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    Activating a payroll service purchased from a retail store

    Article ID: 1001214


    You may have bought the QuickBooks Payroll in a box or purchased the payroll service from a retail store. If you are a new user of the service, follow the instructions in this article to activate the payroll service in QuickBooks.

    If you are a current user of a QuickBooks Payroll Service, or if you have an existing payroll subscription, and you just bought the payroll in a box from a retail store, please contact us.

    All Intuit Do-It-Yourself Payroll Services sold by our retail partners will let you create paychecks for limited employees only but you may easily pay more (additional fees apply). Please read the service and support policies and important notes printed on the box.


    To activate the payroll service:

    In QuickBooks, go to Employees > Payroll > Install Payroll from Box.

    If you do not see the option, you may need to update QuickBooks. If you are still not able to see the option after updating QuickBooks, please contact us.

    Complete the fields in the Payroll License and Product Information page.

    Your QuickBooks Payroll license number is displayed on a brightly colored sticker on the folder inside your box. The product number is included in the directions on the folder. These numbers work together to identify and verify your Payroll subscription and to produce a valid service key, which you will use to unlock your payroll subscription in QuickBooks.

    Click Continue.

    Complete the fields in the Payroll Company Legal Information section. All fields are required unless specified as optional.

    The Payroll Company creates paychecks for its employees, and its Federal employer ID number (EIN) appears on the tax filings.

    Complete the fields in the Payroll Company DBA Information section.

    Your DBA is a declaration stating that you intend to conduct your business under the name you've chosen. A DBA name is also called a fictitious business name, an assumed business name, or a trade name. If you are operating a business as a sole proprietorship under your own name (for example, Joe Smith Plumbing), you do not need to file a DBA. Check with your state government, city or town hall, or your local chamber of commerce for unique requirements.

    Complete the fields in the Payroll Company Administration Information section.

    The Payroll administrator is the primary contact person for payroll questions at your company. This person can be someone other than the QuickBooks administrator or the company owner.

    Click Continue.

    Read the Subscription Information.

    Enter the payment and contact information needed, and click Continue.

    The payroll you have purchased is for 1 year subscription, and for limited employees. The credit card you enter will be used for the following:

    • Renewal of the subscription - the subscription will automatically renew a year after activating your payroll.  You will be notified at least 30 days in advance prior to the automatic renewal of your service.
    • Per Employee Fee - depends on the number of employees that you pay in a month, and is debited the following month. Example: The per employee fee for the employees paid in January will be debited on your billing day of the following month (February).

    Log in to your Intuit Account.

    Click the Start Payroll button in the Confirmation.




    I have quickbooks pro 2012. I purchase a basic payroll for 3 employees from a retail store. I can not obtain a service key because my quickbooks does not have the option to install from the box. My quickbooks is up to date. How do I obtain a service key to renew the payroll?


    Joey 7/8/2013


    Go to employees->Manage Service key->Remove (existing account) then the install from box will be there.



    I get to where you enter information (step 4) and click on next and it just says please wait. I waited for over 30 mins and it did nothing. Why is this not working?


    Jo Ann2/6/2013


    Hi Tammy,

    I am an Intuit employee and saw your comment. Eventually you should receive an error code. It can take awhile for the error to come through depending on your connection speed. Once you have the error, try searching our payroll help site for that specific error code. I hope this helps. Thank you for posting a comment.




    I had the same problem using Internet Explorer 9. If you are as well, then click the Compatibility View logo in the address bar on top (looks like a sheet of paper torn in half, just the the right of the padlock symbol, both of which are in the same place where you'd type in a web address for the browser). When I did that and reloaded the page I was able to move past the endless "Please Wait".


    Jo Ann2/11/2013


    Hi Milo,

    Thanks for your help suggestion to Tammy!



    I cannot get a payroll service key number. It said I am already registered but I never recieved a key number to activate it. I tried to activate payroll and it says I have to pay. I just purchased this at a store and it does not work.




    Hi Lisa,

    You may have not entered an EIN when you activated the service online. Please Contact Us to get a service key. We are sorry if it got you worried. You should still be able to use the service and turn it on in your QuickBooks.

    Thank you for submitting a comment and sharing your experience.



    I get a message that based on the information provided, I am unable to proceed. I entered all the information including my credit card information. First year is suppose to be free but I can't seem to get the key to activate this software.




    Hi Terry,

    I wonder what the full message was. Could it be that you have an existing payroll service? I suggest you Contact Us so a rep can help you figure it out, and activate the service.

    Thank you for posting a comment!

    Comments can not be added at this time.

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