This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
What We Recommend Patriot Payroll For
Patriot Payroll is one of our top picks for best small business payroll software, boasting a user-friendly platform that lets you run payroll online in just three steps. It offers free direct deposits and integration with AP Intego for automatic workers’ compensation insurance premium payments.
It also has affordable plans, including a budget-friendly option for businesses that prefer do-it-yourself (DIY) payroll tax filings. If you’d rather have Patriot file and submit payroll tax deposits and reports for you, consider its full-service plan. HR and time tracking tools are also available as paid add-ons, including an accounting solution.
In short, Patriot Payroll is best for:
- Mom-and-pop businesses: Patriot Software offers an inexpensive solution for paying employees and computing payroll taxes. While you have to handle payroll tax filings with its basic option, the plan costs only $17 monthly plus $4 per employee—a viable option if you have a handful of employees. Alternatively, you can choose its full-service payroll priced at $37 monthly plus $4 per employee.
- Churches and small nonprofits: Church and nonprofit leaders typically wear multiple hats, and payroll is only a small percentage of their overall duties. Patriot’s easy setup process, along with its affordability, is why it makes sense. As one of our leading church payroll services, Patriot Payroll can help set up the system for free; new users simply need to provide basic business details. Those who prefer a DIY solution can use its easy-to-follow payroll startup wizard.
- Employers that hire independent contractors: With Patriot Software, you don’t need to run separate payrolls for contractors. Its platform can handle payroll processing for both employees and independent contractors—it even ranked in our guide to the best contractor payroll services.
When Patriot Payroll Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Businesses looking for employee benefits: Unlike popular small business payroll providers such as Gusto, Patriot Payroll doesn’t offer health insurance plans or provide benefits program management. For more suitable options, check out our guide on the top HR payroll software, which usually offer benefits administration.
- Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that require quick direct deposits: While Patriot Software offers free direct deposits, it requires a processing time of four days. This is longer than many payroll services, which usually offer at least a two-day turnaround. We recommend QuickBooks Payroll if you require next- and same-day direct deposits. Square Payroll is also a good choice since it offers next-day direct deposits via its Cash App and even instant payouts with its Instant Payments option.
- Companies with international employees: Patriot Payroll only handles employee pay processing for US-based companies. If you have a global workforce, then you should consider other payroll providers. Explore our guide on the best international payroll services.
Patriot Payroll Overview
|Budget-friendly pricing with multiple payroll packages and add-on options||Direct deposits require a four-day lead time|
|Unlimited pay runs||Lacks access to employee benefits|
|US-based customer support with extended weekday hours||Multistate filings cost extra|
|Free payroll setup, expert support, and direct deposits||Limited third-party software integrations|
Patriot Payroll Pricing
Patriot Payroll pricing includes a full-service payroll package and a basic payroll option with do-it-yourself (DIY) tax filings. All plans also come with unlimited payroll runs, paid time off (PTO) accruals, electronic Form W-2s, and free direct deposits. You can even use its basic and full-service options to pay contractors.
Base Monthly Fee*
Per Employee or Contractor Pricing
Unlimited Pay Runs
Multiple Pay Frequencies and Locations
via AP Intego
via AP Intego
Free Payroll Setup and Expert Support
(Phone, Email, and Chat)
Tax Filing and Deposits
(Federal, State, and Local)
Year-End Payroll Tax Filing
Tax Filing Accuracy Guarantee
1099 Filing Services (Optional)
With add-on fees
*Patriot will still charge you its base monthly fees for months you don’t run payroll.
What’s great about Patriot Payroll’s pricing scheme is the flexibility—you can purchase its HR and time tracking tools as add-ons in case you only signed up for its basic option. If you need accounting tools, Patriot has accounting software that integrates seamlessly with its payroll module.
Patriot Payroll Add-ons
- 1099 e-filings (for Basic Payroll subscribers only): $20 for up to five 1099 e-filings; an additional $2 per 1099 is required for six to 35 filings (no additional charge for 36 or more)
- Multistate payroll tax filing: $12 monthly for each additional state
- Time tracking: $6 plus $2 per employee monthly
- Basic HR/employee data management tools: $6 plus $2 per employee monthly
- Accounting solution: $15 monthly for the basic option; $25 monthly for the premium version
Patriot Payroll Features
Since Our Last Update:
We go into more detail on Patriot Payroll’s HR and time tracking add-ons, paycheck capabilities, “Net to Gross Payroll” tool, and enhancements to its W-2 reports.
Patriot Payroll’s online tools aim to help SMBs process employee salaries easily and quickly. In addition to having an intuitive interface, its software is mobile-friendly. This allows you to run payroll directly from smartphones and tablets without having to download an app—provided there’s an available internet connection.
With Patriot Payroll, employers can run unlimited payrolls each month and pay employees, including contractors, via direct deposits or paper checks. Its platform can handle all pay frequencies—from weekly and biweekly to semimonthly and monthly. You can also add up to five pay rates for each hourly employee, as well as create custom working hours, employee deductions, and repeating payment types (such as car and housing allowances).
In addition, its integration with AP Intego allows you to automatically pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums during each pay run. If you’re operating out of Washington or Wyoming, Patriot will collect and file workers’ comp for you. Both features are available for free for Basic Payroll and Full Service Payroll subscribers.
Payroll Tax Filing
While Patriot’s Basic Payroll plan requires DIY tax payments and filings, getting its Full Service Payroll option grants you access to automated payroll tax deposits and filings (for federal, local, and state taxes), including quarterly and year-end submissions of Forms 940, 941, W-2, and W-3. If you require multistate filings, note that its Full Service Payroll packages include tax filing for one state only. You have to pay $12 monthly for each additional state filing.
Aside from tax filing services, Full Service Payroll users are covered by Patriot’s tax filing accuracy guarantee. This means that if its representative makes a mistake in depositing and filing payroll taxes, then Patriot will cover all the penalties and interest payments.
For those who employ independent contractors, Patriot Software has an optional 1099 e-filing feature in which it will submit 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC forms to applicable government agencies. This service is provided for free for Full Service Payroll clients but charges add-on fees (starting at $20) for Basic Payroll subscribers.
Patriot Payroll also makes managing payroll tax calculations easy for employers with staff across business locations. By assigning a primary work location to each employee in Patriot Payroll, its system will automatically compute the applicable taxes based on where your staff works.
Since Our Last Update:
Patriot has improved the process of creating and generating W-2s via its system, making it easier and faster for you to post the tax forms to your employees’ online portals. It also added messages whenever corrections need to be made. This prevents tax filing errors and helps you save time from having to redo incomplete and incorrect forms.
With Patriot Payroll, you can pay employees and contractors via direct deposits. While it doesn’t charge extra for direct deposits, it has a four-day processing lead time.
If you prefer to pay via manual checks, Patriot offers two check printing options: pre-printed check stocks and blank check stocks. The first requires you to run a few sample prints to ensure that the needed information (such as date, employee name, and check number) are placed correctly on your pre-printed checks. The second needs sample prints as well but also requires Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) toner for your printer.
Net to Gross Payroll Tool
Let’s say you want to give employees a special bonus and you already have the net amount you want to pay in mind. Instead of manually calculating the gross pay, this tool will do the computation for you.
You start by entering the pay period, money type (i.e., bonus or commission), and the expected net pay amount directly into Patriot Payroll. Select the employees eligible to receive it and click the “Next Step” button; the system will do a reverse calculation to come up with the gross pay. If you approve the pay run, Patriot will then process the bonus or commission payout.
While this is a handy tool to have, it has some limitations. You won’t be able to do “Net to Gross Payroll” runs for:
- Simple Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions and deductions
- Tips owed and already paid
- Deductions with “Post-tax % Disposable Net Pay”
- “Post Tax” deductions with a method of “Percent”
- Employees who don’t reside and work in the same state
You can set up accrual rules on how many PTO hours an employee can earn based on the total number of actual hours worked. Patriot Software will then automatically compute and add the PTO hours to each employee’s balance.
Regardless of whether you get Patriot Payroll’s basic or full-service option, you can purchase its time and attendance module for $6 plus $2 per employee monthly. In addition to viewing time sheets, this solution lets you check PTO balances and create custom overtime rules. Employees can also clock in/out via Patriot’s self-service portal, MY Portal. And given the seamless integration between Patriot products, all approved employee work hours are automatically sent to its payroll module for pay processing.
Employee Data Management
Patriot Payroll’s pricing for its HR solution is $6 plus $2 per employee monthly, and you can add this to your payroll plan or even to Patriot’s accounting module. It includes basic tools for managing employee information and storing documents such as resumes, interview notes, performance review forms, health insurance plans, company policies, and your staff handbook. It also comes with a variety of HR reports—from retirement plan contributions and employee census to service anniversaries and state new hire reports (note that Patriot doesn’t file new hire reports for you).
Further, if you designate employees as managers in the system, you can add direct reports to your people managers. Patriot will even keep a history of the movements, so you can easily track reporting line changes.
With Patriot Payroll, you can access a wide selection of reports to check payroll tax computations, direct deposit payment details, employee information, and more. Here are some of its reports:
- Payroll register
- Payroll tax deposit report
- Payroll tax filing report
- Individual paycheck history
- Paycheck/deposit payment report
- PTO balances
- Assigned deductions report
- Payroll tax liabilities report
- W-2 summary report
Online Employee Portal
With Patriot’s online portal, MY Portal, your employees can check their payslips, view PTO balances, and access Form W-2s. If you subscribe to the provider’s time tracking add-on, then your employees can clock in/out via the online portal.
Third-party Software Integration
Patriot Payroll has limited integration options with third-party solutions. As of this writing, it integrates only with QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) and QuickBooks (both online and desktop versions).
Free live expert support is available for all Patriot users. It has a US-based team you can contact via chat, email, and phone, from Mondays to Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time.
Patriot Payroll Ease of Use
- Intuitive dashboard
- Mobile responsive platform
- Free and easy payroll setup
- FAQ and how-to guides
- Expert US-based support with extended weekday hours
Setting up its system is a breeze. Apart from an easy-to-follow DIY payroll setup wizard, Patriot’s representatives will walk new users through the setup process for free. Even if you subscribe to Patriot Payroll in the middle of the month or quarter, the provider can still help input your staff’s payroll history for you.
However, if you want to handle payroll setup yourself, use its setup wizard. The process isn’t difficult, plus you can opt to skip some of the steps and go back as needed. You can check out our guide on setting up and running payroll with Patriot, which includes a video walk-through.
Aside from its user-friendly platform, what I also appreciate about Patriot Payroll is its mobile-friendly interface. This enables you to access the software from any tablet and smartphone device—provided an internet connection is available. Its payroll dashboard even contains helpful links for running payroll, adding new employees, creating W-2 forms, and processing contractor payments.
If you need support, you can contact its US-based team (via phone, chat, and email) or check out its online help center, which contains an extensive collection of how-to articles.
What Users Think About Patriot Payroll
Users Don’t Like
Very limited integration options
Easy to set up and use
Slow direct deposit turnaround times
Helpful and knowledgeable support team
Payroll reports aren’t robust
Ease of running payroll
Basic HR tools
Many of the Patriot Payroll reviews online are positive. Users who left feedback on third-party review sites like G2 and Capterra highlighted its affordability, easy setup process, efficient payroll tools, and user-friendly interface as its best features. They also complimented its support team, citing the helpfulness of its customer representatives. On the other hand, some reviewers said that while it has made payroll processing an easier task for them, they wished the provider offered more integration options, reporting tools, automatic pay runs, and a faster direct deposit timeline.
At the time of publication, Patriot Payroll earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
Top Patriot Payroll Alternatives
Best for: Small businesses looking for full-service payroll
Best for: QuickBooks accounting small business users
Best for: Square POS users, particularly retailers and restaurants
Base monthly fee:$39–$149
Base monthly fee: $45–$125
Base monthly fee: $35
Per employee monthly fee: $6–$12
Per employee monthly fee from: $4–$10
Per employee monthly fee: $5
If you’re unsure Patriot Payroll is right for you, see how it compares with other top payroll systems.
Patriot Payroll is an ideal choice for small business owners looking for an inexpensive way to process employee salaries. It has a low-cost DIY option and full-service payroll packages that are reasonably priced. Plus, you get a lot of freebies that include direct deposits, payroll setup, expert support, and an online employee portal.
Sign up for Patriot Payroll’s 30-day free trial—no credit card required.