Not every business has the money or the time to invest in a leading payroll service. Fortunately, many enterprises, whether small operations or growing corporate entities, can be best served by free payroll software. There are numerous free payroll platforms available for you to choose from, all of which have the potential to benefit your business. This list covers some of the best free payroll software options for 2023 and can help you decide which platform is best for your organization.

Free payroll software options do not have to be mediocre. And, in 2023, payroll platforms are important for companies that are looking to be successful or to pursue long-term growth. In order to build a winning business strategy, independent enterprises will need to be able to take advantage of popular features and reputable platforms. This list is a guide to help you analyze your business and discern what service will be best for your team.

Top free payroll software comparison

When it comes to examining payroll platforms, it’s important to understand what features you’ll be able to use for your business. Free payroll software options still have to be effective, and evolving organizations will need access to proven digital tools. From direct deposit to time tracking, the table below covers a few of the most essential features that you might want to be included in your payroll software.

Basic payroll toolsDirect depositEmployee insightsTime trackingPricing
TimeTrexYesYesYesYesFree (Standard Edition)

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ExcelPayroll: Best for small businesses

The ExcelPayroll logo.
Source: ExcelPayroll

ExcelPayroll is a simple yet effective payroll application for Windows-based businesses. ExcelPayroll can be easily downloaded and used with Microsoft Excel, and the service makes it easy to understand its tools through different videos and demos. ExcelPayroll includes worker’s compensation tools and employee accounting reports. And, of course, it’s free. Its price and simple (but effective) tools make this platform perfect for small businesses.


ExcelPayroll is forever free. Because the application is an extension of Microsoft Excel, users already have access to the needed infrastructure. For that reason, the price will never change.


  • Worker’s compensation and benefits reporting.
  • Free check printing.
  • Integration with Excel.
  • Creation of individual accounting documents.
  • W2 and tax form arrangement.


  • Free.
  • Easy to use and learn.
  • Grants access to previous annual payrolls.
  • Great for small businesses.


  • Only available with Windows/Microsoft Office.
  • No direct deposit tools.
  • No time tracking tools.

Payroll4Free: Best for complex operations

The logo.

Payroll4Free is a quality payroll service that allows you to manage your team with detailed and effective tools. Payroll4Free is for small teams but is no less capable of providing benefits to organizations. The payroll platform includes a simple UI and optional tools that can help enterprises proactively compensate their employees. Its advanced digital tools, which include integration with other payroll apps, an employee portal, and time tracking, make it perfect for businesses with complex team dynamics.


Payroll4Free isn’t exactly free for everyone. Organizations that are paying less than 25 individuals get the service free of charge. There are also two optional features; tax filing and direct deposit via the service’s bank. Together, these options cost $30 per month.


  • Tax filing and calculator.
  • Direct deposit.
  • Time Tracking.
  • Employee insights.
  • Integration with external payroll services.
  • Simple employee portal.


  • Detailed tools.
  • Approachable UI.
  • Affordable pricing.


  • Only for small teams.
  • Optional tools require businesses to pay extra.
  • Only for Windows.
  • No mobile app.

TimeTrex: Best for scaling and employee management

The TimeTrex logo.
Source: TimeTrex

TimeTrex is a helpful payroll application that offers many great tools. The service can handle payment data and employee reimbursement with ease. It also allows organizations to connect with top payroll platforms, which makes it easier to manage teams and scale. Though the UI can be clunky and some services are only available at paid tiers, TimeTrex is great for scaling and employee management and is best for organizations with large or growing teams.


The standard version of TimeTrex is free. It includes all the goodies; you can pay your employees, track hours, generate tax forms, and more. There are also higher tiers of the service that include a few other features. You’ll have to inquire with TimeTrex for pricing.


  • Time tracking.
  • Tax form management.
  • Integration with many top payroll platforms.
  • Automated tools.
  • Available in other editions.


  • Integration with well-known payroll apps.
  • Mobile connectivity.
  • Attendance tracking.
  • Available on both Windows and Mac.


  • Limited pricing information.
  • Some tools, like invoicing, are only included in paid editions.
  • Does not offer tax filing. Best for mid-sized and large businesses

The logo.
Source: is a completely free payroll application that includes useful tools for HR teams. You can also use for larger organizations because it allows for unlimited data and employees. The platform’s UI, however, is arguably the worst on this list. It can be complicated and slow, which is a hindrance for some businesses. That being said, learning to use can be a cost-effective solution for larger teams.

Pricing is free, and it always will be. The service is crowdfunded by passionate users and organizations, which allows you to access the platform at no cost.


  • Payroll processing.
  • HR management tools.
  • Attendance reports.
  • Employee portal.
  • Unlimited data and employees.


  • Free.
  • No employee restrictions.
  • Easy collaboration.


  • Complex UI.
  • Complex integration and onboarding.

Key features of payroll software

Basic payroll tools

Basic payroll tools include employee management, payments and bonus tracking, and accounting reports. These tools allow businesses to easily oversee their employees and manage payments.

Tax calculator

Some of the payroll tools above use automation to complete tax documents, which saves time and energy. Even those that don’t file taxes for you will include tax documents and guides for users. Many payroll platforms also help organize and track payment information to be used for tax purposes. If taxes are difficult for your business, or if your organization is growing, you might want to utilize a payroll platform that offers automated tax calculating.

Direct deposit

Some payroll applications allow businesses to offer direct deposits (in addition to printed checks). Enterprises can send payments directly to employees’ banks in order to save time and accurately reimburse team members. With some apps, direct deposit can be automated. It is one of the most effective tools for businesses.

Employee reports

Insights are an essential aspect of successful payroll applications. These reports, related to bonuses, billable work, productivity, annual data, and more can help businesses pay and evaluate their employees. This feature is especially important for enterprises with many employees of different skills and payment requirements.

Time tracking

Time tracking tools allow businesses to allocate funds to employees accurately. It helps enterprises track overtime, vacation time, and many other metrics. With time tracking, your organization can manage all employees with ease.

How do I choose the best free payroll software for my business?

Choosing the best payroll software for your business requires you to understand your organization. Indeed, you might find yourself steered in a certain direction based on what your business requires. Is your business mid-sized or growing? Do you work with independent contractors or diverse employees? Do you have a hard time keeping up with taxes and tax documents?

If so, services like or TimeTrex may be best for you. Alternatively, if you’re looking for quality digital/automated services, you might be best suited for Payroll4Free. This option certainly isn’t viable for larger teams, and many smaller enterprises may be attracted to the simplicity of ExcelPayroll. Understanding what is right for you, again, is a matter of understanding your organization.

If you really don’t know which platform is best for your business, you can always try a few of them to see what works. It will take some time and effort, but the services are free; there’s no harm in attempting to discover what works. Of course, it would be ideal to pursue a successful strategy from the start. Using this guide as a means of examining your businesses should help you understand what services might work for your team.


The services on this list were compiled by analyzing user reviews, pricing and available features. Each payroll platform was thoroughly researched via internal and external sources. None of the payroll platforms above are expressly better than the others. Rather, these free payroll software options were researched and compiled to serve as a guide for business professionals.

Read next: 8 best enterprise accounting software for 2023