Learn how to enter your payroll service key in QuickBooks Desktop.

When you purchase QuickBooks Payroll, you're assigned a 16-digit service key that is specific to your EIN and payroll service. To activate the payroll service in your QuickBooks file you must enter this key. We show you how.

Get your service key

You'll usually receive your service key in the mail. 

If you don't have your service key, use our automated Service Key Retrieval tool. You'll need to sign in using your Intuit Account login. If you are unable to retrieve your service key using this tool, contact us.

The automated tool may not work if:

  • There are multiple payroll orders in our system for your company.
  • You purchased your payroll product from a retail store.
  • Business phone number you provided did not match what Intuit has on file

(If you are trying to add a new EIN to your existing subscription, see Add an EIN to existing Basic, Standard or Enhanced Payroll subscription.)

Enter your service key

  1. Open the QuickBooks Service Keys window.
  2. In your company file, choose Employees, then My Payroll Service. If you do have Payroll set up, choose Manage Payroll Service. If you don't, choose Add Payroll service.
    manage service key in QuickBooks Desktop
  3. If you don't have a payroll service in your company file, choose Employees, then Payroll, then Enter Payroll Service Key.
    Enter payroll service key in QuickBooks Desktop
  4. In the QuickBooks Service Keys window: If you're not using the disk delivery service, select Add, if no payroll service is listed. Select Edit if a payroll service is listed.
    User-added image
  5. Service Keys window: If you are using the disk delivery service: Select Edit. Take note of the service key.
    Add new payroll service key in QuickBooks Desktop
  6. Remove payroll service key in QuickBooks Desktop
    edit service key to view service key number in QuickBooks Desktop
  7. Select Add, and continue with the steps below.
    remove payroll service key in QuickBooks Desktop
  8. Enter your service key in the Service Key field. (If you have the disk delivery service, you'll also need to enter the latest disk delivery key that you received.)
    User-added image
  9. If you have the disk delivery service, you'll also need to enter the disk delivery key that you received.
    Add new service key in QuickBooks Desktop
  10. Select Next and then Finish.
  11. When the Payroll Update message appears, select OK.
  12. Verify the Service Status shows Active and then select OK.Enter service key in QuickBooks Service Sign-Up window
    Restart QuickBooks Desktop. Now you are ready to start setting up payroll in QuickBooks!