How to Set Up Basic Payroll in QuickBooks - dummies

How to Set Up Basic Payroll in QuickBooks

By Stephen L. Nelson

To set up do-it-yourself payroll in QuickBooks, you step through a web-based interview. To start this interview, choose the Employees→Payroll→Turn On Payroll command in QuickBooks. QuickBooks displays the QuickBooks Online Subscription (Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Services) page.


To set up QuickBooks payroll, you indicate who you want to be paying payroll taxes and filing payroll tax returns: you, Intuit, or your accountant. Based on who you choose, QuickBooks suggests one of its payroll solutions:

  • Enhanced (if you’ll do the work yourself)

  • Assisted Payroll (if you want Intuit to just take care of everything)

  • Basic (if your accountant will take care of everything for you).

Intuit’s pricing for its payroll services changes, but in the summer of 2013, the Basic Payroll service costs $200 per year, Enhanced Payroll costs roughly $300 to $400 per year, and Assisted Payroll costs about $1,000 per year to start.

Even though you have three QuickBooks payroll options, if you use the Enhanced Payroll option, which is truly a do-it-yourself solution, you do the work. You need to understand federal and state payroll tax rules. However, you don’t have to pay much.

To choose the Enhanced Payroll option, click the radio button titled I Want to Pay & File My Payroll Taxes Myself in a Few Clicks with Forms Completed by QuickBooks Payroll.

Next, click See My Plan; then, when QuickBooks displays the next screen of additional information about the pricing and features of the Enhanced Payroll option, indicate whether you have three or fewer employees or more than three employees by clicking the appropriate radio button. After you do this, choose whether you want to pay annually or monthly and then click Buy Now.