QuickBooks & Intuit Online Payroll Users: How To Opt-Out Of Sharing Your Employee Payroll Information With Equifax

Intuit To Share Employee Information With Equifax | Warning To QuickBooks Users | Ohio CPA Firm

Don’t Want To Automatically Sync Employee Information With Equifax, You Don’t Have To – Learn How To Opt-Out

If you are a QuickBooks or Intuit Online Payroll user, time is running out to “opt-out” of The Work Number, a user-paid verification of employment database created by TALX Corp., a data broker acquired by Equifax in 2007. According to Intuit, the program goes live on Aug. 1, 2021. At that time, small businesses that use these programs will allow Intuit to share payroll information with Equifax, which will, according to information from Intuit, “let millions of small business employees get easy access to employment and income verification services when they wish to apply for a loan or line of credit.”

NOTE: This update will not impact QuickBooks Desktop until sometime in the Fall of 2021. We will update as more details become available.

In communication provided to Intuit customers, the company says this new free feature, will make it easier for their employees to provide information to lenders, creditors, or government agencies. The updated Terms of Service are available here.

“When you have to manually provide this info to lenders, creditors, or government agencies, it can take time away from running a business and may slow down the approval process for your employees,” Intuit states in the company’s FAQ.

How Does The Program Work?

Intuit provides a lot of answers on its frequently asked questions page, including how the process would work if Equifax, for example, were to request payroll information from a company.

  • QuickBooks or Intuit Online Payroll customers will collect and store employee payroll data.
  • When The Work Number receives a request for the information, the service will check against your QuickBooks payroll data for a match to the employee whose data has been requested.
  • If a match is found, QuickBooks will share the relevant data with The Work Number to complete the initial request.

“Only Verifiers with a certified permissible purpose can obtain a consumer report from The Work Number,” states Intuit. “The Work Number credentials and approves each Verifier before they can request access to any of your employee’s info.

Do you trust the system to work as intended? Do you think criminals aren’t looking for a way to bypass the system? As they say … where there’s a will, there’s a way. You just have to determine whether the risk outweighs the benefits for your business.


Until you fully understand the service in its entirety, we would recommend that you opt-out of the program until you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. As an employer, you are responsible for the data you collect on every single employee and who has access to this information.


Why Opt-Out Of The Work Number?

Even though Intuit is claiming The Work Number will save time during the lending process, will allow you to focus more on your business, and is a safe and secure program, Rea & Associates advises using extreme caution. As of Aug. 1, 2021, the program will be live on your software and the data you collect will be available to The Work Number and Equifax automatically – as long as your employees give the green light for their data to be sourced.

Generally speaking, we are wary when any form of data is concerned. And your company’s employee information/data is particularly valuable – especially to bad actors who would do anything to access this information depository and use it to do harm. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Equifax found itself in hot water as a result of its own data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people.

After the Equifax data breach in 2017, Brian Krebs, renowned reporter and computer security expert, penned a post on his blog, Krebs On Security, criticizing the security measures Equifax and The Work Network put in place to protect users. He walked readers through how easy it was for anyone to gain access to personal data even though the company stated that personal data could only be retrieved by credentialed verifiers.

Since the 2017 data breach, Equifax introduced several improved security measures. Even so, there is evidence to suggest that fraudsters are diligent when it comes to finding ways to circumvent the security barriers.

Until you fully understand the service in its entirety, we would recommend that you opt-out of the program until you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. As an employer, you are responsible for the data you collect on every single employee and who has access to this information.


How To Opt-Out Of The Work Number?

Depending on the payroll software you are using, you may have slightly different steps. However, here are the steps we found that most users can follow to successfully opt-out of The Work Network.

For QuickBooks Online Payroll Core, Premium, and Elite Users

  1. Sign in to QuickBooks.
  2. Select Settings , then Payroll Settings.
  3. In the Shared data section, select Edit
  4. Clear the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.
  5. Select Save.

If you decide later you want the service, follow the steps above and select the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.

For Online Payroll Enhanced Users

  1. Sign in to Intuit Online Payroll. 
  2. From Setup, select Preferences.
  3. Select Shared Data.
  4. Clear the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax and select OK

If you decide later you want the service, follow the steps above and select the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.

For Intuit Online Payroll Full Service Users

  1. Sign in to Intuit Online Payroll Full Service.
  2. Select Account Settings.
  3. In Shared Data, select Edit.
  4. Clear the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax and select Save.

If you decide later you want the service, follow the steps above and select the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.

QuickBooks Online Payroll Enhanced & Full Service Users

  1. Sign in to QuickBooks.
  2. Select Settings ⚙, then Payroll Settings.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Clear the box next to Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.
  5. Select OK.

If you decide later you want this service, follow the steps above and select the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.

For QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Users

Note: To make this change, you’ll need to sign in as the QuickBooks admin, update QuickBooks to the latest release, and restart QuickBooks.

If you are signed in to your Intuit account:

  1. Open your QuickBooks Desktop File.
  2. Select Edit, then Preferences.
  3. Select HR & Benefits.
  4. Select the Company Preferences tab. 
  5. In the Income & Employment section, clear the checkbox next to Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.
  6. Select Yes.

If you are not signed in to your Intuit account:

Follow the above steps and additional directions below: 

  1. Enter your email address on the next screen and select Continue.
  2. Sign into your Intuit account.

If you decide later you want this service, follow the steps above and select the checkbox Include automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax.


Listen to episode 276, “MSP Versus MSSP: What’s The Difference?” on Rea & Associates’ award-winning podcast, unsuitable on Rea Radio.

Is It Too Late To Opt Out?

Fortunately, Intuit says customers can opt-out of this program at any time – even if it’s after Aug. 1, 2021. In the meantime, we aren’t completely sure what happens to employee data that’s already been collected and saved by Intuit in the time period between Aug. 1, 2021, and your official opt-out date. Supposedly, based on the information provided by Intuit, employee data is only shared if there is a request made by a credentialed “Verifier.” Therefore, unless a request was made during the period of time The Work Number was activated in your software, the data should remain out of reach of The Work Number and Equifax.

Another way your employees can protect their data from The Work Number from sharing their personal data with Verifiers is to request a data freeze on their employment information. Of course, there are always hoops to jump through to put the freeze in effect. To place a freeze, the employee must:

  • Fill out a Freeze Placement Form and send it to Equifax or call 866.222.5880
  • Submit proof of identity and proof that you are an authorized representative if freezing the report of a protected person, including minors and incapacitated adults.

Employees can also visit the Equifax and The Work Number website to access their own employment data report or to submit a data dispute. The resource provides individuals with access to review information Equifax and The Work Number has in your file and to see who has obtained your information.

Next Step: Stay Vigilant

If you would like to learn more about The Work Number and how it will integrate with your payroll program and provide outside access to your employee’s personal payroll data, contact Rea & Associates today. We constantly monitor these issues – from the lens of accounting, payroll, and overall business security. In the meantime, don’t make a quick decision (or no decision in this matter as failure to opt-out automatically opts you in). Your business’s security is always on the line.

By Dee Gray, CPP (New Philadelphia CPA Firm)


Looking for more tips and insight to help you manage your business’s payroll and protect your employees? Check out these resources:

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