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Intuit Online Payroll vs. QuickBooks Online Payroll – What’s the Difference

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Fees mentioned below are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Even if you employ only a few workers for your small business, you’ll likely need a payroll service to help you manage paychecks and tax forms. Online payroll services can be an easy solution to make sure you don’t miss any steps when paying employees.

Intuit offers a stand-alone online payroll service, as well as a package that bundles with Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting and bookkeeping software. If you already use QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online Payroll could be a useful add-on. If you don’t rely on QuickBooks, Intuit Online Payroll could be a valuable independent product to meet your payroll requirements.

We’ll walk you through the components of both Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll and help you decide which is right for your small business.

What is online payroll?

Online payroll services streamline the process of paying your employees, as well as the IRS, and ensure those payments are made on time. Online payroll services automatically pay employees, calculating the correct withholding amount and paying the right payroll taxes to government agencies. All you have to do is provide your basic business information and make sure there are sufficient funds in your account.

Most services come with some sort of guarantee that the service provider would cover any penalties in the event of a payroll tax mistake. Online payroll services also stay up to date on tax rate changes to make sure your business always pays the correct amount. But you are ultimately responsible for paying the correct taxes as the business owner.

Besides paying employees and taxes, features of an online payroll system could include tracking employee overtime and vacation time, preparing and filing W-2 forms, and managing health and pension plan contributions from employees. Online payroll services could also pay workers through direct deposit and onboard new employees. Most providers offer tiered subscription plans to let you choose the specific services your business needs.

If you use an automated accounting program, many online payroll systems can integrate payroll data with your accounting system. You may also be able to access and manage your payroll service from your phone or tablet.

What is Intuit Online Payroll?

Intuit Online Payroll is a stand-alone product that you can use alone or with QuickBooks Online. Intuit Online Payroll offers free direct deposit and makes automatic tax calculations. You can also set payroll reminders using Intuit Online Payroll.

With Intuit Online Payroll, you can automatically fill in tax forms, including federal and state forms. You can access the payroll program from a mobile device, such as your iPhone or Android, or tablet. Intuit Online Payroll can also be integrated with QuickBooks Desktop.

Intuit Online Payroll products

Basic Enhanced Full Service
Base price* $24/month for first 6 months, then $30/month $36/month for first 6 months, then $45/month $87.20/month for first 12 months, then $109/month
Additional per-month cost per employee $4 $4 $4


*Intuit offers a free trial on its payroll plans, but you must first contact the company to take advantage of the Full Service trial. Intuit also offers an annual payment plan, which may save you money.

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Intuit Online Payroll features

Depending on which plan you purchase, you would have access to the following Intuit Online Payroll features:

Features Basic Enhanced Full Service
Integrates with QuickBooks X X X
Easy paychecks based on manually entered hours X X X
Pay by check or direct deposit X X X
Free expert support X X X
Electronically file W-2 forms X X
Includes payroll tax forms X X
Taxes filed and paid for you X
No-penalty guarantee X
Payroll setup done for you X
Includes free year-end forms X

Additional Intuit Online Payroll features

Users can add extra services for a fee to their Intuit Online Payroll subscription. These include:

  • Automated time tracking
  • Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance
  • Labor law posters for your workplace
  • 1099 contractor forms and services

What is QuickBooks Online Payroll?

QuickBooks Online Payroll integrates with QuickBooks Online software. You must purchase a QuickBooks Online subscription, which starts at an introductory rate of $10 per month, to access online payroll services. QuickBooks Online Payroll automatically calculates taxes and deductions from each paycheck. You can also give employees the ability to view pay stubs and W-2s online. An upgraded version of QuickBooks Online Payroll lets you handle your taxes electronically or have a QuickBooks expert file them for you.

QuickBooks Online Payroll products

Enhanced Full Service
Base price $29/month for first 3 months, then $59/month $59/month for first 3 months, then $119/month
Additional per-month cost per employee $2 $2

A 30-day free trial is available for QuickBooks Online, which you are allowed to cancel. But you may pay more for your first three months of use if you take the free trial. For instance, the first three months with a Plus account would cost you $90 without the free trial. With the trial, you would be paying $60 each for the second and third months for a total of $120. Be sure to consider which option fits your budget and your commitment level.

QuickBooks Online Payroll features

Users would have access to the following features, depending on their subscription:

Features Enhanced Full Service
Pay employees and contractors X X
24-hour direct deposit X X
Calculate paychecks X X
File payroll taxes X X
Unlimited payrolls X X
Online employee setup X X
Payroll taxes done for you X
Same-day direct deposit X
Assisted payroll setup X
U.S.-based payroll support X
No-penalty guarantee X

Additional QuickBooks Online Payroll features

You can add extra features for a fee to your QuickBooks Online Payroll plan, including:

  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Multistate payroll
  • Automated time tracking

Which is best for your small business?

The payroll product that’s best for you would depend on how much of your business’ payroll you want to handle yourself. Intuit and QuickBooks online services provide options to be as hands-on or hands-off as you would like. The main deciding factor would be how you choose to file your payroll taxes.

Intuit Online Payroll – Basic: If you do not use QuickBooks accounting software and prefer to file payroll taxes with the help of an accountant.

Intuit Online Payroll – Enhanced: If you do not use QuickBooks accounting software and prefer to file payroll taxes yourself.

Intuit Online Payroll — Full Service: If you do not use QuickBooks accounting software and would like Intuit payroll experts to file payroll taxes for you.

QuickBooks Online Payroll – Enhanced: If you use QuickBooks accounting software and prefer to file payroll taxes on your own.

QuickBooks Online Payroll – Full Service: If you use QuickBooks accounting software and would like QuickBooks to file payroll taxes for you.

Your bookkeeping and accounting needs would also influence your product purchase. If you need the accounting services QuickBooks offers, then QuickBooks Online Payroll would give you access to everything you need. But if you’re solely looking for payroll services, then Intuit Online Payroll may be the best option if you take care of bookkeeping and accounting on your own.


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