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Level 2

How do I zero out a garnishment liability account from an outside payroll source doing payroll?

I did the payroll in house for my previous company for 3 years so I am very familiar with how the payroll process and garnishments work if I am doing them myself through QuickBooks, but I am finding myself at a loss when it comes to having another Company do our payroll and who is responsible for the Garnishment Check being sent. ( I assume it is our responsibility since we are the ones still writing our checks to our employees, not the outside payroll source)



1) Paychex gives me the net amounts over the phone from the hours our employees have worked, and I write the checks myself in house to be distributed to employees.

2) One employee has a child support garnishment, which I also write and distribute to the agency.

3) I enter the taxes deducted from our checking by Paychex, as a journal entry as I am supposed to, but this garnishment amount is not a part of these numbers, nor is it drawn out separately from Paychex for me to credit the liability account and this garnishment liability is NOT showing up on the P&L as it is not supposed to as well (I know this is a balance sheet item) but I still cannot figure out how to zero out the account.


When I was doing payroll myself with QuickBooks Desktop, the liability account would zero out after every payment was made, via, I would enter payroll information, then pay from the liabilities tab. Super easy, absolutely loved it!


My question now, is, how can I zero out the account?, is there a different method I can use to enter the liability before I make the check without throwing off the checking register making it to where I cannot reconcile? I have not found anything within the Paychex withdrawls (because it was deducted from the employee directly) that matches the bank statements for end of the month reconciliation to zero out the account properly. If I credit the garnishment with the taxes, it then comes out a different number than what was deducted from our bank account, thus throwing off my reconciliation.


Any help or explanation would be greatly appreciated and I have QuickBooks Desktop Premier Contractor 2018 if that helps :)



1 Comment 1

How do I zero out a garnishment liability account from an outside payroll source doing payroll?

Hello there, prhiannonlanglois.


Thanks for such a detailed information. I'm here to help get this sorted out.


You can enter a prior payment in QuickBooks Desktop. I'd be happy to share with you the steps on how to do it:

  1. From the Help menu.
  2. Choose About QuickBooks.
  3. Press Ctrl + Alt + Y or Ctrl + Shift + Y to open the Setup YTD Amounts window.
  4. Select Next until you reach the Enter prior payments section.
  5. In the Enter Prior Payments window, select Create Payment to enter all prior payroll tax and non-tax payroll liability payments you have made during the current or previous years.
  6. Enter the Payment Date and For Period Ending date accordingly.
  7. n the Taxes and Liabilities field, choose the payroll tax item that you've already paid and want to record in QuickBooks Desktop. And enter the amount.
  8. Select the Accounts Affected... button. Choose Affect liability accounts but not the bank account option.
  9. Click Done, then Finish.

Choosing the Affect liability accounts but not the bank account option will allow you to reconcile your account.


For a complete instructions on entering prior payments, you can keep this article handy. 


Once you're ready to reconcile your accounts, you may want to check out this article: Reconcile in QuickBooks Desktop.


Should you need more help doing the whole process, feel free to get back to me and I'd be glad to assist you further.

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