How to fix QuickBooks Error PS038

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QuickBooks is an essential tool for many businesses. It helps with accounting and payroll. However, sometimes, users face errors. One common error is QuickBooks Error PS038. This article will explain what it is, why it happens, and how to fix it.

What is QuickBooks Error PS038?

QuickBooks Error PS038 occurs during payroll updates. When you try to send paychecks online, this error can stop the process. It is often accompanied by an error message saying, “You have retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before mm/dd/yyyy.” This error can be frustrating as it can delay payroll processing.

Why Does Error PS038 Occur?

There are several reasons for Error PS038:

  1. Pending Paychecks: If there are paychecks stuck in the “online to send” state, the error can occur.
  2. Invalid Payroll Data: Corrupt or invalid payroll data can trigger this error.
  3. Old or Incomplete Updates: If the latest payroll updates were not installed correctly, it might cause this error.
  4. Connectivity Issues: Poor internet connection can interrupt payroll processing, leading to this error.

How to Identify Error PS038?

You can identify Error PS038 through the following signs:

  • The error message mentioned above appears.
  • Paychecks remain in the “online to send” state.
  • Payroll processing is halted or delayed.
  • Need help with updating payroll data.
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Steps to Fix QuickBooks Error PS038

Here are detailed steps to fix Error PS038:

Step 1: Check for Pending Paychecks

  1. Open QuickBooks and go to the “Employees” menu.
  2. Select “Send Payroll Data.”
  3. Look for any paychecks in the “Online to Send” state.
  4. If you find any, send them. If you cannot send them, delete and recreate the paychecks.

Step 2: Verify and Rebuild Data

  1. Go to the “File” menu and select “Utilities.”
  2. Click on “Verify Data.” This process checks your company file for errors.
  3. If any issues are found, go back to “Utilities” and select “Rebuild Data.”
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to rebuild your company file.

Step 3: Update QuickBooks Desktop

  1. Open QuickBooks and go to the “Help” menu.
  2. Select “Update QuickBooks Desktop.”
  3. Click on “Update Now.”
  4. Checkmark the “Reset Update” box to clear all previous update downloads.
  5. Click “Get Updates” and wait for the process to complete.
  6. Restart QuickBooks and install the updates if prompted.

Step 4: Update the Payroll Tax Table

  1. Go to the “Employees” menu and select “Get Payroll Updates.”
  2. Click on “Download Entire Payroll Update.”
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.

Step 5: Run QuickBooks in Safe Mode

  1. Close QuickBooks and restart your computer.
  2. Press and hold the “Ctrl” key and double-click on the QuickBooks icon to open it in Safe Mode.
  3. Try to send payroll data again in Safe Mode.

Step 6: Contact QuickBooks Support

If the error persists after following the above steps, contact QuickBooks Support. They can provide advanced troubleshooting and guidance.

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Preventing QuickBooks Error PS038

Prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips to prevent Error PS038:

  1. Regular Updates: Always keep QuickBooks and payroll tax tables updated.
  2. Verify Data: Regularly verify and rebuild your company file to prevent data corruption.
  3. Stable Internet Connection: Ensure a stable Internet connection during payroll processing.
  4. Backup Data: Frequently back up your QuickBooks data to avoid data loss.


QuickBooks error code PS038 can disrupt your payroll processing. Understanding the causes and following the steps mentioned can help fix the error. Regular maintenance and updates can prevent such issues. If you still need help, QuickBooks Support is always available to assist you. Keeping your software and data in check ensures smooth business operations.

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