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Get started with QuickBooks Online Payroll

by Intuit Updated 3 weeks ago

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 team. Here’s a handy guide and videos to help you get set up.

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 Settings gear icon. and select Subscriptions and billing.
  2. The name of your payroll plan is in the second box.

For a better experience, open this article in QuickBooks Online. Launch side-by-side view Open this link in a new window

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.

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 Set up tasks below. 

Set up tasks

The remaining setup tasks are bucketed into 3 sections: Get ready to pay your team, Let’s handle your taxes, Take care of your team. 

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

  1. You can invite your employees to add some of their own info through QuickBooks Workforce.
  2. If you’ve used ADP, Paychex, or Gusto to pay your employees this year, you can import some of your employee info.

Here's the info needed to add your employees:

  • Completed Form W-4 and any state equivalent forms if applicable
  • Hire date
  • Birth date
  • Pay rate
  • Any paycheck deductions such as contributions to insurance, retirement, or wage garnishments
  • Bank account or pay card info 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:

How to add an employee to your payroll

In this task, you’ll add your federal, state, and local payroll tax info. 

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • State Withholding and/or Unemployment account numbers. 
  • Local tax withholding account numbers (if applicable)
  • Federal, state, or local tax deposit frequencies: how often you are required by the IRS, state, or local tax agency to pay your taxes
  • State tax rates: Unemployment, surcharges, state disability, paid family leave, etc.

Where can I find this info?

  • Letters from the IRS, state, or local tax agencies.
  • Prior tax reports or filings. 
  • If you’re new and need to register for your account numbers, select the Get your account number link in this task. CorpNet will help you complete your employer tax registration.  Fees apply.
  • Contact the IRS, state, or local tax agency.

Check out this video to learn how to add your payroll tax info:

How to add your payroll tax info to QuickBooks Online Payroll

Note:  If you run any payroll before this section is complete, you’ll need to make any tax payments or filing forms that come due.  You won’t be able to do this from QuickBooks.

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.

The information you’ll need:

  • Principal officer’s name, home address, Social Security number, and birth date (this is the authorized signer on the payroll bank account)
  • Your business bank account online User ID and password, or the routing and account number of the account you want to use for your direct deposits and payroll taxes. (We know entering this data may be scary. Read about the multiple layers of security we use to keep your data safe)

Check out this video to learn how to connect your bank for payroll:

How to connect your bank to QuickBooks Online Payroll

In this task, you'll enter year-to-date paycheck info for each employee you paid this year. We'll use this info to accurately report wages and taxes on W-2s and other payroll tax forms.

Note: If you're coming from ADP, Gusto, or Paychex, learn how to import your employees and pay history into QuickBooks Online Payroll.

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 paycheck date in the current quarter

Check out this video to see how to enter your payroll history:

PlayArrowCropped.png How to set up QuickBooks Online Payroll when you already paid employees this year

In this task, tell us how you want to handle your payroll tax payments and filings. Your options are:

  • I want QuickBooks to automatically pay and file my taxes (this is the default)
  • I’ll initiate payments and filings using QuickBooks (e-pay and e-file)
  • I’ll pay and file the right agencies through their website or by mail (manual)

Select Change payment and filing preference to change your option.

Note: Automatic local tax payment and filing isn’t available if you have QuickBooks Online Payroll Core. If you want your local taxes handled by us automatically, upgrade your payroll service to QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium or Elite.

Check out this video for help:

How to set up tax payments and filings in QuickBooks Online Payroll

In this task, you’ll:

  1. Review and confirm the payroll taxes you’ve already paid this year. This info is calculated from the pay history you entered in QuickBooks. 
  2. Tell us how you want your taxes and forms handled in QuickBooks.
    • Have us pay and file automatically for you
    • You can electronically pay and file through QuickBooks
    • You pay and file to the agencies yourself (manually)
  3. Your principal officer will electronically sign payroll authorization forms. 

Info you’ll need:

  • Your payroll tax liability reports, or receipts of tax payments you made this year
  • Your principal officer to answer questions and electronically sign the forms

Check out these videos to help:

How to add previous payroll tax payments to QuickBooks Online Payroll

How to set up tax payments and filings in QuickBooks Online Payroll

In this section you can explore Workers’ comp policies, 401(k) plans, or health plans.  We partner with providers to offer you these great services and they integrate with your payroll. 

QuickBooks Online Payroll CoreQuickBooks Online Payroll EliteQuickBooks Online Payroll Premium

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