CeePrompt! Computer Connection

Originally published 10-28-02

Clock ticking on Intuit's tax tables

 This is a heads-up for QuickBooks 6.0 and QuickBooks 99 users who rely on Intuit's tax tables for their payroll needs. Be advised that the company will no longer support these versions after the end of the year. Most registered users already have received written notice from Intuit, but it's my experience that some are still dragging their feet in hopes of some last minute miracle.

There will be no tax table updates for QuickBooks 6.0 and 99 after Dec. 31, 2002. You can prepare your payroll by manually calculating and entering payroll withholdings for each paycheck, otherwise you must upgrade to QuickBooks 2002 to continue using the Basic Payroll Service, now called "Do-It-Yourself Payroll."

In a Jan. 24, 2000 column I advised users to hang on dearly to these versions and not upgrade to QuickBooks 2000 lest they be forced to maintain an ongoing Internet connection to verify their paid subscription before each payroll run. Since that time Intuit has revised its methods of delivering their tax table service, but you'll still have to purchase a program update to continue using their current tables. You also may need to upgrade you computer system and add Internet connectivity for certain QuickBooks features.

QuickBooks has been around for many years and versions 6.0 and 99 still run well on older Pentium systems with 32MB of RAM. The new system requirements for QuickBooks 2002 are a 350 MHz Pentium II processor with 64MB of RAM.Realize this is a minimum system requirement, meaning that QuickBooks may run slow on a system with this configuration and more processing muscle would be ideal.

For the small business doing routine accounting tasks QuickBooks Basic 2002 should suit your needs just fine. The upgrade price is $100 for the software plus another $129 for the annual tax tables. Intuit also offers QuickBooks Premier 2002 ($300 upgrade) and QuickBooks Pro 2002 ($180 upgrade) that offer more advanced functions such as estimating, time tracking and job costing. New to all versions of QuickBooks is the ability to e-mail invoices and statements.

Also new this year, Intuit will reinstate their tax table updates on diskette. Previously, the company required all tax table subscribers to renew their tables via the Internet, but with QuickBooks 2002, you can now elect to receive your tax tables by mail on diskette or download them online. If you don't want to be bothered with payroll chores, Intuit will process your payroll for a fee.

If you're staunchly opposed to upgrading your QuickBooks 6.0 or QuickBooks 99 but you still need to pay your employees, you might consider QuickPayroll. Previously known as QuickPay, QuickPayroll is a standalone payroll program designed to integrate with Quicken, not QuickBooks. The software is free, provided you subscribe to the tax table service for $99 annually and the system requirements are less stringent for QuickPayroll than for the new QuickBooks 2002.

QuickPayroll provides all the functionality of the payroll module included with QuickBooks, except that it's a standalone product, rather than integrated into the bookkeeping software. It even looks similar to the payroll routine in QuickBooks. If you decide on this route, you'd run your payroll and liabilities checks in QuickPayroll and then add these entries manually to your QuickBooks register so that your bank statements will reconcile.

It may be a hassle to fix something that isn't broken by upgrading a perfectly good bookkeeping system, but Intuit insures that their tax table subscriptions are the "best way to stay compliant with changing federal and state payroll regulations." If you want payroll with QuickBooks, you'll have to upgrade.

Cathi Schuler owns a computer literacy training/consulting company, Cee Prompt! She is a co-author of computer textbooks and can be reached by e-mail at cschuler@uop.edu or cschuler@ceeprompt.com or by mail c/o The Record, P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201. She is on the Internet at: http://www.ceeprompt.com. Click here for past archived columns.  


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