Software support and frequently asked questions (FAQ)

These FAQs are for things that are recent and I have not had a chance to make a video yet or things that I consider too small to create a video for. It would be appreciated if users consult this before emailing

STP is taking a long time to lodge/ Stuck on sent status or stuck on retrieving status

During this week being the last week in the financial year, a lot if users have said it's taking a long time to get the OK message back from the ATO. Even 48 hours or more.

When you lodge STP pay slips. The software sends them to the ATO, the ATO receives them. But the ATO does not immediately process them. This is just how the batch lodgement process works. The software checks for messages to see if the ATO has processed it or there were errors. The software checks for a period of 24 hours (if left open). After this or if you close the software you can check manually for messages using the Retrieve button on the STP lodge page. This is discussed in this video:

If you change the batch status back to created and relodge the payroll you will get an error message that says they already have that submission. Unfortunately that makes it impossible to retrieve the messages from the original lodgement. So do not relodge the STP pay slips.

If you had this problem on your STP and it was the final for the year, then you cannot be 100% sure it was processed by the ATO so you should do a finalisation as per this video:

You can also amend and relodge as per the below FAQ on this error, "We were unable to process your submission because we already has a submission with this submission ID".

How to find my branch number

You have to log in to the ATO business portal. Go to your account summary or activity statement account. The activity statement account will have a number next to it like 001 or 002 or any number up to 999. When entering this number into FAS 3 Desktop omit the leading zeros.

Closely held payees

This page from the ATO, outlines some concessions for reporting STP for closely held payees. There is no special set up required in FAS 3 Desktop for this. Simply choosing the appropriate dates you can report to the ATO. The options are:

  1. Enter all the pay slips like a non closely held.
  2. As in 1 but only lodge the last one each quarter.
  3. As in 2 but total that all up and enter it in one pay slip and lodge that.
  4. Do 3 but use an reasonable estimate.

Refer to the ATO page about how to comply with each option. We recommend using option 1. The reason is that you have to produce a pay slip so why not just lodge it. We think this is the best way to comply with all your obligations, including super.

STP error: Cessation reason code/ cessation date

If the employee has ceased working for you. You need to enter a cessation date and a cessation reason. If the employee has not ceased working for you then both of these need to be blank. These details are set up on the Counterparty, Payroll details page. After correcting the details view the STP error correction video(s) for some tips about lodging the corrected values.

Revview the information in the Pay event info section of the pay slip and make sure it's correct.

I can't delete a batch because it has a transaction

Edit the transaction, then click Send to trash. You still can't delete the batch because you have to permanently delete the transaction from trash. Go to the trash, change the dates and click Update so that you can see that transaction then select the transaction and delete or delete all trash.

Note that if you have a BAS Off (hosted) business you can't permanently delete the transaction and therefore cannot delete the batch. Rename the batch to something like "... Do not use" or rename it and used it on the next pay run.

We were unable to process your submission because we already has a submission with this submission ID

This is what happens if you lodge the same STP batch twice. This is the error on the second lodgement. If you follow the steps in the videos this should not happen. TO fix this:

1. Change the batch status to lodge complete. Refer to this video on how to change the batch status.

Now at this point you could just leave it and move forward. The downside is that there is no 100% reliable record of what was lodged. E.g. was anything changed between the first and second lodge? If this is the year end finalisation you really need to be 100% sure. Also you could log in to the ATO business portal to check the payroll totals for the lodgement to make sure they are correct.

2. On the STP lodge page click Amend. Follow the steps in the STP error correction by amendment video.

Lodge error: The requested time range is invalid or unsupported. [E2003]...

This means that the time on your computer is not accurate enough. The ATO does not believe in time travel and rejects lodgements that arrive there before they were created or lodgements that arrive there long after they were created.

It's generally best to have your computer's time auto set from the network and there is an option for that somewhere in the settings.

The ATO asked for my Software ID

There are 2 ways to electronically lodge to the ATO. The ATO often incorrectly assumes that you have hosted data and asks for the Software ID.

  1. When you have a locally stored business file you MUST use the machine credential to lodge. There are 2 videos on the machine credential under the Administraion tasks section.
  2. When you have a hosted busines, i.e. a BAS Off (hosted) business then you MUST use the software ID method. There are instructions on the page F -> Set up electronic lodgements.

Because of the different identity verification and security requirements of locally stored data vs hosted data these 2 methods of electronic lodgement are not interchangable.

How do I print

F -> PDF current page.

There are 2 options, one includes the blanks. On things like a tax return there are always a lot of questions that are not applicable and not filled in. In that case the pdf excluding blanks can save a lot of paper.

Software support videos

We have produced a range of support resources, guides and tutorials to help you get started with and improve your usage of Free Accounting Software.

Whether you are a new business owner or just switching to new accounting software, you will find that these tutorials not only help with how to use our accounting software but also help with improving your accounting practices.

If you're doing it right your accounting practices should support you in running your business and managing it. It shouldn't be that time consuming or difficult. All the tutorials are very short and focus on a specific topic so that you can watch or read them as needed.

On the left of this page are links to the various tutorials. If you are new to Free Accounting Software, start with the install guides and getting started video.