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Set up manual payroll

If you choose not to subscribe to any Intuit Payroll service, you can set up QuickBooks Desktop to allow you to manually compute your employees' payroll.

Detailed instructions
  1. From the Help menu, choose QuickBooks Help. (or press F1 on your keyboard)
  2. In the Help Search field, type manual payroll then press Enter.
  3. Select the topic Calculate payroll manually (without a subscription to QuickBooks Payroll).
  4. Under Set your company file to use the manual payroll calculations setting, click the manual payroll calculations link.
  5. Select Set my company file to use manual calculations link.
  6. Close and reopen QuickBooks Desktop.

If you don't find the payroll features under the Employees menu, check that your preferences are set for payroll:

  1. From the Edit menu, select Preferences.
  2. On the left pane, choose Payroll & Employees then go to the Company Preferences tab.
  3. In the QuickBooks Payroll Features section, click the Full Payroll radio button.
  4. Click OK.


  • The manual computation setting is applied immediately. You may not receive a message that indicates the change in your company file.
  • If you select the Set my company file to use manual calculations link accidentally and want to reinstate payroll tax calculations in your company file, you must sign up for QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.
  • If you already have a payroll subscription, setting your file to compute payroll manually will disable the payroll update feature but will not cancel your payroll subscription.
  • If your file is hosted by an Intuit-authorized hosting company, you need to contact your hosting provider to help you turn on manual payroll. Your file may need to be copied locally to your computer before  manual payroll can then be turned on using the steps above. Afterwards, the file will be sent back to your hosting provider.

KB ID# HOW12188
4/30/2017 7:47:10 AM
QYPPRDQBKSWS05 9138 Pro 2017 05cc64