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QuickBooks Error PS038: A Impactful Troubleshooting Guide

QuickBooks error PS038 can scare a user trying to run their payroll operations or send paychecks online. Running payroll requires the most recent updates of payroll tax tables installed in QuickBooks Desktop. While doing so, you might get an error message that reads, “You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before mm/dd/yyyy. [PS038]”. It is a common error that several users face while updating or processing paychecks in QuickBooks.

Error code PS038 was a bug in the QuickBooks application that was fixed with the launch of QuickBooks 2018. Still, recently several users have reported getting the same error, and it indicates that PS038 has made a comeback in the QuickBooks application. With this article, we will analyze the reasons for the occurrence of QuickBooks payroll update error PS038 and quick solutions that can be implemented to resolve it.

Has QuickBooks error PS038 made it challenging for you to run payroll quickly and efficiently? Fret not and dial 1.855.738.2784 to reach our team of certified experts and receive professional help. Our team will assist you in getting out of this chaos immediately without affecting your operations and data.

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What is QuickBooks Payroll Update Error PS038?

QuickBooks payroll error PS038 appears when a user tries to send paychecks online, and the paychecks are stuck as “Online to send.” Payroll cannot be processed if there are paychecks stuck in the system, and thus resolving the error becomes the need of the hour.

QuickBooks Payroll Update Error PS038
QuickBooks Payroll Update Error PS038

The QuickBooks error PS038 message reads, “You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before mm/dd/yyyy. [PS038].” Due to this error, users find it troubling to run payroll, download tax tables, and process paychecks smoothly and efficiently.

To begin troubleshooting, users must first learn the reasons behind this error. Then, they can begin troubleshooting after backing up the QuickBooks data to safeguard it against damage and corruption.

Why Do Users Get QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038?

You can analyze and detect the following grounds for QB error PS038 on your system:

  1. Malware or viruses can bring forward significant damages, including payroll error PS038.
  2. Using an outdated QuickBooks application can trigger the PS038 error.
  3. Corrupted company files can bring forth QuickBooks payroll error PS038.
  4. If your internet connection is poor, you’ll face the error PS038 QuickBooks.
  5. Windows Firewall may protect your system from QuickBooks, in turn restricting the application from functioning correctly.
  6. If you haven’t updated QuickBooks payroll and downloaded the latest tax tables, you may see the PS038 QuickBooks error.
  7. If you’ve validated the payroll subscription after restoring the current QuickBooks payroll update, you can see QB error PS038.
  8. QB error PS038 may arise due to stuck paychecks.
  9. Third-party programs and antivirus applications may lead to errors by restricting and interfering with QB’s operations.
  10. Entering incorrect billing details or credit card information can lead to this issue.
  11. In extreme cases, the QuickBooks installation may have gone corrupt or damaged.
  12. Sometimes, when you’ve already installed the payroll update and keep trying to do it again, you may get this error.
  13. You may face this error because your payroll data is corrupt or damaged.
  14. The user trying to access the payroll update may not have sufficient privileges.
  15. Windows Registry Issues may be preventing QuickBooks from running correctly.
  16. Inaccurate date and time settings might be causing stuck paychecks on QuickBooks desktop.
  17. Your system may have closed abruptly due to a power cut or related reasons, causing trouble getting updates.
  18. If your system’s hard drives are corrupted, damaged, or carry insufficient space, you’ll face QuickBooks error PS038.
  19. Corrupt Network Data (.ND) or Transaction Log (.TLG) issues may lead to QB error PS038.

How to Resolve QuickBooks Error PS038?

If the reasons for the presence of the PS038 error in QuickBooks Desktop are clear, let’s move forward with effective solutions to rectify the issue. However, before doing so, consider the following crucial points:


  1. Make sure to back up your company file and payroll data before troubleshooting the PS038 error in QuickBooks.
  2. Your QuickBooks Desktop application must have the latest updates of the payroll tax table installed.
  3. You should not attempt to use the Rebuild Data tool more than two times.
  4. Check if you’re using QB in single or multi-user mode.
  5. Further, if you aren’t tech-savvy, you can consult QB technicians to assist you in the situation.

Now, let’s jump into resolving the ps038 QuickBooks error:

Steps to Rectify QuickBooks PS038 Update Error

If PS038 in QuickBooks Desktop can be fixed by performing various troubleshooting steps mentioned below in this article. Then follow the steps in the given sequence for a quick resolution.

Solution 1: Update Your QuickBooks Application

You must ensure that the QuickBooks version you use is the latest and up-to-date to resolve payroll error PS038. The steps involved in updating QuickBooks include:

Update QuickBooks
Update QuickBooks
  1. First of all, launch the QB application and navigate to the Help menu.
  2. Here, choose the Update QuickBooks Desktop button and hit Update Now at the top-right corner.
  3. Select Get Updates, and after the download of the update finishes, close and reopen your application to verify the PS038 error QuickBooks Desktop.

Solution 2: After Updating QuickBooks, Try Sending Payroll

Attempt to send payroll and see if you can do it PS038 in QuickBooks desktop error-free:

  1. Click My Payroll Services under the Employees tab and then click Send Usage Data.
  2. If you can send data successfully, then update the payroll again.
  3. If you are still getting the same error message, follow the steps given below or contact Payroll Helpline Number USA at 1.855.738.2784.

Solution 3: Check and Find the Paycheck Stuck as “Online to Send”

Locate and rectify the paychecks stuck in processing due to QuickBooks payroll update error ps038:

  1. Under the Edit tab, select Find and choose the Advanced.
  2. Under the Choose Filter tab, look for the Filter list and select Detail Level.
  3. Select Summary Only.
  4. Under the Choose Filter tab, look for the Filter list and select Online Status.
  5. From the drop-down list on the right-hand side, select Online to send.
  6. Click the Find button to check all the unsent paychecks and PS038 error payroll

Solution 4: Run Verify and Rebuild Data Tool

The verify and rebuild data utilities aim to resolve problems with the company file. Use these in-built tools from the File menu and rectify the ps038 error in QuickBooks desktop:

Run Verify and Rebuild Data Tool
Run Verify and Rebuild Data Tool
  • Make sure to take a backup before running the Rebuild Data tool.
  • Click the Rebuild Now button, as shown in the screenshot.
  • After the rebuild process is completed, you can see the status of stuck paychecks.
  • If rebuild cannot fix all the stuck paychecks and you can’t update Payroll due to PS038 QuickBooks Desktop.

Solution 5: Verify the Information on Paychecks Stuck in QuickBooks

Check the details given on paychecks stuck in QB when you get QuickBooks error code ps038:

  1. Follow the steps from the “Check and Find Paycheck Stuck as Online to Send” section to get the list of all the paychecks that are stuck in QuickBooks.
  2. Now open the first paycheck from the list and click the Paycheck Detail option.
  3. Once you get the Review Paycheck window, go to the Earnings tab.
  4. Now look for the last item in the list and add it as a new item again.
  5. This will prompt QuickBooks to display a Net Pay Locked window where you need to click No to close it.
  6. You will need to choose the Rate Field for the item you have just added in the fourth step.
  7. Make sure there are no changes in the Net Pay and taxes, and click OK.
  8. Click Yes if the Past Transactions message pops up.
  9. Hit the Save & Close option and click Yes when the Recording Transactions message appears.
  10. Re-open the paycheck and click the Paycheck Details button.
  11. Delete the item that was added in the fourth step.
  12. Once again, make sure there are no changes in the taxes and Net Pay and click OK.
  13. Finally, click Save & Close to save the changes.
  14. Follow the same instructions for each paycheck and check if the error is now resolved.

Solution 6: Use Payroll Data and Company File Backup

Difficulties in accessing payroll data or company files may arise due to QuickBooks error PS038. In such cases, using backup may help run QuickBooks smoothly.

  1. Head to the File tab in QB’s main menu.
  2. Click Backup Company, followed by the Local Backup option.
  3. Navigate to Local Backup when the Create Backup page emerges on the screen.
  4. Opt for the Options section, then view the Backup Options window.
  5. Tap Browse to save this file in this step.
  6. Hit OK to validate the file and save it in your chosen location.
  7. Ensure to select a local drive to save your backup.
  8. Check if the QB error PS038 remains.

Solution 7: Run QuickBooks as an Administrator

You need to run QuickBooks with sufficient privileges to install QuickBooks payroll updates in your system. If you don’t know how to perform this solution, here are the steps:

Run QuickBooks as an Administrator
Run QuickBooks as an Administrator
  1. Locate the QuickBooks icon on your desktop or programs.
  2. Right-tap the icon and select the Run as Administrator option.
  3. Start using QuickBooks without errors and run payroll.

Carefully follow each step mentioned in the article to rectify QuickBooks error PS038, or you can contact us directly for help by dialing our Payroll Number 1.855.738.2784.


Why am I facing a QuickBooks PS038 payroll error?

You may be getting the QuickBooks payroll PS038 error due to the following reasons:
You haven’t installed the latest payroll update.
Your QuickBooks application is not up-to-date.
If a damaged company file may result in a payroll PS038 error.
This issue may arise while validating the payroll subscription and recovering the latest payroll QB updates.
Virus and malware infections may bring the PS038 error to your screen.
Corrupt and damaged .ND and .TLG files

How does the PS038 error affect your system?

When QuickBooks payroll PS038 error affects your system, you will experience the following:
If your system’s performance is degraded, the speed will slow down.
It hinders the payroll’s update process.
You may get stuck or struggle with sending paychecks online.
The error can inhibit you from processing payroll, causing delays in paying employees and tax compliance issues.
If not resolved promptly, the error PS038 may result in faulty payroll calculations, potentially causing discrepancies in employee paychecks and tax filings.

When does QB error PS038 emerge?

All PSXXX-related errors arise when you’re undertaking QuickBooks Payroll updates and other operations. Some common scenarios in which you might encounter error PS038 include:
1. Running Payroll: You may encounter this error when running payroll for your employees.
2. Downloading Payroll Updates: This can occur during downloading or installing payroll and tax table updates.
3. Creating or Opening Paychecks: When creating or accessing employee paychecks, an error PS038 may appear.
4. Submitting Payroll Forms: Error PS038 can surface while submitting payroll tax forms or making payroll-related filings.

Why am I suffering from QuickBooks error PS038?

The reasons why QB error PS038 needs your attention are as follows:
The old QB version can cause QB error PS038
A sluggish internet connection may lead to update interruptions
Virus and malware may attack the process.
Using an outdated or incorrect tax table can trigger the error.
Data corruption or damage within your payroll files can lead to PS038.
An incomplete or interrupted update process can cause an error.
Incomplete employee data may contribute to PS038.
Problems with your computer’s hardware or software can also lead to this error.

What does QuickBooks error PS038 mean?

QuickBooks error PS038 interrupts your payroll, tax table, or desktop updates. A message accompanying this code clarifies the problem. It can happen when the software encounters troubles updating payroll tax tables or processing payroll transactions. Resolving error PS038 is essential to ensure accurate payroll calculations and compliance with tax regulations. Troubleshooting steps may include updating QuickBooks to the latest version, verifying tax table information, and addressing any data corruption or software issues causing the error.

Edward Martin

Edward Martin

Edward Martin is a Technical Content Writer for our leading Accounting firm. He has over 10 years of experience in QuickBooks and Xero. He has also worked with Sage, FreshBooks, and many other software platforms. Edward’s passion for clarity, accuracy, and innovation is evident in his writing. He is well versed in how to simplify complex technical concepts and turn them into easy-to-understand content for our readers.

Article Name
How to Fix QuickBooks Error PS038: Troubleshooting Guide
Eliminate QuickBooks Error PS038 Hassles: Say Goodbye to QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038 and Streamline Your Financial Operations Today.
Publisher Name
Accounting Helpline
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