QuickBooks will provide you with payroll summaries - excellent for manual preparation of Payroll tax returns without purchasing the tax tables. But without purchasing the service, QuickBooks will not calculate the deductions for each paycheck or prepare the Quarterly payroll tax forms.
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Can you do payroll in QuickBooks
without purchasing PR tax tables?
Yes, but with limitations!


Many small businesses have a payroll consisting of only one or two people, and are happy to continue preparing payroll manually, but would  like to know what payroll tracking is possible in QuickBooks without purchasing the tax table updates every year.

QuickBooks will let you enter the withholding amounts manually.  Effective with QuickBooks 2007 Release 4 and QuickBooks 2006 Release 9 QuickBooks has removed access to the manual tax forms- 941 & W2.  The 941 & 940 forms can be downloaded and prepared manually from http://www.irs.gov.  The W2 form can be filed online at www.ssa.gov/employer/ and copies can be printed for your employees

In prior editions, if you upgraded each year you could access a one time download to the tax tables. Unfortunately it was causing problems with business owners using outdated tax tables and prior year tax forms. In an effort to minimize tax filing problems with the IRS, Intuit has removed all access tax forms unless you purchase a payroll service (Starting at $199/year)

Its our opinion that the  Enhanced payroll service is a valuable tool,  it will save you lots of time and effort preparing payroll tax returns and will help avoid costly mistakes. We recommend that you rethink tracking payroll manually and purchase the enhanced payroll service option. With this option, QuickBooks completes your 941, state tax forms, annual W2 and 940. You just need to print and mail in.
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For those who do decide that they do not want to purchase the tax table/forms service can enter payroll deductions on every paycheck manually (a big task which can be error prone), QuickBooks will provide you with weekly and monthly payroll summaries, plus you will be able to print the  paychecks with your manually calculated deductions and provide a pay stub for your employees.  QuickBooks will calculate the net pay.  

To get started with a manual payroll in QuickBooks:

From the help menu in QuickBooks, search on Payroll > Select calculating manually >
Click on  "set your company to use manual payroll calculation settings"  > 
Click on the link "set my company file to use manual calculations".

You can track payroll in QuickBooks without buying the tax tables

To set up file:

Go to the employee menu > Select Set up payroll and complete the payroll wizard

We suggest you set up your employees as hourly (salary is a bit cumbersome to work with).   Mistakes are a bit more likely with a manually entered payroll so we highly recommend you download our payroll checklists for W-2, 940, and State UI and complete these checklists before filing your quarterly and annual tax returns.  You will find our payroll checklists on our webpage devoted to payroll and payroll regulations

To enter paychecks, 
Employee menu > Pay employees > Select employees to pay
In the preview paycheck window you will see all zeroes for the amounts which you will need to override with your own calculations.

Download the Circular E publication from www.irs.gov, and find your state's website here and download the withholding tables.

Visit our webpage with all you ever wanted to know about payroll, payroll regulations, and labor rules



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