Limited company Self Assessment error message: a problem with the data in your return
If you’re a director and the total value of dividends paid out by the company to you at the end of a tax year has a credit balance (below zero), you’ll receive the following error message when trying to view your tax return:
“There's a problem with the data in your XXXX/XX Self Assessment Return.”
Viewing your dividend balance for the tax year
To identify which dividends might need changing, navigate to the ‘My Money’ tab at the top of the screen and select ‘Dividends’ from the drop-down menu.
Select your name and the relevant tax year from the drop-down menus.
If the total value of dividends paid out by the company to you at the end of the tax year has a credit balance (below zero), the ‘Total Paid’ figure will be negative. This negative balance triggers the error message, as a company can’t pay out negative dividends. For more information about dividends, please see this article.
The dividend vouchers can be accessed by selecting the dividend description. Looking at these will confirm which dividends may need changing.
Once you’ve identified which dividend(s) need to be changed, you can follow the steps below to correct the negative balance.
Correcting the negative dividend balance
If your accountant created the journal entry for you to re-allocate an amount from the dividend account to your director's loan account, they will need to delete the journal entry and instead edit the explanation on each of the bank transactions. They will need to change the ‘Category’ of the bank transactions from ‘Dividend’ to ‘Payment from Director Loan Account’.
If you need to edit a dividend allocated to you, navigate to the ‘Accounting’ tab at the top of the screen and select ‘Reports’ from the drop-down menu.
Select ‘Show Transactions’ in the ‘Detailed’ section.
Select the relevant accounting year and your dividend account from the drop-down menus. Remember that the negative balance is triggered by dividends being less than zero in a tax year, so you may need to look at figures for two accounting years.
Select the description of the dividend(s) that needs to be corrected and make the relevant changes.
Once the total value of dividends paid to you by the company has a positive value at the end of the tax year, you will be able to view and file your Self Assessment tax return to HMRC from FreeAgent.
If you’re unsure how to correct the dividend journal entries, please speak to your accountant as the credit (negative) balance will need to be removed to clear the error message.