Complete this checklist to ensure you're finishing all of your year end activities with correct payroll information for your employees. 

Step #1:  Install the latest updates for QuickBooks Desktop and turn on Automatic Updates to ensure you get the most recent tax table information.

Step #2: Verify active employee data

  • The end of the year is a good time to review employee information that can affect T4s and, possibly, pay cheques in the next tax year.
  • Be sure to check:
    • Names, addresses, and social insurance numbers
    • Retirement plan eligibility

To review employee data in QuickBooks Desktop:

  1. Go to the Employee Centre and click on the Employees tab.
  2. Click the drop-down button right below the Employees tab, and choose All Employees.
  3. Double-click on the employee name to review the names, addresses, and social insurance numbers for any errors or missing information.
  4. Click the Payroll Info tab.
  5. Make any changes necessary and save the changes by clicking OK.

Step #3: Perform any year-end bonuses

To write a bonus cheque for an employee:

  1. Go to the Employees menu, click Pay Employees, and then click Scheduled Payroll.
  2. Click the payroll schedule you want to run and then click Start Scheduled Payroll.
  3. Make sure that all the employees who're assigned to this payroll schedule are listed. All the employees you want to pay should have a checkmark next to their name.
  4. Click the Open Pay Cheque Detail button.
  5. In the Item Name column of the Earnings section, add the bonus item, and enter the amount of the bonus in the Rate field.
  6. Click Save & Next or Save & Close.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Click Create Pay Cheques.

Step #4: Verify terminated employee data

  • Regardless of the current employee status, any employee who received a pay cheque during the year will receive a T4 for that year.
  • Be sure to check terminated employees for:
    • Names, address, and social insurance number
    • Retirement plan eligibility
  • Be sure that terminated employees are released correctly in QuickBooks Desktop.

To verify that terminated (released) employees are set up correctly:

  1. Go to the Employee Centre and click on the Employees tab.
  2. Change the View to All Employees.
  3. Review the name of the released employee.
  4. Click the Transactions sub-tab.
  5. Double-click the termination (typically the last) pay cheque and click Pay Cheque Detail. Ensure all vacation and sick time has been paid out.
  6. Close out of the pay cheque. Do not save any changes. If you need to pay out vacation or sick time, create a new cheque for this amount and deliver to the employee.
  7. Double-click the name of the released employee to access the Edit Employee window.
  8. Click the Employment Info tab.
  9. Verify that all information is current and that the Release date is correct.
  10. Click OK to close the Edit Employee window.

Step #5: Verify and review benefit information for your employees

  • Before you create pay cheques in the new tax year, confirm that all compensation and benefit types are correct, and that the rates for each is correct.

To review benefit information:

  1. Go to the Lists menu and click Payroll Item List.
  2. Double-click the item to review the setup.
  3. Click Finish to save any changes you have made.

To review any benefits that have been added to the employee defaults or to an employee record:

  1. Go to the Employee Centre and click on the Employees tab.
  2. Double-click the employee name.
  3. Click the Payroll Info tab.
  4. Review the information in the Additions, Deductions, and Company Contributions section. If you need to edit the information, click the field and make the edit and then click OK.
  5. Click OK to save your changes.

Any future pay cheques created for that employee will include the new information. For more information about benefits and allowances, visit the CRA website.

Step #6: Review employee wages, sick time, and accrued vacation

Review wage and benefit levels

  • Before your first payroll of the new year, you may want to take the time to review wages and benefits for all active employees.
  1. Go to the Employee Centre and click on the Employees tab.
  2. Double-click the name of an employee to access the Edit Employee window.
  3. Click the Payroll Info tab.
  4. Ensure the items, rates, and limits are correct in the Earnings and Additions, Deductions and Company Contributions sections.
  5. Click OK to close the Edit Employee window.

Review sick time and accrued vacation

  1. Go to the Employee Centre and click on the Employees tab.
  2. Double-check the name of the employee to access the employee record.
  3. Click the Payroll Info tab.
  4. Click the Vacation Pay button and review the settings.
  5. Click OK to save any changes and close the Vacation window.
  6. Click the Accrual Hours button and review the settings. Click OK to save any changes and close the Accrual Hours window.
  7. Click OK to close the Edit Employee window.

Step #7: Generating Year End Forms

  • The end of the year is always a busy time for your business. We'll help you prepare by showing you how to fill in and file tax forms, so you can close out the tax year right.
  • T4 forms
    • In January or February, you need to create T4s for your employees (you can print or email them) and the CRA (EFILE). You must file your T4 slips by the last day of February following the calendar year to which the T4 slips apply.
    • In QuickBooks Desktop, go to the Employees menu, select Payroll Forms, and then Process T4s to get started or see Process, print & EFILE T4 forms for more detailed instructions.
  • RL-1 forms
    • Important: If you have employees working in the province of Quebec, see Process, print & EFILE RL-1 forms for more detailed information on filing Relevé 1 slips with Revenu Québec.
  • T4A & T5018 forms

Step #8: Important Dates

  • If you have employees, you have to file a T4 (and RL-1 for employees who work in Quebec) and forward information slips to your employees each year by the last day of February following the calendar year to which the information returns apply.


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