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Fix payroll errors in QuickBooks Online Standard Payroll

by QuickBooks Online Payroll Standard Updated 4 months ago

If you're running a business, you need to make sure that your payroll is in order. However, encountering issues with calculations, submissions and other processes can be frustrating.

In this article, we'll address common problems when handling payroll. To quickly find the solution that applies to your specific error, skip ahead to the relevant section:

Statutory payment issues

SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) calculation issue

If you're experiencing problems with SMP calculations in QuickBooks, here are a few possible reasons and solutions to consider:

  1. Employee doesn't meet the eligibility criteria:
    • The employee may not be earning enough to qualify for SMP.
    • The employee hasn't worked continuously for at least 26 weeks leading up to the "qualifying week" (15th week before the expected week of childbirth).
  2. Partial week calculations:
    • QuickBooks Standard Payroll calculates SMP based on full weeks only.
    • If an employee starts their maternity leave in the middle of a week, the first few days of that week will be pushed to the next week's period for calculation purposes.
  3. Pay date within the pay period:
    • If the pay date falls within the pay period, HMRC assumes it's the end date of the period for SMP calculation.
    • To accurately calculate an employee's statutory pay, we recommend using the HMRC calculator.

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Submissions to HMRC problems

Unable to send FPS (Full Payment Submission) to HMRC

Here some possible reasons why this might be happening and how you can fix it:

  1. Check your Government Gateway sign-in details:
    • Make sure you use the correct sign-in details so that you can access and submit your payroll information accurately.
  2. Check if the National Insurance on the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) exceeds the maximum threshold.
  3. Fill in and complete the starter declaration section for new employees in QuickBooks:
    • If the employee's record is left blank, this could be causes the issues. Go to the Taxes section of the employee's record.
  4. Incorrect National Insurance letter changes:
    • Check for any incorrect NI letter changes, especially those made for directors in the middle of the tax year.
    • NI letter changes in the middle of the tax year are only supported for regular employees, not company directors.
    • NI letter B is applicable only to women and requires proof before it can be applied.
    • If you need to change the NI letter for a company director in the middle of the tax year, you can update the information in Advanced Payroll. Alternatively, you can continue using the old letter in Standard Payroll and make the change at the beginning of the new tax year. Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to inform HMRC about these changes.
  5. Save the Account Office (AO) reference and Small Employers Relief in your settings.
    • If these details are not saved, the FPS won't be submitted successfully.
  6. Remove any pay type additions with negative values.
    •  If you have a pay type addition with a negative value, it can result in a negative year-to-date total, which the FPS does not allow. If the issue persists, you can contact HMRC directly for assistance.

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Unable to send EPS (Employer Payment Summary) to HMRC

If you're having trouble sending an EPS, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Check that you're using the correct Government Gateway sign-in details in your Payroll settings.
  2. Submit the EPS within in the submission window (6th to 19th of the following month).
  3. Select Small Employer Relief for reclaimable statutory payments included in your pay run.

Note: You can't submit an EPS if you're claiming employer allowance, reclaiming statutory payments or stopping a PAYE scheme.

If you need to claim employment allowance, statutory payment, or end a PAYE scheme, select the relevant heading for more information.

If you are eligible for Employment Allowance, you only need to submit an EPS to HMRC once, either at the beginning or during the tax year.

Once you've successfully made a claim, QuickBooks will create the EPS on the 6th of each tax month.

If you accidentally delete the EPS submission, don't worry. You can recreate it by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙️, then Account and settings.
  2. Under Payroll, select Employer NI relief.
  3. Change employment allowance to 'No, I don't qualify' and Save.
  4. Return to Payroll settings, change employment allowance to 'Yes, I qualify', and Save.

This will recreate the EPS submission, allowing you to submit it to HMRC. To check the status of all your EPS submissions, go to the Taxes section, then Payroll Tax.

To claim statutory payments like maternity or paternity pay, you must submit an EPS to HMRC during the same tax period as the payment.

If you don't see the option to send an EPS, check the following:

  1. Make sure the 'Small employers relief' and 'Employment Allowance' fields in your Payroll settings are filled with either Yes or No to generate an EPS.
  2. Record statutory payments as additional payments by entering them into the employee's record. To do this:
    1. Go to the employee's profile.
    2. Select Actions.
    3. In the Employees Leave section, choose the relevant statutory payment.

If you need to end a PAYE scheme, it's best to speak to your accountant or HMRC directly. Unfortunately, you cannot terminate a PAYE scheme by sending an EPS.

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Pay run related problems

Pay run rollback issue

If you encounter the error message "Something went wrong when rolling back a pay run" while trying to delete week 12, week 52, or week 53 of the previous tax year, there are a few steps you can take to resolve it:

  1. Make sure you're only attempting to delete the pay runs from the current tax year.
  2. If you recently made changes to your payroll, such as adding a new employee, delete the new employees before deleting the pay run. Once you have made changes to the final period of the last tax year, you can add the employees back in QuickBooks.
  3. If you have created a new pension scheme, try deleting it first and then roll back the pay run. If you continue to experience difficulties, reach out to Support for more help.

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Unable to complete employee setup

If you come across the 'employee set up error', don't worry! Try these steps to fix it:

  1. If your employee has a custom pension set up, be sure to choose the right taxation method in their pension settings.
  2. Check that you haven't entered an unsupported National Insurance letter change, such as changing from C to J.
  3. Make sure the NI letter in the employee's details matches the code in their Pay History, Tax, and NI details section in QuickBooks.
  4. When setting up a new employee in the middle of the tax year, remember to enter 0 in the Pay History section.

Here's a guide on how to edit employees in QuickBooks.

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Missing required fields

If you see the error message "Missing required fields on a pay run" while processing a pay run, there are two possible reasons:

  1. You have too many employees in the pay run. Try splitting them into multiple pay runs.
  2. One (or more) employees are missing required information. Go back and fill in the missing information for the affected employees.

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Unable to save or view the pay run draft

This error might pop up if you have a reclaimable statutory payment on the pay run, but you haven't chosen the Small Employer's Relief (SER) status in your payroll settings.

To fix this, go to your Payroll settings and pick the right SER status. This will help make sure all the statutory payments are calculated and recorded correctly.

If you're still getting the error message even after filling in all the required fields, it could be a problem with your browser or network. Try clearing your cache and cookies to fix any issues.

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Error when processing the request

This error is usually caused by a browser or network issue, but clearing your cache and cookies should do the trick. If that doesn't work, reach out to Support and we'll be happy to help.

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Something went wrong. Please wait a moment

If you see this error message, check the following details in your QuickBooks:

  1. Accounts Office (AO) reference. 
  2. PAYE reference.
  3. Government Gateway user ID and password is correct–make sure there is no space before or after when entering your details. 

Tip: If all the details are correct and you still see the error message, try resetting your Government Gateway password. Remember, it should be at least 12 characters long and should not include ampersands (&) and pound signs (£) or spaces.

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Auto enrolment errors

If you see the "An error has occurred with the auto enrolment of this employee" message, there are a few things you can try to fix it:

  1. Check that the employee's date of birth and gender are accurately entered in their records. The employee's should be over 16 and below 74 years old.
  2. Check that the employee meets the eligibility criteria for auto-enrolment.
  3. If the employee has been postponed from auto enrolment, enrol them when prompted and enter 0 in the contributions field within the employee's settings.
  4. If the employee has chosen to opt out of auto enrolment, you won't be able to opt them back in until the next re-enrolment period.

See workplace pensions

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Payroll journal issues

Unable to create payroll journals

Try these troubleshooting tips if you are seeing errors when creating journals.

  1. Check the 'Close the books' period doesn't overlap with the period you're trying to create a journal entry for. To do this:
    1. Go to Settings ⚙️.
    2. Select Account and settings, and then select the Advanced tab.
    1. Next to Accounting, select the pencil ✏️ icon.
    2. Switch off Close the books.
  2. Check if the 'Net pay account' is mapped in a foreign currency. 
    1. Go to Settings ⚙️.
    2. Select Account and settings, and then select the Advanced tab.
    3. In the Currency section, set the home currency to British Pound Sterling.
  3. Verify that your payroll liabilities and expenses sub-accounts are arranged correctly.
    There should be 3 sub-accounts under both Payroll liabilities and Payroll expenses. If they aren't in the correct order, it can cause issues with your journal. To check this:
    1. Add the word 'old' at the end of the names of the main payroll accounts, Payroll liabilities, and Payroll expenses, and save the changes.
    2. Try running a new payroll. This will create a new set of payroll liabilities and expenses accounts, which should also generate the correct payroll journals. If the issue persists, you may need to roll back and re-run payroll.
    3. Check that the changes you made have been registered by refreshing the audit log. To do this:
      1. Go to Settings ⚙️.
      2. Under Tools, select Audit log.
  4. Turn off the 'Warn when a duplicate journal number is used' setting.
    1. Go to Settings ⚙️.
    2. Select Account and settings, and then select the Advanced tab.
    3. In Other preferences, turn off Warn if duplicate journal entry number is used.

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Payroll error codes

Here's a guide on how to fix common payroll error codes.

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