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QuickBooks Tip – Child Support Garnishments

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How to set up, track and pay Child Support Garnishments in QuickBooks seems to be a pretty popular topic of discussion, I see this question frequently on many of the QuickBooks forums and news groups that I frequent, so here is a little tutorial for setting up a weekly Child Support Deduction.

Quick Facts About Child Support Garnishments:

  • Child Support is a post (after) tax deduction from the employee paycheck.
  • It is possible that you will have more than one employee with a Child Support Deduction.
  • It is appropriate to have employee specific deduction items in your Payroll Item list.
  • It is not necessary to have employee specific liability accounts on your Chart of Accounts.

Creating a Child Support Garnishment deduction item in QuickBooks is pretty easy.

  • From the Lists menu -> choose Payroll Item List
  • Click on the Payroll Item button (lower left) -> and choose New
  • Select the EZ-Setup method -> click the Next button

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  • Select the Other Deduction option -> and click the Next button

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  • Check the Wage Garnishment option -> click the Next button

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  • Enter information about who the money is sent to (this is a QuickBooks vendor), the account number that must be displayed on the check, and how often the money must be sent in -> click the Next button and then click Finish.

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At this point QuickBooks has created a payroll deduction item in your Payroll Item List called Wage Garnishment.  You will probably want to edit this item, changing it’s name to something more meaningful – perhaps something like Employee X Child Support OR Employee X CS.

  • Go to Lists -> Payroll Item List -> find Wage Garnishment and double-click on it to Edit.
  • In the Enter Name for Deduction field (it will say Wage Garnishment) just type in Employee X CS -> and click the Next button

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  • For the liability account, make sure that you select (or create) a sub-account of the normal Payroll Liabilities account – a quick trick to add a subaccount right here on this window is to first select the standard Payroll Liabilities account, then click into the box and type in “:Child Support” (without the quotes), you will immediately be told that the account doesn’t exist and you should select Set Up; create the account and then select it.
  • Keep clicking the Next button on the following windows, changing nothing, until you arrive at the last window; where you will select Finish.

Adding the Child Support Garnishment to the Employees Record

  • From the Employee Center, find and Edit the Employee
  • Switch to the Payroll & Compensation section by using the Change Tabs drop down menu
  • Click into the Additions, Deductions & Company Contributions section, and in the Item Name column, select the deduction item, and give it an amount.

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Each week when you run payroll, the specified amount will be deducted from the employees paycheck and sent to the Liability account and will be shown on your Chart of Accounts or a Balance Sheet Report.

To actually generate the check to be sent to the Agency collecting the money, you’ll go to the Payroll Tab of the Employee Center and select it from the Pay Scheduled Liabilities section.

Don’t forget to set up a Scheduled Payroll Liability for this Item – here’s a YouTub video that will help you http://youtu.be/LTNPeUYiHMc

I hope you find this written tutorial helpful, if so please leave a comment.

9 Responses to QuickBooks Tip – Child Support Garnishments

  • Hi Patrick, thanks for stopping by.
    That’s quite the situation you have on your hands!
    The best advice I can offer is to contact the past payroll company and demand to know who (what agency/address) the garnishment was sent to and what it was for. There should also be hard copy records in the company files.
    This should be handled as quickly as possible – if you have to talk to the employee who had the garnishment withheld from his/her pay.
    If you don’t remit the money in a timely fashion he/she will get in a heap of trouble!
    Good luck.

  • How do you know who and what account number to send garnishment to. I took over payroll from past payroll company. I know there is 400 dollar garnishment and thats it.

  • Thank you David, what a nice compliment :-) Hope you drop by again.

  • Nancy, WOW! Thank you so much. It could not have been explained any better!!!

  • Hi Jeff
    Glad you found this post helpful and easy to follow. I agree the paperwork from the State is horrible – you almost need to hire a lawyer to figure out what they want you to do! Good luck. You know know the “How To” next part is to figure out the “HOW MUCH”!

  • Thanks for the easy setup. If only the paperwork from the State was as easy to follow…

  • Hi Keith
    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m glad that you found this post to be helpful.

  • This post arrived at a perfect time. I was just called a few days ago by a contractor client in the greater Seattle area that I helped set up, review, help, support, provide onsite classes in, and train in QuickBooks payroll and their Premier Contractor version.

    Now I have a link for their favorites folder for future wage garnishments, other payroll item deductions, and child support payments orders as they apply to the company. It will save them time and money by not having to call me the next time.

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Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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