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Enter historical payroll data

Learn how to enter historical payroll data in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.

In QuickBooks Desktop Payroll you can enter paychecks that you have issued the year before using the payroll service. The data you enter ensures correct year-to-date totals on the paychecks you write for the rest of the year.

We explain how to enter historical data below.

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Assisted users: Please contact us if you need to enter YTD adjustments in QuickBooks Desktop.

Enter historical payroll data using the Payroll Setup window

If you are trying to enter year-to-date amounts for the current year, you can use the Payroll Setup window.

  1. Access the Payroll Setup Interview.
  2. Proceed to step 5: Year-to-Date Payrolls.
  3. Select Continue.
  4. If your company has issued paychecks this year, choose Yes and select Continue. If there was no payroll or payroll was done with Pay Employees in QuickBooks Desktop, choose No.
  5. On the next screen, you have three choices: Paychecks, Tax Payments, and Non-Tax Payments. Select Edit on Paychecks.
    (If you need to enter historical tax payments, see Enter historical tax payments in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.)
  6. In the Enter Paychecks by Employee window: (You can select Show Steps to display the step-by-step guide.)
    1. Choose the name of the employee whose past paychecks you want to enter.
    2. Select Customize Columns to add, move, or rearrange columns for easier data entry.
    3. Choose the appropriate month to expand rows. Start entering paychecks for the selected employee.
      • For the check date, enter the date that's on the paycheck, not the pay period date.
      • The information is saved as you enter it.
      • For closed quarters:
        • 941 filers only: you can enter the history by quarter, by month, or as a summary paycheck also called a fat check . A fat check summarizes the paychecks issued to an employee. This method is especially useful if you need to enter paychecks for multiple past quarters.
        • 944 filers: you can't use the fat check method since the paycheck history would need to be entered monthly; however, follow the same tax deposit frequency as 941 filers.
      • Current quarter data must be entered per paycheck for the Federal Quarterly 941  Form to print correctly.
      • If you get the error message Paycheck cannot be saved, make sure that the YTD payroll amounts that you are trying to enter have a check date and earnings amount because QuickBooks will not allow you to create a negative paycheck.
        Paycheck cannot be saved alert message in QuickBooks
    4. Select Done Entering Paychecks if you have completed entering the information for all employees. Select Finish Later if you want to complete the process at a later time.
      • Select View Reports to see information about the year-to-date paychecks you've entered so far.
  7. Select Finish Later to close the QuickBooks Payroll Setup window.

Enter historical payroll data outside the Payroll Setup window

When entering the date for Earliest QuickBooks Payroll Date, the date you enter must fall after the date for the last YTD pay period that you are going to enter into QuickBooks. For example, if you enter 6/30/2008 for Earliest QuickBooks Payroll Date, you won't be able to enter in YTD entries that are dated after 6/30/2008. This doesn't apply to entering historical payroll through payroll setup.

  1. To access the Setup YTD Amount Window:
    • From the Help menu, choose About QuickBooks. Press Ctrl + Alt + Y, or Ctrl + Shift + Y to open the Setup YTD Amount Window.
  2. In the Set Up YTD Amounts window, follow the next procedure to complete entry of YTDs and tax payments.
  3. See which documents you'll need to enter YTD history for, and select Next.
    Set up YTD amounts in QuickBooks Payroll setup
  4. When prompted to enter the date you want your YTD entries to affect accounts, enter your estimated first payroll date in both boxes, and select Next.
    When should YTD summarizes affect accounts window in QuickBooks Payroll setup
  5. Enter your estimated first payroll date, and select Next.
  6. This will need to be adjusted to a later date if you have trouble entering current quarter YTDs.
    Earliest QuickBooks payroll date window
  7. Enter your YTD summaries per employee.
    1. Choose an employee on the list and select Enter Summary button to open the YTD Adjustment window.
      Set up YTD accounts in QuickBooks Payroll setup
    2. YTDs for prior years are entered as lump sums per employee and current quarter YTDs are entered per payroll per employee.
    3. Adjust the dates in the top right accordingly.
      YTD adjustment for employee earnings in QuickBooks Payroll setup
    4. Enter wage information into the Earnings Items box.
      User-added image
    5. Enter amounts for additions, deductions, company contributions, and tax deductions into the Other Employee and Company Payroll Items box.
      Enter wage information in QuickBooks Payroll setup
    6. Select Show Wage Bases to add a column to display the amount of taxable income next to each payroll item in the Other Employee and Company Payroll Items box.
      Other employee and company payroll items in QuickBooks Payroll setup
      Show wage bases in QuickBooks Payroll setup
    7. The Accounts Affected button displays options for how you want this YTD adjustment to affect your Chart of Accounts (COA).
      img class="alignnone" src="" alt="Affect liability expense and bank accounts in QuickBooks Payroll setup" width="550" height="397" />
      • Do not affect accounts: Use this option if your QuickBooks accounts have correct balances. Selecting this option will cause the Year To Date adjustment to not show up in the bank register.
      • Affect liability and expense accounts but not the bank account: Use this option if your checking account has the correct balance. Selecting this option will cause the Year To Date adjustment to not show up in the bank register.
      • Affect liability, expense, and bank accounts: Use this option if none of the account balances are correct. Selecting this option will cause the Year To Date adjustment to show up in the bank register.
    8. After you have completed your first entry, continue to the next entry by selecting the Next Period button. Continue this process until you have completed all employees, and then select OK to save your work.
    9. Repeat this process for each employee. If the Pay Period Summary does not appear, please change your First Payroll Date on the screen before to a later date. Then try again.
  8. When you have completed all YTD entries, select Next to close the Employee Summary Information window.
  9. If you need to enter payments that you've already made for taxes and other payroll liabilities from the beginning of the calendar year, refer with Enter historical tax payments in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.
  10. Select Finish to close the window.

YTD adjustments can only be increased. You can't decrease the YTD amounts by entering a negative amount. If you need to decrease the amount, make the corrections on the next paycheck.

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