. Fix QuickBooks Error PS038 (Payroll Can't Update Problem)

QuickBooks error PS038 is a time-consuming error that occurs when updating the QuickBooks Payroll service. Besides, it may also take place when running payroll operations or sending paychecks online. To run payroll-related operations, you need to have the most recent version of the payroll service. If not, you may experience the error code PS038 in QuickBooks that crops up with an error message – 

You’ve retrieved the latest payroll update and validated your Payroll subscription. We strongly recommend that you go online again before DD/MM/YYYY. [PS038]. 

QuickBooks Error PS038 (Message)

If this error message appears when creating paychecks in QuickBooks, you need to analyze the possible reasons behind the error and troubleshoot them by implementing suitable solutions. This article explains it all. Let’s find out! 

QuickBooks Payroll Update Error PS038 – Explained

QuickBooks error PS038 mainly occurs when a user tries to send a paycheck online. When the error occurs, or the paycheck gets stuck with the message “Online to send.” Thus, you will not be able to process the payroll. Therefore, you need to act promptly to troubleshoot this payroll issue. The error code first came in QuickBooks Desktop 2017 version and had unpropitious results on the functioning of the program. It is possible that your QuickBooks payroll subscription is not active, which is why you are seeing the QuickBooks payroll error PS038. Various other reasons can also promote this issue. 

Main Reasons That Can Promote QuickBooks Update Error PS038

There are multiple reasons that can evoke error PS038 in QuickBooks. To resolve the error, you need to understand its possible reasons in the first place. Check the possible reasons behind QuickBooks Payroll Error PS038: 

  • When you try to send a paycheck online, it is stuck as – Online to send. 
  • A damaged QuickBooks company file is also one of the most apparent reasons behind the error that affect the system as well. 
  • The error may also occur due to an outdated QuickBooks payroll service when validating the QuickBooks subscription. 
  • QuickBooks error PS038 can take place due to an inactive QuickBooks payroll subscription.

Symptoms of QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Error PS038 

Now that you know the possible reasons behind the error, check the symptoms you may experience on the arrival of the error:

  • When the error PS038 occurs, it crashes an active window. 
  • It can adversely impact the performance of your system, and it may take more time to accomplish a task. 
  • An ongoing payroll task will be hindered by the arrival of QuickBooks error PS038.
  • An error message will appear on your screen explaining what actually happened when you are processing paychecks. 

Things To Keep In Mind Before Troubleshooting the QuickBooks Error Code PS038

Before you start troubleshooting the payroll issue, considering the below-listed points can make the error resolution easier for you:

  • Make sure that you are using 2019 or a later version of the program and not older than that. 
  • Create a backup of your QuickBooks company file to prevent your payroll data against any loss or disruption. 
  • Also, check if the latest payroll tax table updates are installed on your system.
  • Moreover, you need to ensure that you have an active QuickBooks payroll service subscription.

Solutions To Fix QuickBooks Error Message Code PS038

The troubleshooting solutions are based on the possible reasons behind the error, suppressing which you can get rid of the error. Here we go: 

1: Update QuickBooks To The Latest Maintenance Release Available 

In the first place, you need to make sure that QuickBooks is updated to the latest release. Below are the steps:

  • To begin with, the procedure, close all the QuickBooks-related processes, including your company files and QuickBooks.
  • After that, launch the Windows Start menu and search for the QuickBooks program. 
  • When the icon shows up, right-click on it and select Run as administrator from the dropdown list.
  • Now on the No Company Open screen, go to the Help menu and select the Update QuickBooks Desktop option. 
  • When on the Options tab, select Mark All and Save it to proceed further. 
  • Now navigate to the Update Now tab and checkmark the box against Reset Update. 
  • Once done, select Get Update to end this manual update procedure for QuickBooks software.

2: Try Sending Payroll Once QuickBooks Is Updated

Once QuickBooks is updated to the latest release, you can try to resend your payroll by following the below-given steps:

  • First of all, click My Payroll Services, located underneath the Employees tab, and then click Send Usage Data. 
  • If you are able to send your payroll data thereafter, update the payroll again. 
  • If you are still getting QuickBooks error PS038, look for the next solutions. 

3: Check and Find Paychecks That Are Stuck As “Online To Send.” 

To perform this solution, follow the below-explained steps:

  • Using the Edit dropdown list, select Find and then choose the Advanced option. 
  • Now choose a filter from the Choose Filter tab and select Detail Level. 
  • Moving ahead, select Summary Only. 
  • Again from the Choose Filter tab, check the Filter list and select Online Status from within the given options. 
  • Thereafter, select the Online to send option from the dropdown menu located on the right-hand side. 
  • Now click on the Find button and check the paychecks that are unsent. 

4: Put Verify and Rebuilt Data Tool To Use 

Proceeding further with the troubleshooting steps for QuickBooks error PS038, run Verify and Rebuild Data utility. It will help you to check if your data is damaged or not. Once the damage is found, rebuild the data utility to fix the damage. Follow the below-described steps: 

  • Before you start, take a backup of your QuickBooks company file.
  • Next, go to the File menu, select Utility, and then Verify. 
  • After that, select the data file and click OK, and it will verify your data for possible damages. 
  • If a data issue is found, running the Rebuild Data utility will fix it.
  • Again, run Verify Data utility to make sure that the data damages are resolved. 

5: Check The Information On Paychecks That Are Stuck With the “Online To Send” Status

In “step 3”, we have discussed the steps to find the list of the paychecks that are stuck as “Online To Send.” When you have this list, verify the information on them by following the below-described steps:

  • Open the first paycheck from this list and hit the Payment Detail option. 
  • When you see the Review Paycheck window, move to the Earnings tab.
  • Thereafter, locate the last item in the list and add it as a new item. 
  • Here, it will prompt QuickBooks to show a Net Pay Locked window wherein click No, and it will be closed. 
  • Next, choose the Rate Field for the newly added item. 
  • Confirm that the Net Pay and taxes are unchanged and hit the OK button. 
  • When the Past Transactions message pops up on your screen, click Yes. 
  • Now click Save & Close option and click Yes when you see the Recording Transactions message. 
  • Moving ahead, re-open the paycheck and hit the Paycheck Details button. 
  • Now Delete the item you have added as a new item. 
  • Here, you need to confirm that there are no changes in the taxes and Net Pay and hit OK. 
  • In the end, click Save & Close to save the applied changes.
  • Once done, you need to follow the same instructions for each paycheck and make sure that QuickBooks error PS038.

Also Read – How to Resolve QuickBooks Error PS032

Winding Up!

The steps discussed in this post, when properly followed, can help you get rid of the QuickBooks Payroll update error PS038. If you face any difficulty when performing the steps, connect with a QuickBooks Customer expert and describe your problem. They will guide you with the best possible solutions for the error.

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Adam Zampa

I am Joe Watson, founder of QuickBooksupportnet.com, engaged in helping QuickBooks users with the relevant services in the hours of their need. After gaining immense knowledge and skills in accounting, bookkeeping, and relevant technologies, I felt the need for this knowledge to be shared, which is why I started this service.