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QuickBooks Error PS038 - Troubleshooting Payroll Issues
QuickBooks Error PS038 - Troubleshooting Payroll Issues Talk to a ProAdvisor
Home » QuickBooks Error PS038 | 6 Instant Solutions You Can’t Skip

QuickBooks Error PS038 | 6 Instant Solutions You Can’t Skip

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Do you get the QuickBooks error PS038 whenever you try to run payroll or update the tax table? The users might see the error code PS038 when running payroll operations, downloading tax table updates, or when the paychecks get stuck as “Online to Send”.

In this blog, we will explore different reasons why you run into QuickBooks payroll error PS038. Moreover, we will walk you through the tested methods to troubleshoot the payroll issues.

This guide will guide you with the detailed steps to resolve QuickBooks error PS038. However, the QB errors can be tricky and time-consuming. To prevent more delay in workflow, we recommend you reach out to a QB ProAdvisor, who will take care of the issue for you. Dial 1(800) 580-5375 now!

QuickBooks Error PS038 – An Overview

QuickBooks Error PS038 is a payroll error that might show up when you try to file your payroll forms, update payroll tax tables, or when the paychecks get stuck as “Online to Send”.

Some of the problems you might face are:

  • Cannot run payroll
  • Unable to update tax table

You might see PS038 error messages on your screen, such as:

“You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription.  We strongly recommend that you go online again before 02/16/2019. [PS038]”

PS038 prevents you from carrying out payroll operations or downloading payroll updates. This is why it is important to fix it as soon as possible, as you won’t be able to send paychecks.

Why Do You See QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038?

Let us see why you might see payroll error PS038 in QuickBooks Desktop. The reasons can be:

1.     Outdated QuickBooks Desktop

An outdated QuickBooks Desktop might often be a culprit that gives way to QuickBooks payroll issues such as PS038. Conversely, updating QuickBooks Desktop can often fix minor components and other issues and resolve payroll update errors.

2.     Corrupted QuickBooks Data File

QuickBooks Error PS038 often stems from corrupt or damaged payroll data in your QB company file. We will see how to fix the corruption or damage in the payroll data in this blog.

3.     Invalid Employee information

Another reason that you see the payroll error PS038 on your screen is the discrepancies or errors in the employee information, such as in the Social Security Number or tax withholding information. Therefore, make sure that the employee information you entered in QuickBooks payroll is correct.

4.     Inactive payroll subscription

You might be aware that you need an active payroll subscription to carry out payroll operations in QuickBooks Desktop. If your payroll subscription has expired or you haven’t subscribed to QuickBooks payroll, you might encounter the PS038 error.

5.     An Issue with Payroll Updates

A glitch in the QuickBooks payroll update process or a technical issue can be the reason why you encounter the error PS038. We will see how to verify if there’s an actual update payroll in progress in this blog.

6.     Firewall or Security software

To download the payroll updates, QuickBooks needs to connect to the internet and download the update package from Intuit’s official website. However, if a firewall setting or security software such as an antivirus blocks QuickBooks from running or its access to the internet, it can’t download payroll updates.

7.     Internet Connection Issues

QuickBooks needs a stable and fast network connection to download payroll updates. However, if the internet connection is poor or unstable, it will interrupt the payroll updates.

8.     Incorrect PSID or EIN

If you have entered an incorrect Employer Identification Number (EIN) or incorrect PSID in the company file, you might run into issues when sending paychecks or downloading payroll updates. This is why you might see QuickBooks error PS038 on your screen.

9.     Damaged QuickBooks Installation

If there’s damage in QuickBooks installation files or a faulty or incomplete installation of QuickBooks, this can trigger the PS038 error. We will see how to diagnose and troubleshoot this in this guide.

How to Resolve QuickBooks error PS038 in QuickBooks Desktop

This section contains detailed steps for troubleshooting the QuickBooks error PS038. Follow these steps in order, and if you face an issue or have a query, don’t hesitate to reach out to our ProAdvisors.

1.     Update QuickBooks to the Latest Release

Updating QuickBooks Desktop often fixes minor issues that can resolve payroll error PS038. Follow this article to learn how you can update your QuickBooks Desktop to the latest release.

2.     Backup Your Company File

Before you carry out the troubleshooting methods that follow, we strongly recommend you create a backup of your company file. This ensures that your precious company data remains safe, and you can restore a copy of it when required.

Here’s how you can create a backup of your company file in QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Open QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Tap on the File menu and click on Switch to Single-user Mode. This switches your QuickBooks Desktop from multi-user mode to single-user mode.
  • Now, tap on the File menu again.
  • Hover the cursor over the Back up Company option. Choose to Create Local Backup.
  • Now, in the window you see, click on Local Backup, followed by Next.
  • You will see the Local Backup Only section. Tap on Browse and choose where you want to save the backup of the company file.
  • You may choose the number of backups you want to keep. This step isn’t mandatory.
  • Now, QuickBooks will run a test to ensure that your company file is in the right shape.
  • Once done, tap on OK.
  • Now, click on Save it now, followed by Next.

Allow the QuickBooks to create a backup company file. You will receive a confirmation message when it’s done.

3.     Send Payroll Data

Once you have updated your QuickBooks company file and created a local backup, let us move to sending payroll or usage data. Follow the steps listed below for the same:

  • Open QuickBooks Desktop and tap on Employees.
  • Navigate to My Payroll Service and choose Send Usage Data.
  • Alternatively, if you can’t see the above options, you can navigate to Employees, followed by Send Payroll Data.
  • When the Send/Receive Payroll Data window appears, tap on Send All.
  • Provide the payroll service pin when asked for.

If QuickBooks was successful in sending the payroll data, run the payroll updates. However, if QuickBooks error PS038 persists, continue to the next step.

If QuickBooks was unsuccessful in sending the payroll data, reach out to our QB ProAdvisors.

4.     Find Out the Stuck Paychecks

In this step, we will identify the stuck paychecks and take note of them.

  • Tap on Edit and choose Find.
  • Now, click on the Advanced tab.
  • You will see the Filter list in the Choose Filter section. Choose Detail Level from the Filter list.
  • Now, tap on Summary Only.
  • Return to the Filter list and choose Online Status.
  • Tap on Online to Send.
  • Now, click on Find. This will bring the paychecks that are yet to be sent to Intuit.
  • Note down the amount you see against the “Number of matches”.

Proceed to the next step.

5.     Run the Verify and Rebuild Data Utility

Close the Find window and run the verify data utility in QuickBooks Desktop, which will fetch the stuck paychecks.

Run Verify Data

  • Close the Find window if it is open.
  • Click on Window and tap on Close All.
  • Choose File and tap on Utilities.
  • Now, choose Verify Data.
  • If you see the message, QuickBooks detected no problems with your data, which means your data is clean, and you don’t need to run rebuild data.
  • If you see an error message, search on the internet for how to resolve the specific error message or reach out to our experts.
  • If you see the message, Your data has lost integrity, it means there’s data damage in the file. In this case, proceed to rebuild your data, which we will discuss now.

Run Rebuild Data

Run rebuild data utility if you find there are data damages in the company file. Here are the steps  for the same:

  • Choose File and tap on Utilities.
  • Click on Rebuild Data.
  • Now, QuickBooks will guide you in making a backup before you rebuild your data. It is mandatory to create a backup. Tap on OK.
  • Choose the location where you will be storing the backup company file. Enter a name for the file and ensure you aren’t replacing an existing backup file.
  • Click on Save.
  • When the rebuild completes, you will get a message stating Rebuild has been completed.
  • Now verify the data again to check for additional damages. 
  • Choose File and tap on Utilities.
  • Now, choose Verify Data.
  • If you find more damage, you will need to fix it manually. Follow the solution no. 4 in this guide on how to fix data-related issues.

Once done, restart your QuickBooks Desktop and run the payroll operations or download the updates. If you see QuickBooks error PS038, carry out the next troubleshooting method to fix it.

6.     Fixing the Stuck Paycheck

We found the stuck paychecks in step 4. Let us now toggle them to resolve the PS038 payroll error.

  • Open the oldest paycheck that’s stuck.
  • Tap on the Paycheck Detail button.
  • You will see the Review Paycheck window. In the Earnings field, input the same earnings items as the last earnings item in the list. For instance, if the last item in the list is Hourly Rate, you should add another earnings item named Hourly Rate to the list.
  • When you see the Net Pay Locked message, choose No.
  • Check and ensure the tax amounts and net pay don’t change. Tap on OK.
  • In case you see a Past Transaction message, click on Yes.
  • Finally, tap on Save & Close. This will close the paycheck.
  • When you see the Recording Transaction warning message, tap on Yes.
  • Now, open the paycheck once again and tap on the Paycheck Detail button.
  • Delete the duplicate earnings item you added just a bit ago in the Earnings Section.
  • Check and ensure the tax amounts and net pay don’t change. Tap on OK.

Repeat the above steps and toggle all the stuck paychecks you have found. When done, scroll up to Step 3 and send the payroll date. After that, download the payroll update again.

However, if the issue persists even after carrying out these steps, we strongly recommend you reach out to a QB ProAdvisor.

Other Scenarios When You Should Use The Above Troubleshooting Steps

Let us now look at some unique issues some users faced related to QuickBooks error PS038.

1.     Continuously have to toggle paychecks online to send to update payroll

A user encounters QuickBooks error PS038 whenever they try to update the tax table. They try a workaround that works, which is by toggling the stuck paychecks. However, every time they download a tax table update, they need to toggle stuck paychecks.

Clearly, this is too much work and needs to be fixed for once and for all.

To fix the PS038 error from the root, follow the above troubleshooting methods in this guide.

2.     Too Many Items Causing Payroll Error PS038

As we saw in this guide, if you encounter a payroll error, you should look for and find out if there are stuck paychecks.

However, sometimes, when you find out the stuck paychecks, you realize there are many stuck paychecks. It becomes hectic to go to each stuck paycheck and edit the details manually. Toggling the stuck paychecks will fix the issue, but it can be quite time-consuming.

Contact an Expert

The above blog discusses how to resolve QuickBooks error PS038. However, the payroll error can often be tricky to get rid of. Only an accounting tech expert can help with these situations as only they have the required proficiency and the expertise it sometimes takes to fix the QuickBooks issues from the root cause. Dial 1800 580-5375 and talk to a QuickBooks ProAdvisor to get the payroll error resolved once and for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I fix the PS038 error in QuickBooks?

Ans- Fixing QuickBooks error PS038 is a comprehensive process that involves carrying out multiple troubleshooting steps. We have compiled a detailed guide on how to resolve payroll issues in QuickBooks. Scroll up and follow these steps in the guide to get your QB working fine now.

Q. Why is QuickBooks unsuccessful in sending payroll data after rebuilding?

Ans- The QuickBooks will be unable to send payroll data if the error PS038 persists after rebuilding. Follow this guide on how to resolve the payroll error PS038.

Q. How do I fix the paychecks stuck as ‘Online to Send’?

Ans- If your paychecks are stuck as online to send, you will need to go to the individual paychecks and toggle them to fix the issue. Start with the individual paycheck first. Go to the troubleshooting step 6 in this guide to know how to toggle the stuck paychecks ‘Online to Send’.

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