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Understanding error codes when submitting Corporation Tax returns

21st Apr 2023
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Picture this: it’s tax season and you’re already on your third coffee of the day at 10am trying to get through the busy period. All of a sudden, you notice an error message pop up. This is the last thing you need – but don’t stress, these errors don’t always mean bad news. You could simply be missing a digit in your file or else you’ve duplicated your submission. No matter what the error code is, we’ve got you covered. 

When you’re using BTCSoftware by Bright for tax and compliance, these codes are displayed in-software to help you work faster and remove the risk of errors. Let’s take a look at some of the common hiccups! 

Error 1046: Authentication failure 

Error 1046 is one of the most common issues that accountants may face when making submissions to HMRC. If you encounter the message “Local Error: 1046 Authentication failure”, this means that the credentials you are using are not valid. But this could be for a number of reasons:  

  • Wrong version of the software: Please check you have the latest version of the software by clicking Help > Check for Updates. 

  • Wrong Government Gateway ID or Password: These can be checked using the Options button from the submission dialogue. 

  • Invalid UTR: The UTR (Unique Tax Reference) should be entered in the correct format. For Corporation Tax Returns, this should be 13 digits. For Self-Assessment Returns this should be 10 digits. 

  • A problem with the HMRC Gateway: You can check the HMRC status page. If they have not published any issues, then you should call HMRC for up-to-date information on the status of the Gateway, quoting your references. 

Error 1608: Invalid UTR Number

Although it might sound confusing, the error code 1608 is an incorrect UTR number. HMRC issue UTR codes to help identify companies for all tax related purposes. A company's UTR code is a 10-digit number and can be found by logging into your business tax account or requesting a copy by post from HMRC. If this error code pops up, don’t stress, just make sure that you’re using the exact 10 digits that HMRC have issued to you and not your personal UTR.  

Error code 3001: Incorrect information submitted 

We all know how easy it can be to make a mistake such as entering the wrong digit or accidently putting too much sugar in your colleague’s tea – this problem can be solved. If you try to submit information to HMRC and you get a pop up saying “error code 3001”, this means that you have submitted invalid information. This normally is accompanied by another code such as “1608” that will clarify where the error has occurred.  

Error code 3304: Duplicate accounts submitted  

Submitting a clients Corporation Tax return (CT600) for the last 12 months can feel like weight lifted off your shoulder. But if someone in your practice was unaware and they submitted that Corporation Tax return for a second time, an error message 3304 will pop up on their laptop screen. This indicates that the file they are trying to submit is a duplicate and has already been submitted and protects you from headaches!  

Bright creates software for tax, compliance, practice management and payroll. We’re on a mission to make a happy and efficient working life a reality for accountants and businesses through reliable software and amazing support. If you’d like to learn more about Bright’s tax software BTCSoftware, why not book a free 15-minute demo and see how it can help improve your firm. 

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