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Fix payroll error codes in QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks10Updated over 1 year ago

Trying to make a submission to HMRC but can't because of an error? Don't worry, here’s a list of the most common error codes and how to fix them.

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

This is a system failure which usually means that there’s an issue with HMRC’s website. You can wait and try submitting again later, or contact HMRC directly if you need to.

“Authentication Failure. The supplied user credentials failed validation for the requested service.”

Potential causes:

  • You may be using the wrong Government Gateway credentials. Double check that you are using the correct credentials specifically for payroll.
  • If you copy and paste your user ID and password from elsewhere when signing in, try entering these details manually. 
  • Check that you’ve entered the correct PAYE reference number. 
  • If you’ve recently activated your account, it may take some time for HMRC to verify your account and update their platform.

Still having problems? Contact HMRC directly.

“Invalid content found at element”

Check the following in employees details: 

  • Make sure there’s no additional spaces entered before and after the business address, first and last name, as well as the employee’s address fields.
  • Make sure an apostrophe (') is used rather than a closed single quote in surnames such as O'Connor.

This error will appear if there is no Accounts office Reference entered in the HMRC settings. To fix this, make sure this is entered correctly on the HMRC website and saved before you click on Submit pay run to HMRC

“Value doesn’t have the correct format.”

See Error code 4065.

“Accounts Office Ref or PAYE Ref is incorrect.”

Make sure the Accounts Office Reference number or PAYE Reference number is entered correctly in QuickBooks. Be sure to save any changes made before re-submitting to HMRC. To do so:

  1. Go to the Gear icon > Account and settings > Payroll
  2. In the HMRC reference section, select the pencil icon to Edit.
  3. Enter the correct PAYE reference and Accounts Office reference
  4. Save.

“Enter error code message here.”

This error usually appears when HMRC isn’t expecting RTI submissions for the PAYE scheme. This could be because the HMRC online services account is not yet activated for PAYE submissions, or the agent hasn’t been authorised by the client. 

Note: HMRC will automatically close PAYE schemes that have had no activity for some time, and they may have closed the scheme you're trying to submit for. To get your account working again, you’ll need to reach out to HMRC directly and report the issue. 

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

This may be due to one of the following: 

  • The scheme hasn’t started yet 
  • The scheme started after the submission date
  • The scheme has ended before the submission date

You’ll need to check when the scheme was created and registered with HMRC or when it was ceased. If you don’t have these details, please contact HMRC directly.

“At least one of [EMPLOYEE], [COMPRESSEDPART] or [FINALSUBMISSION] must be submitted:”

This error will appear if you have no employees in the pay run.

This error message will usually appear if the wrong user ID and password is used. You can double check if you’re using the right credentials to submit to HMRC in QuickBooks by signing in on the HMRC website.

If this error still shows, you may need to turn on notifications and messages on your account. To do so:

  1. Sign in to your account on the HMRC website.
  2. Select the Change how you get tax code and student loan notices link. 
  3. Make sure that the notices are all set to Yes.

See also

For more help on managing employees and payroll, check out the Standard Payroll or Advanced Payroll hub page.

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