Intuit QuickBooks offers three payroll services for people using the desktop versions of QuickBooks: Basic Payroll, Enhanced Payroll, and Assisted Payroll. All three QuickBooks Desktop payroll options calculate paychecks and payroll taxes. Basic Payroll and Enhanced Payroll are do-it-yourself, self-service options. Assisted Payroll is Intuit’s full-service offering, in which Intuit’s payroll accountants handle payroll processing for you.
When to Use QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll is designed for businesses that want just to create paychecks, calculate payroll taxes, and send direct deposits. This is a good option only if the business is willing and able to prepare its own payroll tax forms such as 940, 941 and W-2 and remit its own payroll taxes.
When to Use QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll provides complete payroll features for businesses who want to run payroll in-house. Intuit Enhanced Payroll creates paychecks, calculates payroll taxes, and sends direct deposits. Enhanced Payroll also prepares and e-files federal and state tax forms such as 940, 941, and W-2. Payroll tax deposits can be paid electronically through Enhanced Payroll.
When to Use QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Full Service Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Full Service Payroll provides a full-service payroll service to small businesses that prefer to outsource their payroll. Businesses enter hours for employees in QuickBooks, and Intuit’s payroll accountants prepare the paychecks, direct deposits, payroll tax forms, and remit payroll tax deposits on your behalf. Intuit guarantees that its payroll tax returns are filed accurately and on-time with no penalties.
When to Use an Alternative to QuickBooks Desktop Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop accounting software users have other options for handling payroll. If you want to do payroll yourself and you’re looking for an alternative to QuickBooks Payroll, we recommend using payroll software like QuickBooks Online Payroll. All of its plans are full-service, meaning they come with payroll calculations, paper check printing capabilities, and direct deposit. The software is also easy to set up and files and makes payroll tax payments electronically. You can try it with a 30-day free trial.
QuickBooks Desktop Payroll at a Glance
Time tracking integration
Pay employees and contractors
Pay by check or direct deposit
Print and electronically file W-2’s
E-file Federal and State Tax Forms
Tax forms and payments are prepared and filed for you
No penalties guaranteed
Payroll setup completed for you
Year-end forms included
How We Evaluated QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Plans
We evaluated QuickBooks Desktop Payroll options based on cost, features, ease of use, customer support, and what real users had to say. Ultimately, good payroll services should help you do payroll from beginning to end, starting with calculating payroll checks and ending with filing and making payroll tax payments.
When evaluating QuickBooks Desktop Payroll, we considered these factors:
- Cost: The payroll provider should offer a plan that is affordable to most small businesses while also providing the basic features needed to process payroll for all of their employees.
- Features: The software should include all aspects of processing payroll. This includes calculating paychecks, printing paychecks or making direct deposit payments and the ability to file and pay payroll taxes.
- Ease of use: The software or service should be easy to use and not require a bookkeeping or accounting background.
- Customer service: Live customer support should be available 24/7 to answer questions and help troubleshoot issues.
- Customer reviews: Overall, reviews for the payroll product/service should be good.
- Penalty guarantees: The payroll provider should take responsibility for any mistakes it have made, including interest and penalties for late filing of tax returns and payments.
QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic vs Enhanced vs Full Service: Which Is Better?
Based on the factors considered, we recommend QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll, because it allows you to maintain payroll in-house for less than half the cost of QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Payroll. Enhanced Payroll makes it easy to calculate paychecks, print checks and submit direct deposit payments. You can also file payroll tax returns and make tax payments electronically through the software.
Cost: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic vs Enhanced vs Assisted Full Service
Features: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll – Basic vs Enhanced vs Assisted Full Service
All three versions of QuickBooks Desktop Payroll allow you to create paychecks, calculate tax withholdings, pay employees by check or direct deposit, and generate payroll reports. Enhanced payroll goes a step further than Basic to include all payroll tax forms and the ability to submit tax forms and payments electronically. With Assisted Full Service Payroll, you only need to submit employee hours; Intuit will calculate paychecks, file tax forms, and make tax payments on your behalf.
QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Basic payroll is ideal for a small business that needs a software that will allow them to calculate payroll checks, print paychecks and submit direct deposit payments. Since it does not include W-2 forms or payroll tax forms, you will need to have your CPA or tax professional take care of filing and making the payroll tax payments manually.
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced payroll includes the features found in the Basic plan plus the ability to generate payroll tax forms, and file and make electronic payroll tax payments. This plan is ideal for the small business owner who wants to keep payroll in-house at an affordable cost.
QuickBooks Desktop Full Service Payroll
QuickBooks Desktop Full Service payroll is ideal for the small business owner that prefers to outsource payroll to a payroll expert. With this plan, you only need to submit the hours worked for employees each pay period and Intuit will do the rest. This service includes the initial payroll setup, processing paychecks, printing paychecks, submitting direct deposit payments, and filing and making payroll tax payments.
Ease of Use: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic vs Enhanced vs Assisted Full Service
QuickBooks Assisted Full Service Payroll is the easiest to use, as customers just enter hours worked by employees, and Intuit’s accountants do the rest. QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll is more hands-on, and tools for creating payroll tax forms and making tax payments are straightforward.
Of the three options, QuickBooks Basic Payroll requires the most significant effort, because you cannot complete tax forms or make tax payments within the software. Therefore, you will have to complete the tax forms and make tax payments yourself or hire a CPA to do it.
QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Full Service Payroll Ease of Use
QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Full Service Payroll is the easiest to use of the three QuickBooks Desktop payroll options. All you need to do is enter employee’s hours and review the payroll data. Customers don’t need to fiddle with the payroll settings or prepare tax forms, as Intuit’s professional accountants do those tasks for you.
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll Ease of Use
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll has the same in-depth tools as Basic Payroll that guide customers through the setting up of new employees and paying employees. Step-by-step tools for paying payroll taxes and preparing quarterly and annual payroll tax forms is much easier in Enhanced Payroll compared to the manual process in Basic Payroll.
QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll Ease of Use
QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll has self-explanatory on-screen tools that guide customers step-by-step through the process of configuring payroll settings, setting up new employees, and paying employees. Preparing payroll tax returns is a manual process done outside of Basic Payroll, which is not as easy as the payroll tax form tools provided by Enhanced Payroll.
Customer Service: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic vs Enhanced vs Assisted Full Service
All three QuickBooks Desktop Payroll plans tie for customer service, since all support features are available with each. They include several resources you can use to get help. Similar to QuickBooks Online, all three plans include unlimited live customer support through telephone or chat. Plus, email support is available and support to close out the year is available in all three plans, at no additional charge.
Customer Reviews: QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Basic vs Enhanced vs Full Service: Customer Reviews
Overall, customer reviews are mixed about QuickBooks Desktop payroll products. Positive reviews center around how easy QuickBooks Desktop payroll software is to use. Negative reviews revealed that there is room for improvement when it comes to the quality of the customer support team.
QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll Customer Reviews
Customers like that QuickBooks Desktop Basic Payroll is efficient and simple to figure out. However, customers report that it’s very hard to correct mistakes made on previous paychecks. Customers have also complained that they are still charged monthly fees despite canceling their payroll service. Users report problems configuring payroll on the Mac version of QuickBooks Desktop.
QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll Customer Reviews
Customers like how QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll eliminates unnecessary steps and saves time completing payroll tasks. However, one customer says QuickBooks Desktop Payroll cannot properly handle state payroll deductions for employees who work in different states. Several customers report that Enhanced Payroll did not pay payroll taxes, even though money was withdrawn from the business’s bank account.
QuickBooks Desktop Assisted Full Service Payroll Customer Reviews
QuickBooks Desktop Assisted customers like the fact that this plan allows them to outsource their payroll processing so that they can focus on other areas of their business. Positive reviews mention the fact that Intuit takes care of payroll and files payroll taxes and forms on time without bothering them. Negative customer reviews said that this service is a bit pricey albeit worth it.
QuickBooks Desktop users have three options for adding payroll functionality.
Basic Payroll provides minimal functionality for calculating paychecks and payroll taxes. Enhanced Payroll provides a complete set of payroll functions for preparing and filing tax forms. Assisted Full Service Payroll takes payroll off your “to do” list by taking care of processing paychecks, filing and making payroll tax payments and providing a no-penalty guarantee.
We recommend QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll. It has all the tools business owners need to create paychecks, prepare payroll tax returns, and send payroll tax payments. Sign up to start paying your employees today.