Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT submission: error messages

Below is a list of error messages you might encounter when submitting your MTD for VAT return in FreeAgent and steps to take to resolve them.

Error messages

Authorisation error

An error message reading 'The client and/or agent is not authorised' means that the credentials you used to connect FreeAgent to HMRC have failed and you may not be properly signed up for MTD.

To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

1. Disconnect from the HMRC connections in FreeAgent

Navigate to the drop-down menu at the top-right of the screen and select ‘Connections & Add-ons’.

Connections and add-ons highlighted within drop-down menu

Then select 'Manage' in the 'HMRC connections' section.

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From the HMRC Connections, select 'Disconnect'.

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2. Reconnect your FreeAgent account to HMRC

Once you have disconnected select 'Connect FreeAgent to HMRC'.

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If the connection was successful

If the connection was successful, you’ll see a message confirming that FreeAgent has verified your credentials. You should then try to submit your MTD VAT return again.

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If the connection isn’t successful

If the connection isn’t successful, FreeAgent will provide you with some handy on-screen instructions for you to follow. Find out more about how to resolve a VAT authentication error.

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VAT dates error message

You may receive the following error message when trying to make a VAT submission through Making Tax Digital for VAT.

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This error message means that the start and end date of the return you’re trying to submit doesn’t match any ‘Open’ or ‘Fulfilled’ returns that HMRC has on record.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Adjust your VAT periods manually to match one of the sets of dates above
  2. If you de-registered for VAT recently, you’ll need to edit your VAT settings to reflect this.
  3. Contact HMRC directly, and they can check the VAT obligations data they have on record for your business.

No data found error

The error message "The remote endpoint has indicated that no data can be found" means HMRC doesn’t hold any data for your company on the Making Tax Digital for VAT systems. This could be due to either trying to submit too early or there's a problem at HMRC’s end.

To resolve this issue, try to log in to your HMRC business tax account. Your business tax account should display when your next return is due. If it doesn’t, contact HMRC for help.

Internal server error

The  error message "Internal server error" means HMRC’s system is currently having problems. If this happens, try submitting the return again.

This error could also mean that you’ve tried to file a Making Tax Digital return before you received the confirmation from HMRC that you successfully have signed up to MTD.

If you continue to encounter errors please contact HMRC, as there might be a problem with your records at HMRC’s end.

The VRN included on the submission is invalid

‘VRN’ is short for VAT Registration Number. The error message "The provided VRN is invalid" means that the VAT registration number isn’t correct or in the right format, and HMRC cannot find any company linked to this VAT number.

To resolve this issue, check your VAT Registration certificate from HMRC and make sure that the VAT number shown on your certificate matches your VAT registration settings in FreeAgent.

The VRN specified was not found

‘VRN’ is short for VAT Registration Number. We would expect to see the error message "The VRN specified was not found" if the Making Tax Digital connection has been set up successfully and HMRC can link the credentials to the VAT number being submitted.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Check your VAT Registration certificate from HMRC and make sure that the VAT number shown on your certificate matches your VAT registration settings in FreeAgent.
  2. Log in to your business tax account with HMRC and check that the VAT return dates that are expected match the VAT return dates in FreeAgent. You can edit the VAT return dates in FreeAgent if needed.
  3. Check your business tax account with HMRC to make sure that VAT returns are expected to be filed under MTD for VAT. If your business is not registered to file VAT returns under MTD, the VAT return would need to be filed outside of FreeAgent as HMRC doesn’t allow third-party MTD for VAT filing from software like FreeAgent.

If you are unsure, please speak to your accountant or contact HMRC to confirm.

You still have an earlier VAT return to file with HMRC

The message "You still have an earlier VAT return to file with HMRC" means that you have a VAT return dated before the VAT return that you're reviewing, which is unfiled according to both HMRC and FreeAgent.

This message is shown to help make sure that all of your VAT returns are filed to HMRC successfully.

To resolve this issue, check the VAT returns that are mentioned in the message banner by navigating to the ‘Taxes’ tab at the top of the screen in FreeAgent and selecting ’VAT’ from the drop-down menu. From the summary, select each VAT return to view its status in FreeAgent.

You can also check your business tax account with HMRC to confirm whether the VAT returns still need to be filed to HMRC. If you are unsure, please speak to your accountant or contact HMRC to discuss further.

The 'organisations/VAT' API is currently unavailable

The error message "The 'organisations/VAT' API is currently unavailable” means that HMRC are having trouble receiving the VAT return that you’re trying to file.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Check that more than 72 hours have passed since confirmation was received of your business registering for Making Tax Digital (MTD).
  2. Check whether HMRC are experiencing widespread technical issues with their API.
  3. If your business has only received confirmation of registering for MTD within the last 72 hours or HMRC are experiencing API issues, please try filing your VAT return again later.

Something's gone wrong - Invalid request

The error message "Something's gone wrong - INVALID_REQUEST: Invalid request” means that there is some misbehaviour between your website browser and FreeAgent. For example, your browser sends too many action requests to FreeAgent when trying to file the VAT return under MTD.

To resolve this issue:

  1. Log in to your FreeAgent account using a different browser and try filing the VAT return to HMRC again.
  2. Try logging in to your FreeAgent account using a private browser window. See below for details on how to use a private window if you are unsure:

    Chrome
    Safari
    Firefox
    Edge

  3. If using a private browser works, we’d recommend clearing the cache and cookies from your regular browser and this should fix things for you moving forward. See below for details on how to do that:

    Chrome
    Safari
    Firefox
    Edge

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