How to Resolve QuickBooks Error PS038?


Payroll is an essential feature of QuickBooks, which needs to be regularly updated to avoid technical glitches. In several instances, while updating payroll the users come across QuickBooks Error PS038 with an error notification “You have retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription, we strongly recommend that you go online again before (MM/DD/YY) [Error PS038]”. The error PS038 was more prevalent in QuickBooks 2017 version which was later resolved in 2018 and above. If you are also facing a similar challenge then this guide will help you eliminate the problem and introduce you to the reasons that crop up QuickBooks error code PS038.

QuickBooks Error PS038! What’s that?

QuickBooks error code PS038 occurs when you try to send a paycheck but it gets stuck as “Online to Send”. It may also occur while running or downloading the payroll updates. In that case, you will not be able to send any payroll data or cannot proceed with any payroll functioning in QuickBooks.

QuickBooks payroll error PS038! What causes it?

  1. Outdated QuickBooks accounting software.
  2. Using an old approach to download QuickBooks payroll.
  3. A paycheck is stuck while sent online.

Quick Fixes to Rectify QuickBooks Update Error PS038

No! Then you must try them before using advanced troubleshooting to fix error PS038. Here are they.

  1. As primarily, the QuickBooks error PS038 has been reported in QuickBooks version 2017, so you must upgrade your QuickBooks to 2018 release 7 or newer version.
  2. Make sure to install the latest updates of the payroll tax table.
  3. Always have a backup of your company file and the payroll data to avoid losing any essential financial data during troubleshooting.

Try these advanced measures to fix QuickBooks error PS038

Step 1: Update existing QuickBooks to QuickBooks 2018 or later

  1. Firstly, launch the QuickBooks desktop.
  2. Click the Help tab and click Update QuickBooks desktop.
  3. Click the Update now tab, select the updates you want to install, and then click Get.
  4. Once the update completes, close QuickBooks and reboot your computer.

Step 2: Send Usage/Payroll data

After updating your QuickBooks to the latest version you will try to send usage or payroll data and then verify if the error PS038 resolves or not.

  1. Open QuickBooks. Go to the Employees.
  2. Click My Payroll service and then depending on your payroll service either choose to Send usage data or Send payroll data.
  3. If the payroll is sent successfully then you may try to update payroll again. If still an error PS038 occurs then head over to step 3 and if the sent remains unsuccessful then you will need to contact the QuickBooks payroll support to get further assistance.

Step 3: Identify the stuck paychecks

The most prominent reason that triggers QuickBooks error code PS038 is paycheck struck as Online to Send. In this step, you need to determine or identify the number of such paychecks.

  1. Open QuickBooks and go to the Edit menu and then click Find.
  2. Now go to the Advanced tab, locate the Choose Filter section, click Detail level.
  3. Now click Summary only.
  4. Again in the Choose Filter section, click Online status.
  5. In the drop-down list, select the Online to Send
  6. Now click Find to see the unsent paychecks.
  7. Finally, the stuck paychecks should appear on the screen after you run a Verify Data tool.

Step 4: Run a Verify Data and Rebuild Data

  1. Make sure that you have created the backup of the QuickBooks company file.
  2. Now launch QuickBooks and go to the File
  3. Click the utility menu and then click Verify data.
  4. If you see the stuck paychecks then you will need to run rebuilt data.

Steps to fix the QuickBooks error PS038 through rebuilding data           

  1. Click the File tab and select Utilities.
  2. Now, click Rebuild data, click Ok and then click Save to create a backup.
  3. Click View results once the rebuild process is completed.
  4. Head over to the next section, if still, an error appears in QuickBooks.

Step 5: QuickBooks update error PS038 still occurs after the rebuild? Here are the fixes

Several reasons could make rebuild to not able to remove the stuck paychecks such as the paycheck is beyond the oldest billing date or an accountant’s copy is pending leading to an error. Here are the steps that you should take.

  1. Open QuickBooks, go to Edit, and click Find.
  2. Now click the Advanced
  3. Under the Choose filter section, open the Filter list and click Detail level.
  4. Click Summary only.
  5. Again in the Choose filter section, go to Online status and click Online to Send.
  6. Hit the Find button and record the details of the paychecks that haven’t been sent to Intu
  7. Now save the file in excel format.

Edit the Paycheck details

  1. Open the first check in the list.
  2. Click the Check detail. 
  3. Under the Review paycheck window, go to the Earnings section and make sure to add the same earnings items as the last earnings item in the list.
  4. You will see a Net pay locked notification on your screen, Click No over it.
  5. Set the Rate field of the new earnings item and confirm that the taxes and Net pay are the same.
  6. Click Ok after verifying all the changes.
  7. Click Yes over the Past transaction alert notification.
  8. Now click Save and close the paycheck.
  9. If Recording transaction warning notification appears then click Yes.
  10. Launch the paycheck again and click the Paycheck details.
  11. Finally, confirm the Taxes and Net pay again, click Ok and click Save.
  12. You may repeat the same steps for other paychecks that are facing a similar problem.

Also Read: How to Fix QuickBooks Payroll Error PS077?

Couldn’t get past the QuickBooks payroll update error PS038? Get support

Hopefully, these five steps were helpful for you to eliminate QuickBooks error PS038. Often the users have resolved the problem by updating their QuickBooks to the latest version without having to use the steps – Identify the Paychecks and Rebuild Data. However, if still, you can not resolve the QuickBooks payroll update error PS038, then we would advise you to get in touch with the QuickBooks payroll support team asap. Our QuickBooks experts will identify and analyze the reason for the problem and provide you with a mitigation plan. So, do not leave your finances at stake, contact the QuickBooks pro advisors now!