Error codes you might receive when submitting your payroll

This article provides a list of error codes you may receive when submitting your payroll in FreeAgent, along with suggested steps to take to resolve them.

Please note that FreeAgent's payroll functionality won't be available if you have an unincorporated landlord account or if you're preparing your accounts using the cash accounting basis.

Below is a list of error codes that you may receive and how to resolve them. Select the relevant error code for more details:

Ineligible filing period

The error message in FreeAgent

“This submission cannot be accepted as it does not fall within the eligible filing period.”

What it means

This error message indicates that HMRC is not expecting an RTI submission from you for this period. There are a few reasons why this could be the case:

  • If your RTI submissions have been £0 for at least the previous three months, it's possible that HMRC has closed the payroll scheme for your company.
  • The error message could also mean that HMRC requires some of your company details to be updated(e.g. your business address) and is temporarily preventing submissions as a result.

What you need to do

Contact the HMRC Employer Helpline on 0300 200 3200 and they should be able to confirm why the submission was rejected and help resolve the issue.

Account owner’s name is too large

The error message in FreeAgent

“Account Holder’s Name: Value 'XXXX' is too large.”

What it means

This error message means that the company is due a refund of PAYE and there are too many characters in the value you’ve entered for the company name in the refund field.

What you need to do

You will need to shorten the company name and then file again. Until you do this, a partial RTI submission will be shown in your FreeAgent account.

Values in payroll profile fields are too large

The error message in FreeAgent

“At the Lower Earnings Limit to Date: Value ‘XXXX’ is too large.”

What it means

This error message means that the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) in at least one payroll profile is higher than the annual threshold for that payroll year.

What you need to do

You’ll need to update the figure in the ‘At LEL’ field in the 'Earnings by NI Category Letter' section of each affected payroll profile in FreeAgent to only show the monthly equivalent of the LEL threshold for the number of months that payroll has been filed outside of FreeAgent.

Once you’ve updated the relevant payroll profiles, try submitting the payroll to HMRC again. Please note that the error message will not automatically disappear when the payroll profile is updated, but the submission should now go through.

Authentication failure

The error message in FreeAgent

“HMRC has rejected the submission due to an authentication failure.”

What it means

This error message means that HMRC has not recognised the Government Gateway details you’ve entered.

What you need to do

If you’re new to running a business and have only just started paying employees, you should first make sure that you’ve registered with HMRC as an employer.

Once you’ve registered and received your Accounts Office and PAYE reference numbers from HMRC, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve enabled payroll as a service in your HMRC online account. At the same time, you should enter the PAYE reference numbers in the 'Company Details' section of your FreeAgent account.

When you’ve completed the steps above, the Government Gateway ID and password fields will still be pre-filled with the old values when you go to submit your payroll in FreeAgent. Delete these values and manually enter your new details in exactly the same way as you would when you access your HMRC online account.

System failure

The error message in FreeAgent

“System failure. The submission of this document has failed due to an internal system error.”

What it means

This error message usually indicates that a delay has been caused by issues that HMRC is experiencing with online filing.

What you need to do

HMRC usually resolves these kinds of errors within 24 hours. If you keep attempting to submit the RTI, it should eventually go through.

Entry date is later than the 5th of the current month

Error message in FreeAgent

“The entry [NOPAYMENTDATETO] must be no later than the 5th of the current tax month.”

What it means

There are two different types of RTI submissions, which should be filed at different times:

  1. The Full Payment Submission (FPS), which can be submitted from the 1st of the month.
  2. The Employer Payment Summary (EPS), which can only be submitted from the 6th of the month.

This error message indicates that you have attempted to submit an EPS on the wrong date and HMRC has rejected the submission.

What you need to do

To resolve this issue, wait until the 6th of the month and then file again.

Employer scheme has been cancelled

Error message in FreeAgent

“This submission cannot be accepted as this employer scheme has been cancelled.”

What it means

This error message often indicates that there has been a period of at least three months of £0 RTI filings and HMRC has closed the company’s payroll scheme as a result.

What you need to do

To resolve this issue, contact HMRC’s employer helpline on 0300 200 3200.

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