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Understand the payroll setup interview in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll

Learn about the new payroll setup interview in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll to help you set up and run your first payroll.

Use the payroll setup interview to guide you through each step of setting up your employees, pay items, deductions, and payroll taxes so you can run your first payroll quickly.

Important:  You need to have an active QuickBooks payroll subscription to use the payroll setup interview.

Let's check out the sections in the setup interview.

Open the payroll setup interview

  1. Open QuickBooks Desktop.
  2. Select Employees, then Payroll Setup.

Add your employees

You’ll need to add some basic employee info to get started. Then you’ll have the option to invite your employees to add some things like their bank account info for direct deposit, their home address, and W-4 info. Or you can add it all yourself.

Note: Employee self-setup is not available for QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Assisted.

If you’ve already paid employees this year, be sure to add all employees paid, even if they no longer work for you.

Info you’ll need:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Hire date
  • E-mail address
  • Pay rate
  • How often you pay your employees (pay frequency)
  • Home address

Employee Dashboard

The employee dashboard shows you a full list of your employees along with a few statuses:

  • Status: make your employee active or inactive by toggling
  • Setup status: Easily see if you still need more info to set up your employee
  • Action: Select the drop down to edit your employee or send a reminder to your employee to provide their info.


Set up your company pay items, deductions and paid time off

In the Company section, you can select from a preset list of pay items, insurance benefits and retirement deductions, or you can set up custom items.

If you offer your employees paid vacation and/or sick time off, you can add those items here.

Batch assign to employees

Once you’ve selected or set up your payroll items and time off, you can use the Assign to employees button to apply the items to multiple employees at once.

Set up your taxes

In the Taxes section, you’ll need to provide some info to set up your Federal and state payroll taxes.

Info you’ll need:

  • The Federal form the IRS requires you to file (941, 944 or 943)
  • State Withholding and/or State Unemployment account number(s)
  • State Unemployment and tagalong tax rates

If you use QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Assisted, we’ll pay your Federal and state payroll taxes and file the forms for you.

If you use QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic, Standard or Enhanced, you’ll need to pay your Federal and state payroll taxes and file the forms.

If you have local taxes, you can set up custom items to calculate the taxes each payday, but you’ll need to pay and file them.

E-pay account and Enrollments for QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Enhanced

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Enhanced allows you to electronically pay your payroll taxes and file your payroll forms. You can set up e-pay through the E-pay account and Enrollments sections.

Info you'll need:

  • Your company bank account info
  • You may also have to register with the IRS and state agencies. See the Enrollments section for more info.

Add your payroll history

If you've already paid employees this year, you'll need to add those paychecks and any tax payments you've made.

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