How to Activate QuickBooks Payroll?

After installing QuickBooks Payroll, users need to activate it through the license key acquired from Intuit or a certified dealer. In this article, we have detailed steps on activating QuickBooks payroll desktop. Further, you can also find information about retrieving your service key, in case you have lost it.

Note: If you have purchased your software from certified dealers or any other third party, then make sure to get your unique service key. Without this key, you won’t be able to activate the software. We recommend that you purchase your software only from Intuit or their certified dealers.

To activate QuickBooks Payroll, follow the steps provided below:

  • Install and open QuickBooks Payroll
  • Go to the menu bar and click on employees. If you can’t view the menu bar, then press Alt.
  • Select Payroll from the provided options
  • Select Enter Service Key
  • Options will be provided according to your setup. If you already have an active subscription, then choose to add this file. By doing so, you will extend your payroll activation. Click on Add File, if and only if you have an active payroll subscription and want to you it on this desktop. Else, click on skip.
  • A new window will open with the title Manage Service Key. Hit the Add button
  • Enter the Service Key provided to you by your dealer.
  • Click on Next
  • Wait for the confirmation message. Once your subscription has been verified, click on finish.

You have successfully activated your QB Payroll Desktop/ Mac software. Update the software after activating it. By doing so, you will get access to all the recent tax tables, withholding tables, tax forms and so on. Also, new payroll items and tax tracking types are introduced on a regular basis. Trust us when we say that you don’t want to miss out on all these updates.

Requirements and Limitations:

  • You must use the same registered copy of QuickBooks Desktop, on the same machine, to process payroll for all companies on a single payroll subscription.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Payroll can ONLY support one company data file per EIN. Attempts to use multiple company files under the same EIN and payroll subscription may cause errors.
  • The contact information and payroll administrator for the payroll subscription will be the same for all companies you add to a single subscription.
  • If you pay your employees with Direct Deposit (DD), you can have multiple companies (separate data files with different EINs) with DD on the same DIY Payroll subscription.
  • Each QuickBooks Desktop Payroll service has a limit on the number of companies you can add to a single subscription. These limits are based on company data files, not number of employees.

Note: If you purchased a subscription directly from Intuit prior to creating a payroll company file, the subscription number will not be available when you click Use My Existing Payroll Service.

If you have this scenario, follow the instructions provided in the next topic.

You can purchase the software from internet. There are multiple payment options available. After purchasing, you can either download the software over the internet or request a delivery. Software will be delivered via a disk with all the necessary files. You can get your service key by entering information provided at the time of purchase. If you purchased from any third party, then contact them to get your service key.

You can go to this Link for retrieving your service key, if you purchased the software directly from Intuit. Just sign in with your intuit account and retrieve all the information about your purchases including your service key.

To know more, or to get QuickBooks Payroll activated, feel free to contact QuickBooks Payroll Support phone number : +1855-481-5338 (Toll Free).


1. I have lost my service key. How can i retrieve it?

To retrieve your service key, go to this Link. Sign in with your intuit account and retrieve information including your service key. If you purchased from third party retailer, then contact them for the service key.

2. My service key is expired. What should i do?

You can update your subscription after purchasing another service key.

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