QuickBooks Error PS038 is a common issue that can arise when using the popular accounting software, QuickBooks. This error can occur during various operations, such as opening a company file, updating payroll tax tables, or running payroll reports. If left unresolved, this error can impede your ability to manage payroll efficiently and accurately.

QuickBooks is a widely used accounting software that helps businesses manage their finances, including payroll processing. However, like any software, QuickBooks can encounter errors, and Error PS038 is one of the most prevalent issues related to payroll operations.

This error can manifest in different ways, such as displaying an error message, freezing the software, or causing unexpected crashes. Fortunately, there are several solutions available to help you resolve QuickBooks Error PS038 and get your payroll operations back on track.

Causes of QuickBooks Error PS038

Before we delve into the solutions, it's essential to understand the potential causes of this error. QuickBooks Error PS038 can arise due to various reasons, including:

  1. Corrupted or Damaged Payroll Data Files
  2. Incomplete or Failed Payroll Updates
  3. Conflicts with Third-Party Software or Windows Components
  4. Insufficient System Resources or Memory
  5. Incorrect User Permissions or Access Rights

By identifying the root cause, you can better tailor your approach to resolving the issue.

Solution 1: Restart QuickBooks and Your Computer

One of the simplest solutions to resolve QuickBooks Error PS038 is to restart the software and your computer. This can help clear any temporary glitches or free up system resources that may be causing the error.

Close QuickBooks completely by pressing "Alt + F4" or by right-clicking the QuickBooks icon in the taskbar and selecting "Exit."

Restart your computer by clicking the "Start" button and selecting "Restart."

Once your computer has rebooted, open QuickBooks and attempt to access your payroll data.

If the error persists, proceed to the next solution.

Solution 2: Update QuickBooks and Payroll Tax Tables

Outdated or corrupt QuickBooks software or payroll tax tables can often lead to errors like Error PS038. Keeping your QuickBooks installation and payroll tax tables up-to-date can help resolve these issues.

  • Open QuickBooks and navigate to the "Employees" menu, then select "Get Payroll Updates."
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the latest payroll tax table updates.
  • After the update is complete, restart your computer and open QuickBooks.
  • If the error still occurs, navigate to the "Help" menu and select "Update QuickBooks Desktop."
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the latest QuickBooks updates.

Solution 3: Verify and Rebuild Payroll Data

QuickBooks includes a built-in utility called "Verify and Rebuild Payroll Data" that can help repair corrupted or damaged payroll data files, which are a common cause of Error PS038.

  • Open QuickBooks and navigate to the "Employees" menu, then select "Payroll" and click "Payroll Data Utilities."
  • In the "Payroll Data Utilities" window, select "Verify Payroll Data" and click "OK."
  • QuickBooks will begin verifying your payroll data. If any errors are found, the software will prompt you to rebuild the data.
  • Select "Rebuild Payroll Data" and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Once the process is complete, try accessing your payroll data again.

Solution 4: Run the QuickBooks File Doctor Tool

Intuit provides a free tool called the "QuickBooks File Doctor" that can help diagnose and repair issues with your company file, including those that may be causing Error PS038.

  • Download and install the QuickBooks File Doctor tool from the Intuit website.
  • Launch the tool and select the option to "Check for File Errors."
  • Browse to the location of your company file and select it.
  • Click "Check File" and let the tool scan your company file for errors.
  • If any errors are found, the tool will attempt to repair them automatically.
  • Once the process is complete, try accessing your payroll data in QuickBooks.

Solution 5: Check for Conflicts and System Resources

In some cases, QuickBooks Error PS038 can be caused by conflicts with third-party software or a lack of system resources. To address these potential issues, you can try the following steps:

  • Close all other programs and applications running on your computer, except for QuickBooks.
  • Check your system's available memory and free up resources by closing unnecessary background processes.
  • Temporarily disable any antivirus or security software that may be interfering with QuickBooks.
  • Ensure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements for running QuickBooks smoothly.

Solution 6: Seek Professional Assistance

If you've tried all the above solutions and QuickBooks Error PS038 persists, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Intuit offers QB Enterprise Support services, where trained experts can help diagnose and resolve complex issues with your QuickBooks software, including payroll-related errors.

Additionally, you can consult with a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor or a local IT professional who specializes in QuickBooks troubleshooting.

Preventive Measures

While the solutions outlined above can help you resolve QuickBooks Error PS038, it's essential to take preventive measures to avoid encountering this issue in the future:

Regularly back up your company file and payroll data to a secure location, such as an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Perform regular maintenance tasks, such as verifying and rebuilding payroll data, to keep your payroll records in good condition.

Keep your QuickBooks software and payroll tax tables up-to-date by installing the latest updates and patches as soon as they become available.

Avoid running too many applications simultaneously, as this can consume system resources and cause conflicts.

Ensure that your computer meets or exceeds the recommended system requirements for running QuickBooks smoothly.


QuickBooks Error PS038 can be a frustrating and disruptive issue, especially when it comes to managing payroll operations. However, with the right approach and solutions, it's often possible to resolve the problem and get your payroll processes back on track. By following the step-by-step solutions provided in this article, you can troubleshoot and fix the error yourself. However, if the issue persists, don't hesitate to seek assistance from QB Enterprise Support or a certified QuickBooks professional.

Remember, prevention is key to avoiding such errors in the future. Regularly backing up your data, performing maintenance tasks, and keeping your software and system up-to-date can go a long way in ensuring smooth and uninterrupted payroll operations in QuickBooks.