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Intuit QuickBooks Payroll Review

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Editor
  • QuickBooks Payroll is offered in both online and desktop versions.
  • Service plans for this software range between $29 and $125 per month, plus monthly per-employee fees.
  • You can add QuickBooks' accounting software to each service plan for an additional fee.
  • This review is for small business owners who are considering using QuickBooks Payroll as their payroll service.

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend QuickBooks Payroll as our 2021 pick for the best online payroll service for small businesses. QuickBooks Payroll is ideal for small businesses because of its flexibility and variety. The service is available in numerous service plans at a variety of prices, so businesses of any size and budget can find a plan to meet their needs. Another feature that makes QuickBooks Payroll a solid choice for small businesses is its integration with QuickBooks' accounting software, which many small businesses already use. Other reasons we recommend QuickBooks Payroll is its ease of use, employee self-service options, range of payroll reports and one-month free trial.

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

The Verdict

QuickBooks Payroll is our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses because of its flexibility, ease of use, robust set of tools, numerous service plans and seamless integration with QuickBooks' accounting software.

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To read more about the best options for payroll services, read all our reviews and learn more about the buying process.

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QuickBooks Payroll Pricing, Service Plans and Features

Part of QuickBooks Payroll's appeal is that the company offers several plan types at a range of prices. Several plans combine the company's accounting software and payroll service. This range of options makes this software a great option for a wide variety of businesses.

Below, you'll find a full breakdown of the pricing and features for all of QuickBooks Payroll's plans. Keep in mind that first-time customers are eligible for a 30-day trial on all of these plans, so you can give the software a test-drive before you commit to a monthly or yearly plan.  

QuickBooks Payroll Plans

QuickBooks Payroll is available in a variety of service plans. There are online versions, desktop versions and plans that combine QuickBooks' payroll and accounting software. If you're looking for both accounting software and a payroll service, pairing the two could be ideal for your small business. Every time you run payroll, all of the info – including check amounts, state and federal taxes, and deductions – automatically downloads into your QuickBooks accounting software.

Opting for a plan with accounting software also gives you the ability to track income and expenses, maximize tax deductions, run reports and send estimates. QuickBooks allows for invoicing the acceptance of payments. QuickBooks Plus also lets you manage bills, track inventory and manage contractors.

Here is a breakdown of some of the options:

QuickBooks Online Payroll Plans

Core

  • Cost: $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per month
  • Features: full-service payroll, autopayroll, health benefit options and 401(k) plans

Premium

  • Cost: $75 per month, plus $8 per employee per month
  • Features: everything in the Core plan, plus same-day direct deposit, workers' compensation administration, mobile time tracking, access to an HR support center and expert setup

Elite

  • Cost: $125 per month, plus $10 per employee per month
  • Features: everything in the Premium plan, plus tax penalty protection, customized setup and access to a personal HR advisor

With each of these plans, you have the option to get either one month free or a 50% discount for the first three months of service. You can also add QuickBooks Online accounting software, which will cost you between $25 and $150 per month.

QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Plans

Basic

  • This plan only runs payroll and does not handle any payroll tax obligations.
  • Cost: The base fee is $29 per month, plus there is a monthly fee of $2 per employee. The first six months are offered at a 20% discount.
  • Features and tax services: This package includes the ability to print instant paychecks for W-2 employees and 1099 workers, as well as direct deposit and live support.

Enhanced

  • This plan handles all payroll and some tax responsibilities.
  • Cost: The base fee is $45 per month, plus there is a monthly fee of $2 per employee. The first six months are offered at a 20% discount.
  • Features and tax services: This plan includes everything in the Basic package, plus it calculates all federal and state payroll taxes. You are responsible for making all tax payments. Intuit fills in all of the federal and most state payroll tax forms for you, and it gives you the option to pay these taxes electronically. Additionally, this plan includes email reminders for taxes and the ability to print W-2 forms for employees.

Assisted

  • This plan handles all payroll and payroll tax responsibilities.
  • Cost: The base fee is $109 per month, plus there is a monthly fee of $2 per employee. The first six months are offered at a 40% discount.
  • Features and tax services: This is the most comprehensive service. The package runs payroll; completes and files all federal, state and local forms; and guarantees that tax payments are correct and on time. If the company makes an error, it will correct the mistake and pay all of the resulting payroll tax penalties. QuickBooks also sets up this package for you by having a company representative enter all employee information into the system before you get started. In addition, the Full-Service package takes care of processing and printing employees' W-2s.

At the time of this writing, QuickBooks was offering a 50% discount on all of the above rates for the first three months of service for new customers.

The only other cost is for businesses with employees who work in multiple states, in which case there is an added $12 monthly charge per state.

A benefit of QuickBooks Payroll is that each of the plans allows unlimited payroll runs for no extra charge, thus giving businesses the option to pay employees weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly, all for the same price.

QuickBooks accounting software can be added to any of the plans listed above. It starts at $15 per month and includes four pricing plans that range up to $150 per month.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: QuickBooks Payroll offers three online plans and three desktop plans. Prices range from $45 to $125 per month (plus $4 to $10 per employee per month) for the online version and $29 to $109 (plus $2 per employee per month) for the desktop version.

Features

QuickBooks Payroll has a wide range of beneficial features. Most important, QuickBooks handles all of your payroll processing and payroll tax responsibilities.

You can run payroll an unlimited number of times each month. This gives you the freedom to pay employees whenever you want, so everyone doesn't have to be on the same pay schedule. This flexibility can be especially valuable if you have both full-time employees and independent contractors.

QuickBooks handles all of your payroll tax needs. It calculates your taxes, fills out the necessary paperwork and makes the payments. For some plans, QuickBooks also offers a tax guarantee, which means if the software makes an error, QuickBooks will correct it and pay any imposed fines.

The integration with QuickBooks' accounting software is another huge bonus of this solution. The result is that both software programs work in lockstep. Data is automatically transferred back and forth between the two programs, thus making it simple to run payroll and manage your finances. This can be a huge benefit for small business owners who don't have the luxury of having an in-house payroll specialist and accountant.

QuickBooks also offers several HR-related resources, including access to a human resources advisor to turn to when you need guidance on important HR issues.

Other services include health benefits by SimplyInsured and retirement plans offered by Guideline.

QuickBooks announced in 2021 it is improving its integration with the popular customer relationship management (CRM) tool HubSpot. According to QuickBooks, the new integration will include more data entry automation, reducing the likelihood of error and saving staff members time. It will also feature a centralized dashboard through which users can create financial workflows to suit their needs, as well as move invoices seamlessly across QuickBooks and HubSpot.

Did you KnowDid you know? QuickBooks Payroll handles all payroll processing and payroll tax responsibilities. It also allows for unlimited payroll runs, provides access to an HR advisor and integrates with QuickBooks' accounting software.

Ease of Use

Small business owners will be pleased with how easy it is to use QuickBooks Payroll. It is a cloud-based service that has no software to install or maintain and can be accessed online from anywhere.

The easy-to-use platform is clearly labeled and simple to navigate. Running payroll starts by selecting the employees to pay. For hourly employees, you enter the number of regular, bonus, overtime and vacation hours they worked during that pay period. Salaried employees already have their pay rates saved.

Then, you review the payroll info. You can see each employee's payroll details as well as your total costs. During this stage, you can also compare the current payroll with the previous one to make sure everything lines up.

The last step is to click the Submit to Intuit link. The service confirms that it received the information and processes payroll. Employees who have direct deposit are paid in two business days. You also have the option to print checks from your office.

Adding employees to the system is also simple. The software walks you through each step of adding basic details about each employee, such as their pay rate, federal and state tax information and withholdings, tax exemptions, and benefit deductions.

Some service plans allow QuickBooks to handle this task for you. You can email or fax your employee roster and information to a QuickBooks payroll specialist, who will enter the details.

The system is also accessible via a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. With the app, administrators can run payroll, pay taxes and view company payroll history. Employees can log in to the online system on either a web browser or the mobile app to view their paystubs, pay history and paid-time-off accruals.

QuickBooks Payroll users can download a variety of reports, including payroll summaries, payroll details, employee details, tax payments, tax and wage summaries, tax liability, workers' compensation, total costs and contractor payment details.

Customer Service

You can reach QuickBooks Payroll representatives by phone and email Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, and live-chat support is available 24/7. On the website, you'll find payroll guides and advice, training videos, details on how to set up the system and a user community that has answers to questions on all of Intuit's products.

We were pleased with the customer service Intuit provided when we contacted the company numerous times by phone and email, posing as a business owner interested in payroll services.

Each time we reached out by phone, a representative immediately answered our call. With some of the other large payroll services we considered, we had to wait on hold for lengthy periods before someone was available to speak with us.

We were just as pleased with the support we received via email. Many of the representatives we contacted over the phone followed up with an email. Each time we wrote back with a question we had, whether it was the same day or weeks later, we received a prompt and thorough response.

The representatives never pressured us to sign up for the service. Instead, they listened to us, answered our questions and encouraged us to call back with any further inquiries. This was a difference from what we experienced with many other payroll providers we contacted.

TipTip: You can reach QuickBooks' customer support team by phone weekdays between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET or via live chat 24/7.

Limitations

One potential downside of QuickBooks Payroll is the cost. If you choose one of the more robust service plans, there are base fees of over $100 per month, which is more expensive than many of the other services we considered. However, the more costly plans offer a number of HR-related tools, which some businesses may find appealing.

We were also disappointed that only the most expensive QuickBooks plans offer a tax guarantee. Most of the services we examined offered this guarantee to all customers.

Another potential negative is the large number of complaints filed against Intuit, QuickBooks' parent company, with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As of December 2020, more than 1,600 complaints had been filed against the company.

While the number of complaints is concerning, it is unknown how many of these complaints are specific to Intuit's payroll service, as the complaints listed on the BBB website encompass all of Intuit's products and services. Despite the complaints, Intuit has an A+ rating with the BBB.

Ready to choose a payroll service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Image Credit: AndreyPopov / Getty Images
Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

The Verdict

QuickBooks Payroll is our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses because of its flexibility, ease of use, robust set of tools, numerous service plans and seamless integration with QuickBooks' accounting software.

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Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Business News Daily Staff
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and business.com for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post, CNBC.com, FoxBusiness.com, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.