to get them from the client or from someone with access to his/her computer. Or try to do it yourself.

 

RE: B. Are you saying these forms will by default not be available in the QB program and stored in a file folder somewhere else on the computer of only the person who ran PR. And this folder will not be moved when a backup is done?

No, not at all. These forms and other files are stored in a folder under the folder where the QB company file exits. In a multi user scenario, anyone with access to the company file and to payroll within it will see them within QuickBooks.

 

It is true that the folder within the backup is not restored to the same location and so when restoring a file on a different computer, you won't see the saved tax forms. This is also true for file attachments, for logos and signature images, and perhaps other adjunct files as well. When a file is restored, QuickBooks creates a folder along-side the file named Restored_[Company File name]_Files, and within it a file named HowToRestoreExternalFiles.txt to explain this and how to re-associate the files with the restored file. It's not easy, exactly, or automatic. Intuit could do much better.

 

RE: C. I did download the payroll update, still no payroll tax forms show up in the list so I can select one to create which is why that button is grayed out.

 

Based on your prior descriptions of what happened, this is because the client's payroll subscription has expired. While the update downloaded, it wasn't actually installed because there is no active subscription. Since you don't have an Enhanced for Accountant's payroll subscription, and the client's is expired, you can't get a current set of payroll form files (to create new tax forms) or tax tables from Intuit.

 

When I suggested you do this step, I didn't know the client's subscription had expired. Getting updates and creating a form was just a shortcut to have QB auto-create the forms folder. It's not actually required.

 

D. Yes, the clients subscription lapsed because I told them to switch to Paychex starting in 2nd quarter 2021. But why should this effect my pulling up 2020 forms that were filed during their paid-for subscription period?

 

It doesn't, technically. The client should still able to access the forms, if they saved them. By design, if you cancel your payroll subscription, you can still access all of your payroll data and forms.

 

If the forms were included in the backup, you could open them from your hard drive directly or, if you put them in the correct location, from within QuickBooks. But, as you've noted, they were not included in the backup.

The only reason I know of that this would happen is if the client:

- defeated the feature to save a local copy of the forms.

- renamed or moved the company file before it was backed up, leaving all of the adjunct files behind.

- deleted the files as they didn't seem important.

I previously suggested that if the client didn't have an active subscription the files might also not be backed up, but I've been unable to test that because I don't have a file with an expired subscription.

 

RE: In 20 years of using QB I have never experienced anything this difficult and frustrating. And while I appreciate everyone’s replies, I am on day 3 with no resolution.

 

I can see how this is a mess for you.  However, you've fallen through the cracks. Sort of like a perfect storm because the files aren't in the backup (reason unknown.)  If they had been, then this could have been resolved quickly by simply opening them from your hard drive (they're just PDF files...)

 

You don't have the files, so no amount of calling support will get them for you. The only things I can think or are to get someone to find the files on the client's computer, or to do that yourself. If they don't exist (deleted, not saved, whatever) then the only recourse is to find printed copies of them at the client's location.

 

 

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11 Comments 11
MadelynC
Moderator

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

Hello there, @Source Consulting.

 

I appreciate you for reaching out to the Community. I’ve seen that you’ve posted twice. My colleague MichelleBh is already addressed your concern, so you’ll be able to print these forms. You can visit this link to view her recommendation: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/learn-support/en-us/account-management/re-where-can-we-find-the-941-re....

 

Feel free to visit our Support page if you need more tips, resources, and video tutorials. It contains information to help you manage your company files.

 

Don’t hold back to add a comment below if you need further assistance about payroll. I’m here to help.

BigRedConsulting
Community Champion

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

@Source Consulting 

The instructions you found are for QuickBooks Online.

 

For Desktop, you're not seeing the forms because the file was backed up and restored in a different location.  The saved form files are not actually part of the company file, though they are backed up with the file. However, and when restoring a file, they are put in a place that isn't accessible to you from within QuickBooks.

 

- The tax forms are normally stored in a folder within the folder where the company file is saved. Its name will be the filename of your file - less the extension - appended with "Tax Form History". So, if the filename is "MyCompany.QBW" then the folder name will be "MyCompany Tax Form History"

 

- Using the same file name as an example, the restored forms will be in a folder under your files' folder, and named Restored_MyCompany_Files\PDF_Tax_Forms\

 

To fix this / to get access to the files from within QuickBooks, follow these steps:

 

1 - From within QuickBooks with the file open, create and print a payroll tax form. It doesn't matter which one. This will automatically create the folder that holds the tax forms, like "MyCompany Tax Form History" above.

 

2 - Locate and then copy the entire contents of the \PDF_Tax_Forms\ folder (but not the folder itself) and paste the files in the new "MyCompany Tax Form History" folder. (If prompted, replace any files in the destination folder.)

 

3 - In QuickBooks close the payroll center if it's open, then open it again.

Source Consulting
Level 3

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

Thanks. I did what your colleague suggested. NO forms are showing up only copies of efiling confirmations. This does not help me. I really do not want to have to call the client and have them scan copies of these tax returns. This is ridiculous I just paid almost $500 to upgrade to this?

Source Consulting
Level 3

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY AND WORK AROUND. UNFORTUNATELY IT'S NOT WORKING FOR ME. SEE MY REPLIES IN CAPS.

 

- The tax forms are normally stored in a folder within the folder where the company file is saved. Its name will be the filename of your file - less the extension - appended with "Tax Form History". So, if the filename is "MyCompany.QBW" then the folder name will be "MyCompany Tax Form History" THERE IS NO FOLDER WITH THIS NAME IN THE FOLDER FROM WHERE THE COMPANY FILE IS SAVED.

 

- Using the same file name as an example, the restored forms will be in a folder under your files' folder, and named Restored_MyCompany_Files\PDF_Tax_Forms\ THIS DOES NOT EXIST WHERE MY COMPANY FILE IS STORED. THERE IS A RESTORED FILES FOLDER WITH LETTERS/TEMPLATES/PRINTER SETTINGS ETC AND A QBW SEARCH INDEX FOLDER BUT NO PDF TAX FORMS FOLDER.

 

 

To fix this / to get access to the files from within QuickBooks, follow these steps:

 

1 - From within QuickBooks with the file open, create and print a payroll tax form. It doesn't matter which one. This will automatically create the folder that holds the tax forms, like "MyCompany Tax Form History" above. THIS OPTION IS GRAYED OUT. SEE SCREENSHOT. UNLESS I AM GOING TO THE WRONG PLACE TO PRINT A PAYROLL TAX FORM? IF I AM CAN YOU GIVE ME THE STEP BY STEP LIKE I AM A DUMMY TO DO CREATE AND PRINT A PAYROLL TAX FORM? THANKS. ALTHOUGH I THINK I AM STILL GOING TO HAVE AN ISSUE EVEN IF I DO THIS AS I DO NOT HAVE THE PDF TAX FOLDER SHOWING UP ON MY COMPUTER.

 

2 - Locate and then copy the entire contents of the \PDF_Tax_Forms\ folder (but not the folder itself) and paste the files in the new "MyCompany Tax Form History" folder. (If prompted, replace any files in the destination folder.) I save the company file under my clients own folder on my computer. AGAIN, THERE IS NO PDF TAX FORMS FOLDER WHERE MY CLIENT'S COMPANY FILE IS SAVED. I ALWAYS RESTORE CLIENT QB COMPANY FILES TO CLIENT FOLDERS (NOT THE DEFAULT QUICKBOOKS FOLDER QUICKBOOKS CREATES WITHIN PROGRAM FILES OR USER FILES ETC). 

 

BOTTOM LINE. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THIS DIFFICULT. I AM GOING ON 2 DAYS NOW TRYING TO PRINT 2020 PAYROLL TAX RETURNS AND W2'S SO I CAN FINISH THIS CLIENT'S ACCOUNTING. I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO ASK THE CLIENT TO SCAN AND EMAIL THEM TO ME. THIS SEEMS COMPLETELY REDICULOUS. AM I AN IDIOT OR DOES THIS SEEM OVERLY COMPLICATED TO SIMPLY PRINT A FORM THAT WAS FILED USING QUICKBOOKS? I DONT HAVE THIS ISSUE WITH MY PAYCHEX CLIENTS. I GO TO PAYCHEX, SELECT REPORTS AND CAN PRINT ANY PAYROLL TAX RETURN OR W2 EVER FILED. 

MichelleBh
Moderator

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

I'll be there to help you every step of the way to get these payroll tax forms resolved quickly, Source Consulting.

 

I appreciate all the steps you've taken so far and for attaching a screenshot of your reply. Let me address your concern one at a time. This way, you can print the payroll tax forms in QuickBooks Desktop Accountant hastily. 

 

The file name may be changed or renamed for your folder. That's why you're unable to see the folder on your computer. With this, I'd recommend reviewing your QuickBooks or Accountant's copy folder one after another. 

 

If you already see the appropriate folder, you can now create and print a payroll tax form. 

 

In regards to the Create Form button is grayed out, ensure that there are forms in the list. You can also follow the steps below to resolve the problem.

  1. Go to the Employees menu, then select Employee Center and click Payroll
  2. Click the Forms drop-down arrow and choose the Make a New Form Active tab. 
  3. Pick the appropriate forms, and click Add Form
  4. The Create Form is now clickable. 

 

If the issue keeps going after following the instructions above, I'd suggest contacting our technical support. They have the tools to make a screen share with your account and send a ticket to our engineers for investigation.

 

Here's how: 

  1. Go to this QBDT help link. 
  2. Select your product and click Continue
  3. Enter your concern in the box and tap Continue
  4. Choose either Chat with us or Have us call you.  
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.

 

Ensure to check our support hours to know their availability.

 

Check out these articles to know the different QuickBooks file extensions and manage your tax preparation, reports, forms, and more.

 

 

Please know that you can always ask about any topics or other processes within QuickBooks. I welcome the opportunity to respond immediately. Stay safe and fit.

Source Consulting
Level 3

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

I can't do what you suggested. There are no forms showing up available to file and I cannot make one active.  I keep getting an error popping up saying I need to download and install the latest payroll update any time I click on employee center or try to perform any of the solutions offered. After I do the update I get another error message about the subscription see attached screen shot.

 

Why on earth does the client's subscription matter if all I am trying to do is print PRIOR PERIOD FILED QUARTERLY TAX FORMS? I hope I do not have to pay for a payroll subscription to simply VIEW clients filed forms who happened to use Quickbooks to run their payroll?  I no longer process payroll for clients so I just NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE FORMS THEY FILED. I can't believe I am the only Accountant who operates this way? I do not have this issue with Paychex, TJH, Gusto or Square or any other payroll service my other clients use. NEVER has this happened. If I need a copy of a filed tax form or W2 from any time period that they paid for, I sign on, print and I'm done. WHY IS THIS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO DO WITH ACCOUNTANTS DESKTOP VERSION 2020? Am I crazy, but this seems like a simple request that has become this impossible and aggravating time wasting mission. I AM SORRY I AM DRAGGING THIS OUT BUT THIS IS DAY 2 AND I STILL DO NOT HAVE COPIES OF THE QUARTERLY TAX FORMS I NEED TO FINISH THIS CLIENT'S WORK AND TAX RETURN. I could have had my client scan every single quarterly return and W2 and email it to me in the time I have wasted trying to find it from within my brand new copy of 2020 Accountant's Desktop I just paid for this week. I am beyond frustrated. 

 

Also, I am not using the Accountant's copy, it is a regular backup file my client sent to me that I restored to my computer. I have searched every folder on my computer and there is no Quickbooks "PDF" folder to be found. Why I should have to do this, again, is unacceptable for a $600 piece of software.

Giovann_G
Moderator

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

Hi, Source Consulting.

 

I know this isn't been easy for you. As I've checked, I can see that you've posted the same concern. My colleague

MaryLandT is already posted information to addressed your concern, so you can print the tax form. Feel free to check out this link to view her suggestion: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/learn-support/en-us/account-management/re-where-can-we-find-the-941-re....

 

In addition, you can visit our Process payroll page to help you manage and complete other tasks in QuickBooks Desktop.

 

You're always welcome to reply to this post if you need further assistance with the payroll forms. We're always here to help you. Stay safe!

BigRedConsulting
Community Champion

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

@Source Consulting 

Please do not use all caps. It is considered yelling. I will not reply again to yelling.

 

RE: "MyCompany Tax Form History" THERE IS NO FOLDER WITH THIS NAME IN THE FOLDER FROM WHERE THE COMPANY FILE IS SAVED.

 

Yes, I know. That is because you have not created a tax form.

 

RE: Restored_MyCompany_Files\PDF_Tax_Forms\ THIS DOES NOT EXIST WHERE MY COMPANY FILE IS STORED. THERE IS A RESTORED FILES FOLDER WITH LETTERS/TEMPLATES/PRINTER SETTINGS ETC AND A QBW SEARCH INDEX FOLDER BUT NO PDF TAX FORMS FOLDER.

 

Then I think that means there were no PDF form files found when the user backed up their file. In the same exact file on the user's computer, the one they backed up, does the user see forms in the payroll center (where you don't?) I would think not. If they do, then if they create a new backup from the File menu and send it and then you restore it, you should see the folder.

 

RE: 1 - From within QuickBooks with the file open, create and print a payroll tax form. It doesn't matter which one. This will automatically create the folder that holds the tax forms, like "MyCompany Tax Form History" above. THIS OPTION IS GRAYED OUT. SEE SCREENSHOT.

 

Yes, the button is greyed out when you have not selected a tax form.  There are no forms listed in your screenshot with suggests you haven't received payroll updates - which include the forms - on this computer using this version of QuickBooks. If that's the case, get payroll updates from the Employees menu and then restart QuickBooks and you should see forms in the list. Or, you have received payroll updates there may be no active forms because someone removed them all from the list. If that's the case, click the Forms button and then the option to manually add a form.

 

RE: BOTTOM LINE. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THIS DIFFICULT. I AM GOING ON 2 DAYS NOW TRYING TO PRINT 2020 PAYROLL TAX RETURNS AND W2'S SO I CAN FINISH THIS CLIENT'S ACCOUNTING. I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO ASK THE CLIENT TO SCAN AND EMAIL THEM TO ME. THIS SEEMS COMPLETELY REDICULOUS.

 

Well, as it stands after restoring a backup on a different computer, by default the saved tax forms aren't available from within QuickBooks. However, following the steps I sent will bring them back. Except for some reason when you restored the backup file the \Restored_MyCompany_Files\PDF_Tax_Forms\ folder was not created.

 

In turn, the only reason I know that it won't get created is if there are no saved forms found during the backup process on the client's machine.

 

Assuming the user does have saved forms - they can see them in the payroll center - then they don't need to print them, but instead can send you the PDF file from their computer, which they can access from the Payroll center.

 

Note that saving forms is an option, which is enabled by default for each form, but which the user can defeat by de-selecting the little box on the bottom of the form labeled "Automatically create an archive when I e-file or print."

BigRedConsulting
Community Champion

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

@Source Consulting 

RE: I keep getting an error popping up saying I need to download and install the latest payroll update any time I click on employee center or try to perform any of the solutions offered. After I do the update I get another error message about the subscription see attached screen shot.

 

The message means your customer's payroll subscription has lapsed.

 

That could be why the tax forms were not included in the backup, but I have no way to test that.  It does mean you won't be able to get payroll updates on your computer using the client's file, unless you also have an Enhanced for Accountant's payroll subscription.

 

RE: I no longer process payroll for clients so I just NEED TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE FORMS THEY FILED. I can't believe I am the only Accountant who operates this way? 

 

For whatever reason, this doesn't come up much. But, as noted, backing up and restoring a company file on another machine does create this effect in a company file.

 

Here are two possible solutions:

- Assuming the user does have a history of the forms on their computer seen in the payroll center (where you don't see them):  Have them create a backup from the File menu in QuickBooks and send it to you. Then restore it again and see if the \Restored_[Company file name]_Files\PDF_Tax_Forms\ folder is created as detailed on my previous post.

 

- If that doesn't work, have then locate the tax form folder on their computer, named \[Company file name] Tax Form History\" and send you the entire contents of the folder, likely as a ZIP file. You can then open the ZIP file and access the forms directly.  They have rather cryptic file names, but you can work it out.

Source Consulting
Level 3

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

Thank you for the replies and attempts to get this resolved. Sorry for the CAPs. I thought it the easiest way to see my reply to your suggestions.

 

Here are the issues I am having,

 

A. The backup file I received is from the client’s CPA who retired and is no longer available to send another backup or ask him for some random file folder on his computer.

 

B. My firm does not subscribe to the payroll service as I do not run payroll for clients through QB’s. I use Paychex, Square, Gusto, ADP or TJH and have zero issues printing copies of prior period tax forms or W2/W3. They are magically there, within the program. Are you saying these forms will by default not be available in the QB program and stored in a file folder somewhere else on the computer of only the person who ran PR. And this folder will not be moved when a backup is done?

 

C. I did download the payroll update, still no payroll tax forms show up in the list so I can select one to create which is why that button is grayed out. I even tried the make a form active again option. I tried to manually add them. Same problem. I get the “update” error message again even after I have downloaded it.

 

D. Yes, the clients subscription lapsed because I told them to switch to Paychex starting in 2nd quarter 2021. But why should this effect my pulling up 2020 forms that were filed during their paid-for subscription period? Makes no sense unless QB blocks access to everything (even forms you paid for) should you choose to discontinue service? If that is the case I am glad I do not ever recommend them to my clients for payroll. 

Bottom line. In 20 years of using QB I have never experienced anything this difficult and frustrating. And while I appreciate everyone’s replies, I am on day 3 with no resolution.

 

I am now going to have to waste more time and call tech support. This is beyond ridiculous for any accountant to have to go through to simply print prior period tax forms filed using QB software.

 

BigRedConsulting
Community Champion

How do I print copies of prior period payroll tax returns and W2s filed using Quickbooks?

@Source Consulting 

Based on your detailed description of what you're seeing, you have sort of gotten caught in a crack in the design of the payroll system...

 

RE: A. ...client’s CPA who retired and is no longer available to send another backup...

If you don't have the files / if they were not included in the backup, then you will need to get them from the client or from someone with access to his/her computer. Or try to do it yourself.

 

RE: B. Are you saying these forms will by default not be available in the QB program and stored in a file folder somewhere else on the computer of only the person who ran PR. And this folder will not be moved when a backup is done?

No, not at all. These forms and other files are stored in a folder under the folder where the QB company file exits. In a multi user scenario, anyone with access to the company file and to payroll within it will see them within QuickBooks.

 

It is true that the folder within the backup is not restored to the same location and so when restoring a file on a different computer, you won't see the saved tax forms. This is also true for file attachments, for logos and signature images, and perhaps other adjunct files as well. When a file is restored, QuickBooks creates a folder along-side the file named Restored_[Company File name]_Files, and within it a file named HowToRestoreExternalFiles.txt to explain this and how to re-associate the files with the restored file. It's not easy, exactly, or automatic. Intuit could do much better.

 

RE: C. I did download the payroll update, still no payroll tax forms show up in the list so I can select one to create which is why that button is grayed out.

 

Based on your prior descriptions of what happened, this is because the client's payroll subscription has expired. While the update downloaded, it wasn't actually installed because there is no active subscription. Since you don't have an Enhanced for Accountant's payroll subscription, and the client's is expired, you can't get a current set of payroll form files (to create new tax forms) or tax tables from Intuit.

 

When I suggested you do this step, I didn't know the client's subscription had expired. Getting updates and creating a form was just a shortcut to have QB auto-create the forms folder. It's not actually required.

 

D. Yes, the clients subscription lapsed because I told them to switch to Paychex starting in 2nd quarter 2021. But why should this effect my pulling up 2020 forms that were filed during their paid-for subscription period?

 

It doesn't, technically. The client should still able to access the forms, if they saved them. By design, if you cancel your payroll subscription, you can still access all of your payroll data and forms.

 

If the forms were included in the backup, you could open them from your hard drive directly or, if you put them in the correct location, from within QuickBooks. But, as you've noted, they were not included in the backup.

The only reason I know of that this would happen is if the client:

- defeated the feature to save a local copy of the forms.

- renamed or moved the company file before it was backed up, leaving all of the adjunct files behind.

- deleted the files as they didn't seem important.

I previously suggested that if the client didn't have an active subscription the files might also not be backed up, but I've been unable to test that because I don't have a file with an expired subscription.

 

RE: In 20 years of using QB I have never experienced anything this difficult and frustrating. And while I appreciate everyone’s replies, I am on day 3 with no resolution.

 

I can see how this is a mess for you.  However, you've fallen through the cracks. Sort of like a perfect storm because the files aren't in the backup (reason unknown.)  If they had been, then this could have been resolved quickly by simply opening them from your hard drive (they're just PDF files...)

 

You don't have the files, so no amount of calling support will get them for you. The only things I can think or are to get someone to find the files on the client's computer, or to do that yourself. If they don't exist (deleted, not saved, whatever) then the only recourse is to find printed copies of them at the client's location.

 

 

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