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Free Payroll Software in 2021

Zara Hanif
November 11, 2021

Free Payroll Software in 2021

From small companies with 1-3 employees to mid-to-large companies, payroll is a necessary task. Finding the right software that streamlines this task so it’s less tedious and super accurate, is vital but expensive. While fantastic tools like ADP, UKG, and Gusto are some of the best payroll software on the market, not all can afford them.

Some businesses need to find ways to optimize their budgets, and looking for free software can be an effective way to do that. The challenges that come with this are software quality and free plan limits. 

Small business owners will find it easy to work within common free software limitations. Medium and growing companies need software that’s unlimited. The bright side is there are multiple free plans from great payroll and HR companies. 

Best Free Payroll Software

When searching for free payroll software, you may be buried in articles that include software that isn’t completely free. Many of the software may turn out to have hidden fees, offer only a free trial, or have less than transparent plans.

The purpose of the list below is to cut through the fat and give you pricing transparency on the best no-to-low-cost options. Some software may include an extra fee for filing and some have employee caps, but the software itself is free.  

Payroll PayrollSumoPayrollTimeTrex Community Edition
Limits25 Person Cap, Paid Tax FilingUnlimited People10 Person CapUnlimited
Special FeaturesPayroll Processing, Direct Deposits, Paper Checks, Tax Calculations, Vacation Time, 401K Deductions and Contributions,  HR Software, Integrates with Accounting Software, Employee Self-Service PortalSecurity Encryption, Employee Self-Service Portal, Software Integrations, Team Collaboration, PTO, Multi-Lingual, User-Friendly Interface, Tax Forms,Geolocation, Biometric login, Mobile App, Cloud-Based, No Credit Card Needed for SignupFace recognition, Mobile Access, Payroll Management, Payroll Reports, Paycheck Manager, 
DevicesWindows Operating Systems OnlyiPad, Android Tablets, Mac, Windows Internet Browser, Smartphone, Tablet, Mobile DevicesBrowsers: Safari, Chrome, Edge, FirefoxSystems: iOS, Android, Windows

Payroll4Free is one of the major free online payroll services. Their only fees are $15/month to deposit and file your payroll taxes for you, and another $15/month if you want their bank to handle direct deposit for you.

For a free software that’s limited to 25 employees, they are stacked with features and integrations. You can use them for tax calculations, HR functions, and integrate other software. The software integrates with popular accounting packages like Quickbooks, along with banks and the benefits companies you might use. 

Small businesses and start-ups can save a lot of money and streamline other employee services and management. Companies that meet in person can benefit from offering pay stubs and paycheck printing right from the software, along with the direct deposit options. Companies with remote employees can still benefit as well by using their employee portals for printing pay slips or their w-2.

Small companies should definitely consider because of their flexible features. On top of all their uses, they also have unlimited customer service. The only caveat is you will need a Windows system to use them so if you have Apple you will need to download Windows. Payroll

One great choice for bigger or rapidly growing businesses and enterprises. is An incredibly skilled developer created out of love for software, and the goal was to create payroll software that was multilingual. 

The developer makes their money based on word of mouth. The more people that talk about the more lucrative projects they get offered. If you find you enjoy after using it, they greatly appreciate testimonials and donations for site upkeep.

You may wonder about’s security since it wasn’t created by a major development company. ensures the connections are encrypted with SSL protocol and has daily backup and data export. Employers have full control over employee web accounts, and the passwords are protected. 

The payroll solution software has the standard features you need along with some extra, such as unlimited users and team collaboration. Employees can benefit from the discussion boards and forums created for engagement, brainstorming, and surveys. The navigation and interface are enhanced by a search option. This allows employees to look for specific information someone else may have covered. 

Online companies that were also looking for engagement software might be able to use these forums to help ease social isolation with remote work. The surveys can certainly help with just keeping track of productivity and overall sentiment. Employee feedback from the discussion alone can give management a good sense of morale.

When it comes to payroll services considers the majority of payroll needs. You can manage PTO, salaries, and pay periods while using automated payroll processing for payslips. Pay period options include monthly, semi-monthly, weekly, and bi-weekly.

Inside employee portals, workers can clock in and out so you can track attendance. Employees can also update their personal information, and apply for leave. has no limits to the devices and downloads aren’t required, so remote companies can find phenomenal benefits along with regular offices. Managers can check in on any claims or attendance issues right from their mobile phone or tablet. doesn’t exclude anyone since their software is unlimited, so it’s worth a try from most companies. The software is more limited to standard payroll needs with some extra features, so it’s perfect for a low budget. If your needs require more special features you’ll need to look elsewhere. 


SumoPayroll is an interesting cloud payroll platform that mainly markets to global startups. They originate from India in South Asia. Their software caps at 10 people and SumoPayroll’s goal is to help small enterprises grow. Once they’re more established, SumoPayroll  hopes they will move on to a paid plan as loyal customers. The 10 person plan includes all the features in their paid places, but outsourcing for payroll will have a small fee.

Small offices could certainly use SumoPayroll, but it was primarily designed to benefit online companies. The process is meant to be hassle-free for both employees and employers. 

Employees can access their mobile app for free and set up direct deposit free all while enjoying biometric security. Employers will have access to timesheets, and a time clock with geolocation. This can help employees stay secure while traveling or working away from home.

SumoPayroll’s calculator will also be a great help with tax calculation and paycheck calculation. You can feel more confident when

Generally, SumoPayroll is advertised towards young companies, but nothing stops bigger companies from using their security and interface. The pricing for paid plans is in INDR (Indian Rupees). Currency converters can give you an estimate, but the best way to get the USD price would be to contact customer service at


Another popular free and open-source payroll software is TimeTrex. With unlimited employees and the software needed to run payroll, TimeTrex Community Edition can be a low-budget option for most companies.They do have paid plans, but those are only offered after contacting customer service. On their site, you can download the TimeTrex Community Edition for free. 

If you use office computers you will need PHP, a web server, and a database. Your IT department or independent contractors can help you with this process. If you don’t have or plan to use the software in an office you can make an account for the cloud-hosted version.

TimeTrex offers full-service employee payroll and the FAQ page details how to update, change, and manipulate payroll data. You can give loyal employees bonuses and raises, track wages, and overall earnings. 

Any user that has questions can enter them into the website’s FAQ page and pull federal tax information and state tax information to check that local taxes abide by laws and regulations. The site is a second tool for making sure your payroll calculations and year-end tax forms are up to date. 

This payroll service can be used in the office, but it’s definitely easier to use the cloud version, whether you’re a remote company or not. 

More Resources

You may find that these options sound great but you need to see more. Many of the free software here have detailed online tutorials. SumoPayroll has their own YouTube channel to provide training for all sorts of editing and customization. and TimeTrex have great videos that show off their interface and capabilities. Here is an awesome in-depth run-through of, and a great overview of TimeTrex.

There is another open-source payroll option you might find helpful. It doesn’t come with any special features and it’s more for someone that needs something quick and utilitarian. ExcelPayroll uses Microsoft Excel to help companies that don’t have the budget for fancier options. 

Those that have experience with an Excel spreadsheet will be able to learn quickly, but the software is meant to make it easier to use Excel to do payroll. You can download the tiny gem from

After sifting through these options, you may not have found what you were looking for in free payroll software, so click here to explore all the payroll options.

About the Author

Zara Hanif
Zara is a Research Content Writer/Editor for TrustRadius. She has an English BA and Web Design and Development AS. She enjoys the creativity and freedom of the tech world. In her free time she loves to create art, make jewelry, and work on sci-fi stories

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