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How To Fix Pay and Adjust Payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks?

Payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks

Making Correction In Payroll Liability QuickBooks

Problem: In some cases, companies want to adjust their employees’ year-to-date information contained within the payroll items, i.e. employees’ contribution, adding of the employees, and deduction of items in the payroll.

QuickBooks assists businesses in managing payments, paying taxes, processing payroll, and settling any liabilities they may have. Users’ errors are completely normal given that the application relies on the data they enter. That is a significant factor in the addition of a payroll liability adjustment option by Intuit developers to QuickBooks. The payroll adjustment liability feature allows users to update employees’ year-to-date (YTD) or quarter-to-date (QTD) payroll data. Additionally, users can modify employer contributions, employee additions, and deductions. Because of this, we have included a blog post that explains what payroll liabilities are in QuickBooks and how to fix them.

Every year, many small business owners overpay their taxes to state and federal tax authorities, either due to incorrect tax payment calculation or due to fear of IRS penalties. If you are an employer who has overpaid payroll tax liabilities using QuickBooks, you may want to have the overpayment credited as payroll tax liabilities and the overpayment adjusted in the QuickBooks Company file. This article explains how to adjust payroll liabilities in QuickBooks and apply the credit to payroll tax liabilities.

If you are unaware of how to go about fixing Payroll Liabilities, you can ask our QuickBooks experts of the QBPayrollHelp. You can fix payroll liabilities in QuickBooks if the below-mentioned scenarios occur with you:

There is wide help for QuickBooks Payroll Liability Adjustment brings earlier by our experts , have you checked out .

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What are Payroll Liabilities?

Like other types of liabilities, payroll liabilities are amounts that are not paid by you; however, you owe them to your employees. This also includes the amount of payroll tax withheld from employees. The amount tracked on a paycheck using a payroll item is also added to payroll liabilities.

Here are examples of payroll liabilities:

Why Do You Need Payroll Liability Adjustment?

The situations below will require you to make changes to your payroll liabilities in QuickBooks:

  • If you have mistakenly set up the incorrect tax tracking type for health insurance company contributions.
  • When an employee no longer receives paychecks, you may need to make changes to the employee’s deductions, additions, or YTD wages.
  • When you need to make changes to a 401(k) Company Match or a Health Savings Account (HSA) that is part of the company contribution items.

Let’s move on to changing the payroll tax liabilities in QuickBooks, but first, make sure you have the most recent payroll tax table updates installed.

Adjusting Overpaid Payroll Liabilities in the Company File:

The following steps are only applicable to users of the Enhanced, Basic, and Standard payroll services.

Company Adjustment:

  • Select Payroll Taxes and Liabilities from the Employees tab of your QuickBooks Desktop application’s dashboard.
  • Select Adjust Payroll Liabilities and then enter the date you want the adjustment to take effect.
  • Now, for the adjustment, choose an Effective Date.
  • Choose Company from the Adjustment is for segment menu.
  • Now, in the Item Name drop down list, select the adjustment item.
  • Enter the minus amount you paid for the adjustment.
  • In the Memo section, write down your explanation for the transaction.
  • Click the Affected Accounts button.
  • If you want your accounts to be affected, click Affect Liability and Expense Accounts; otherwise, click Do Not Affect Accounts.
  • On the Affect Accounts screen, click OK.
  • Click OK once more to save the change.

Employee Adjustment:

  • Steps one to three of the Adjust Your Company method are outlined above.
  • Select Employee from the Adjustment for segment drop-down menu.
  • Click the name of the employee for whom you want to make the change from the drop-down list.
  • Select the payroll item for adjustment from the Taxes and Liabilities section and enter the negative amount.
  • To save the changes, repeat steps 7 through 11 from the Adjustment for the company method.

Things to Do Before Adjusting Payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks:

Before you adjust payroll liabilities in QuickBooks, there are a few steps that must be completed to ensure what needs to be changed, and doing so makes a permanent change to your company file. The actions that you must take are as follows:

Make a backup of your company file:

A payroll liabilities adjustment will result in a permanent change to your company file, so it is crucial to make a backup so that you have a copy of your current file in case you need it later.

Check the Payroll:

You can use Payroll Check-up to identify problems that may have an impact on your liabilities. This device will:

  • To verify your current configuration, check your payroll data for errors and missing data.
  • Verify the documentation for your employee, the creation of payroll items, their pay, and their tax liabilities.
  • Find out if there are any differences in the tax amount for a flat-rate tax. The tool will also suggest ways to fix the problem.

Run a summary report for payroll:

Run a payroll summary report for the quarter or year that needs adjustment and make a list of everything that needs to be changed.

For Standard, Enhanced, or Basic Payroll:

The effective date, item name, and other fields for payroll liability adjustments must all be filled out.

Adjust payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks:

  • The tax tracking type is wrong with the setup of Health Insurance Company Contribution. You require fixing the liability amount once you have created a payroll company contribution item that carries the present tax tracking type with it.
  • If an employee is not going to receive future paychecks, you will need to adjust YTD Wages, Final Deduction, or other payroll items.
  • You require to make changes in the company contribution items, i.e. Health Savings Amount.

If adjusting is going to somehow alter the data that you receive on your 3-monthly return, you should consider making a QTD adjustment instead of a YTD adjustment.

How to Claim Overpaid Liability as Payroll Tax Liability Credit

Note: Selecting the incorrect account could result in errors on your tax forms. Be sure to do this.

  • The steps in the article can be used to produce a liability check. Create and fulfill recurring or one-time obligations.
  • In QuickBooks, choose the account you want to receive credit for the expenses under the Expenses tab.
  • The negative amount that needs to be credited should be entered in the Amount section.
  • The memo section is where you should type the justification for the adjustment.
  • For the check and credit amounts to be updated, click Recalculate.
  • If any credit balance remains, repeat the same procedure.

Why Payroll Liabilities Is Wrong QuickBooks

The wrong amount is entered into Liability Check or Deposit Refund due to which your Payroll Liabilities show due balance.

  • The amount is missing in the liability due to the existence of another Liability Check.
  • Your liability account may be inactive
  • Upgraded company files from an older version of QuickBooks to the latest one.
  • Wrong Payroll liability also occurred due to missing or voided liability check from Assisted Payroll which creates positive balances for taxes paid for you by Intuit.


  • Basic, Standard, and Enhanced customers are required to run Payroll check-ups.
  • Assistant Payroll customers need to get in touch with our QuickBooks proadvisors team if they need to complete corrections or need to adjust the payroll liabilities in QuickBooks that are affecting the payroll taxes.

Resolving the problem of adjusting Payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks:

  • Go to your Payroll Summary Report and change the date on it to match the effective date that is mentioned in your Liability Adjustment.
  • Go to Employees in your QuickBooks and browse to Payroll Taxes and Liabilities. Next, click Payroll Liabilities.
  • Choose the right Effective Date.
    1. Assistant Payroll
      • If it is the previous Quarter, you need to use the last date of the Quarter that has been affected.
      • If it is the same Quarter, you need to use the date that is there in the last paycheck.
    2. Basic, Standard, and Payroll:
      • You need to put the date which is the same as your last paycheck to the quarter that is affected, or you can put the current date if the adjustment is going to affect the current quarter.
  • Do either of these:
    1. If the adjustment is going to affect an employee’s year-to-date information, click on Employee Adjustment and then choose the Employee who is being affected.
    2. If you are prompted to remove the balance from Payroll Liability Balance Report, or it needs to be removed because it causes a balance to appear in the Chart Of Accounts, click Company Adjustment.
  • Go to the Taxes and Liabilities section, click the column that is named Payroll Item and choose the actual payroll item.
  •  Fill in the amount that needs to be adjusted in the field that corresponds to it.
  • Use the Memo columns to fill in what are you adjusting for, concerning your future reference.
  • Go to Accounts Affected, click it, and choose either of these:
    1. Do not affect accounts
    2. Affect liability and expense accounts
  • If there are more employees you need to enter, hit Next Adjustment and once more go through the steps mentioned above for every affected employee.
  • Hit OK so that you can save the new entries once you are done.
  • Go through the Payroll Summary Report once you are done, so that you can verify that the totals are now correct.
  • If you are an Assisted Payroll user, send a zero payroll to apply your changes to the Payroll Service.

To fix the payroll liability balance report and the liability check:

  • Browse to the payroll bank register and find the payroll check that you created for the old payroll item.
  • Right-click it and choose Edit Liability Check.
  • Go to the Payroll Liability tab, and fill in the new payroll item in the place of the old one.
  • Hit Close & Save. Click Yes to record the changes you made.

To make Payroll Liability Adjustment In QuickBooks Desktop, go with the following instructions

1. Step One: Detect Payroll Discrepancies

The process begins with finding the payroll discrepancies with the following steps. You have to run the “Payroll Checkup” this will help you to detect the problem that may affect your liabilities.

  • Now, you need to check and verify the current setup by scanning the entire payroll data to get acknowledge missing information and discrepancies
  • Review and make sure about all information such as employee records, wages, tax amounts, and payroll set up
  • After that, identify the tax amount of differences in rate tax
  • Then, run the report of “Payroll Summary” which you have to adjust. Must be sure that you note the amount on the item or payroll item that you want to adjust

2. Step Two: The next step is to adjust the Payroll liabilities with the following steps:

  • First of all, open the “Employees Menu” then hit your next click on the “Payroll Taxes and Liabilities”
  • After that, choose “Adjust Payroll Liabilities” and utilize the tips to fill the fields
  • Then utilize the same data as the last paycheck of the assumed affected quarter. In any case, if you working on the current quarter, prefer today’s date.
  • Effective information is used to calculate the amounts on 940 and 941 forms as well as the report of liability Balances Report.

Is adjustment for the company and employees?

  • Choose “Employee Adjustment” in case you adjusting the company-paid time. It updates all information that is reported on the employee W-2 form.
  • Then, choose the Company Adjustment if you want to remove the balance from the payroll liability balance report
  • Then, choose the “Employees” section
  • After that, you have to fill the requirements in the fields of Tax and Liabilities
  • Choose the “Item Name” you have to adjust
  • After that, enter the sufficient “Amount of the Adjustment” and select the Positive Number to increase the account and the negative to decrease the amount
  • Wage Base is hardly ever used when you revoke the tax amount on a paycheck. This step is optional
  • You have to use only “Income Subject on Tax” while creating a Wage base adjustment
  • After that, utilize the “Memo Field” to enter all data (Related to the Adjustment) for future reference
  • Enter your click on the “Accounts Affected” option and proceed forward with the OK click 
  • You can go with the affect accounts option to leave the balances without any change for liability and all expenses account. 
  • The adjustments only make some new changes on the payroll report in year-to-date amounts
  • Choose the Expenses Account and Affect liability to enter an adjusting transaction  
  • You can repeat this process for other employees also if it is needed and click on OK

3. Step Three: Verify If Liabilities Have Been Updated

The final step is that must be sure about updated liabilities 

  • To accomplish this step, you run the “Payroll Summary Report” again to ensure all that looks right.

4. Step Four: Correct the Payroll Liability Check

This step is optional to correct the payroll liability check if it is found wrong

Did you pay the liability as of now? You’ll have to address the liability check in QuickBooks.

  • The first step is to open the “Banking Menu” then click on the “Use Register” option
  • Choose that register you utilize for payroll and then click on OK
  • Hit your next right-click on the “Liability Check” and choose the “Edit Liability Check”
  • After that, open the “Payroll Liabilities” and update them with new changes and match them to get confirmation
  • Click on save and close and with YES click the process is all done

Adjust Payroll Liabilities in QuickBooks Online

Companies may need to edit payroll liabilities for several reasons. If you are using QuickBooks Online and desire to adjust payroll liabilities, the following methods can be followed. All you have to do is run the payroll summary and adjust the amount or date in the payroll liabilities.

Step 1: Open the Payroll Summary Report

First, you’ll need to make a payroll summary report so you can find out what got paid. Thereafter, you can change the amount and date to make the liability correction. Here are the steps to run the Payroll Summary report in QuickBooks Online:

  • Choose the “Reports” menu.
  • Now, search for the “Payroll” section.
  • Then, tap on the “Payroll Summary”
  • At this moment, you can change the date field using the drop-down menu.
  • After that, you can select the employee.
  • Tap on the “Run Report”.

Step 2: Adjust the Payroll Liabilities

  • Tap on the “Employees” option.
  • Then, choose the “Payroll Liabilities” from the menu.
  • Tap on the “Adjust Payroll Liabilities” option.
  • Go to the “Date” field and enter the date you’re adjusting for.
  • Here, tap on the “Effective Date” section and add the wanted date.
  • Select “Employees” for the “Have adjustments” field.
  • You can choose the name of the employee by clicking on the drop-down.
  • Then, go to the “Item name” section.
  • Choose the appropriate payroll item from the “Taxes and Liabilities” option.
  • After that, tap on the section “Taxes and Liabilities”, here you will see the “Item Name” column.
  • Here, you can choose the applicable payroll item.
  • Now, enter the amount for adjustment.
  • Now, you can select “Affected Accounts” and press the “OK” button. In addition, ensure the following:
    • Select the “Do not affect accounts” option. This will not change the balance for the expense and liability accounts. The adjustment will only change the YTD amounts on the payroll report.
    • Also, tap on “Affect Liability and Expense Accounts” to adjust the transactions in the expense and liability accounts.
  • You can mind the exact steps for other employees if necessary.
  • When done, tap on the “OK” button.
  • After minding these steps, you can successfully create liability adjustments in QuickBooks Online.

Following these simple steps should fix your liability check for good. If you are unable to perform the above steps on your own, you can get in touch with Intuit experts team to assist you with the step-by-step procedure.

How to Fix ‘Liability payments made in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll’s Write Checks Rather Than Pay Liabilities’:

How to Fix ‘Liability Payments made in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll’s Write Checks Rather Than Pay Liabilities’:

Learn how to locate and delete liability payments made in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll using the Write Checks rather than Pay Liabilities option.

Create a payroll liability schedule if you have regular payroll liabilities that must be paid so that you can do so on time. You can fix your QuickBooks if you paid liabilities by writing checks rather than paying them. To fix your QuickBooks, you can either delete or recreate the payments or change the expense accounts in Pay Liabilities.

Option 1: Delete the payment and recreate it:

Step 1: Create a backup of QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Make a duplicate of your company file.

Step 2: Find your payment and print duplicate checks:

  • Find the following liability payments in Write Checks or the bank register:
  • Select Vendors, then Vendor Centre.
  • Choose the vendor to whom you made the payment.
  • In the Vendor Centre, double-click the check in question (if necessary, adjust the date range by clicking the drop-down menu next to Date).
  • Make copies of the checks to use as a reference when creating the liability check, and make a note of the original date, total, expense account, and check number.
  • To remove a check from the register, go to the top menu and select Edit, then Delete.

 Step 3: Create a liability check to go with each of the checks you made in Write Checks:

  • Navigate to Employees and then to Payroll Centre.
  • Choose Pay Liabilities, then Custom Payments.
  • Set the date range in the Select Date Range for Liabilities window to include all the checks created in Write Checks, then click OK.
  • Select the appropriate payroll item by clicking the checkmark column next to it, and then enter the appropriate amounts in the Amount to pay column.
  • Select Create after reviewing the liability check and entering expenses/penalties.
  • The check number and date should be updated to match the original check created in Write Checks. Alternatively, you can change the check number to C (for correction) and update the check date to match the due date.
  • If necessary, go to the Expenses tab and enter any penalties/interest amounts.
  • Choose the Recalculate option.
  • To save and close the transaction, click Save & Close.
  • Repeat this procedure for each incorrect check.

Option 2: Change the expense account and amount in Pay Liabilities:

Step 1: Create a backup of QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Make a duplicate of your company file.

Step 2: Find the payment:

  • Navigate to Write Checks or Bill Payment and locate the payment using the Previous and Next keys.
  • Take note of the amount paid as well as the expense account used.

Step 3: Update the payment for the liability:

  • Enter the Payroll Center after Employees.
  • Choose Pay Liabilities, then choose the past-due liability that was settled with a check.
  • When you click the View/Pay button, the liability check appears.
  • Go to the Expenses tab.
  • Choose the account used in Write checks by clicking the dropdown arrow in the Account column. Enter a negative number in the Amount field equal to the liability check’s value.

Note: Instead of entering the full amount shown as being owed, enter the actual amount paid through Write Checks as a negative amount if the liability shown as being owed was only partially satisfied.

  • To zero the check amount, click the Recalculate button.
  • Uncheck the box labelled “To Print.” Remove the check number if it appears in the check number field. Date the transaction to match the date of the payment already recorded in the QuickBooks Desktop bank register.
  • Choose Save & Close.
  • You can change the liability account in the Payroll Item if you don’t want to use the Payroll Liabilities module to pay your liabilities in the future. This will correct all previous and upcoming payments.

In QuickBooks, how do you delete a liability adjustment?

A wrong payroll adjustment can sometimes cause discrepancies in your books of accounts, and hence you need to delete a liability adjustment in QuickBooks. The steps you must take are as follows:

  • Navigate to the Payroll Centre.
  • Under the Pay Liabilities tab, select the link Adjust Payroll Liabilities.
  • Tap the Previous button and hold it down until the adjustment you want to delete is removed.
  • Then, in the menu bar, press the Edit button.
  • Select the option to Delete Payroll Liability.  
  • Use the Previous button to view your liability adjustments and then remove them from your account.

How Do I Resolve ‘Unpaid Payroll Liabilities Not Showing in the “Pay Liabilities” Tab’?

QuickBooks removes unpaid liabilities from the payroll centre after about 18 months from their due date to avoid an ever-growing list of unpaid liabilities (typically, sometimes for a few cents, when payment forms suggest a different amount to pay than was withheld).

We recommend that you make a liability adjustment. You can use liability adjustments to correct year-to-date (YTD) or quarter-to-date (QTD) payroll information for employees. I’ve included some steps for creating a liability adjustment below:

  • Select Payroll Taxes and Liabilities from the Employees menu, then click Adjust Payroll Liabilities.
  • Complete the required fields.
  • Choose the employee.
  • Fill out the Taxes and Liabilities sections.
  • Select Accounts Affected, then OK.


We hope this article has guided and assisted you in resolving the problem of ‘How To Fix Pay And Adjust Payroll Liabilities In QuickBooks?’ Are you trying to adjust payroll liabilities in QuickBooks but having no luck so far? So, contact our experts, and they will walk you through the process of adjusting payroll liabilities in QuickBooks.


  1. How would I delete the payroll liabilities adjustments in QuickBooks?

    In the Payroll Center, you locate the “Pay Liabilities tab” from the drop-down menu, there is a connection “Adjust Payroll Liabilities”. In case you click on this connection, then enter your click on the “Previous” button until you get liability to adjust.

  2. How might I reduce my payroll liabilities?

    To reduce your organization’s payroll tax rate burden, you can consider these ways: You can offer tax-exempt fringe advantages rather than more cash. Even though you might need to remunerate employees with rewards, bonuses, or raises, consider them tax-exempt.

  3. Is payroll liabilities be zero out?

    All records of the liability account should be zeroed out at long last since it should be paid. In case net compensation is paid to employees that coordinate with net compensation calculated in payroll then the wages payable record will zero out.

  4. How can I check previous payroll transmissions on the Account Maintenance page?

    💠 Locate Employee
    💠 Click on Send Payroll Data
    💠 Below Item received previous reports display.
    💠 Choose a preferred report and then hit on View.
    💠 Select Print to print the report

  5. What are payroll liabilities?

    The payroll liabilities are the amount you owe for the payroll item that is not yet paid. The liabilities list contains payroll taxes that your company owes for specific payroll processes. It includes 401 (k) plan contributions, health contributions, and child support garnishments.

  6. What are the primary causes of discrepancies in Payroll liabilities in QuickBooks?

    💠 Damaged data in a Company file
    💠 Wrong date in the liability payments
    💠 Not updated Version
    💠 Incorrect account number of monitoring current liability
    💠 If a Paycheck is voided or deleted, then you will view a liability in a payroll liability balance report
    💠Trying to access an inactive account

  7. How do I modify QuickBooks payroll withholding?

    This is how:

    💠 Select Employees from the Payroll menu.
    💠 After selecting the employee’s name, select the pencil icon next to Pay.
    💠 Click the Pencil icon next to the area where the employee’s withholding or W4 is configured.
    💠 In the Extra withholding field, alter the amount.
    💠 Press Save.

  8. How Can I Void a Tax Payment in QuickBooks?

    💠 Return to the Pay Liabilities section.
    💠 Choose the All Payments tab from the Payment History section.
    💠 To open the check, locate it and double-click it.
    💠 Choose Void from the Delete drop-down menu.
    💠 When you’re finished, click Save and Close.

  9. How do I make payroll adjustments?

    💠 Choose Employees from the Workers menu.
    💠 Choose pay check List from the drop-down menu below. Payroll should be processed.
    💠 Change the date range, then choose which paychecks to delete.
    💠 Choose to Delete, then check the box to confirm the deletion.
    💠 Select the Delete paycheck option.

  10. What happens when you adjust payroll liabilities in QuickBooks?

    The Payroll Liabilities Adjustment will affect only the year-to-date amounts on your payroll reports. if you want the transaction to reflect your liability and expense accounts then you need to select the Affect liability and expense accounts option.

  11. How do I clean up payroll liabilities in QuickBooks?

    Below are the mentioned steps to clean up payroll liabilities in QuickBooks, follow all steps carefully:

    1. First, you need to go to the Employees and click on Payroll Taxes and Liabilities.
    2. Then, you need to select Adjust Payroll Liabilities.
    3. After that, click the previous button and find the liability adjustment which you want to delete.
    4. When you find the transaction you want to delete, click the Edit button in the menu bar.

Infographic of Solutions for Zero Out Payroll Liabilities in Quickbooks

Infographic of zero out payroll liabilities in QuickBooks

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