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Set up a prior payroll for QuickBooks Online Payroll

Learn how to enter pay info for employees in QuickBooks Online Payroll.

Add your employees to complete your payroll setup. If you already paid them in this calendar year, you also need to enter their past pay information. This is to make sure that everything is accurate for year-to-date (YTD) totals on your employees’ pay stubs going forward to report correct W-2 information at the end of the year.

You need to gather some data before we begin, but don't worry, we're here to help you through each step.

Step 1: Collect employee info

Gather employee W-4s, pay stubs, or other payroll reports to help you enter employee's details and what each employee has been paid so far this year. We recommend using employee pay stubs and reports that may have employee year to date amounts. Check out the reports needed for each employee you paid.

Step 2: Get started

  1. Select Payroll then Overview.
  2. You will see tasks you need to complete on your TO DO. When you're done adding your business info, it's time to tell us about your team. Select Let's go to start adding your employees.
  3. Enter your employees' info. After you complete questions 1-7, select Done. Select Add an employee to add the rest of your employees.
  4. Complete the onscreen steps 1-7. If your employee doesn't have any wages to enter this year, select Done and add additional employees as needed.

Step 3: Enter how much you paid the employee this year

Complete the following steps only if you have paid employees this year.

  1. Under Step 8, How much did you pay [employee] this year?, select +Enter [year] prior pay details.
  2. Answer 1-2 questions to select the time period the employee got paid. In Colorado, you may see additional questions.
  3. Depending on your answers, use the reports and pay stubs you gathered to enter how much you’ve paid your employee so far this year in the Year-to-date totals as of today column.
  4. Be sure to include all types of compensation, deductions, taxes, and company contributions including.
    1. Regular Wages - Total employee compensation (salary or hourly) in $ amount.
    2. Overtime Pay, Bonus Pay, etc - any additional employee compensation $ amount.
    3. Federal Income Tax - Also known as federal withholding or FIT.
    4. Social Security & Medicare - Both are known as FICA taxes.
    5. State Income Tax - Also known as state withholding or PIT/SIT.
    6. State Disability Insurance - This tax item only shows if the state has SDI.
    7. Net Pay - This is optional. You can leave it blank as it automatically calculates after you select Continue.
  5. If you're in quarters 2 - 4, enter the amounts you paid the employee for previous quarters in the Year-to-date totals as of [date] column.

Step 4: Repeat for all employees paid this year

Enter pay information for all employees paid in the current calendar year, including those that are no longer with your company.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Quarter 1:January 1 - March 31
  • Quarter 2: April 1 - June 30
  • Quarter 3: July 1 - September 30
  • Quarter 4: October 1 - December 31
  • No paychecks created yet:
    1. Go back to Payroll and select Finish adding your team.
    2. Select the employee.
    3. Scroll down and select Enter [current year] prior pay details.
  • Already have paychecks created: Contact us for assistance.
Yes. If they are paid on the current calendar year, you need to add them and their payroll information.

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