14.1 Introduction

This chapter covers sending in tax returns electronically using the Internet Filing System (FBI).

14.2 ELS

ELS is no longer supported.

14.3 Filing By Internet

14.3.1 Introduction

Internet filing is similar in concept to ELS, the big improvement being the vastly faster turnaround. It should take between a few seconds, and at most a few minutes, to get a response.
Before you can use the service you must register as an agent at http://www.gateway.gov.uk. You can then submit any tax returns belong to clients for which a 64-8 has been completed. When you register you will be given a userid and password

14.3.2 Setting up

Go into Tools/User Setup and :-

  • Chose “Submit via FBI” under the general tab
  • Enter your agent details under the Agent Details tab
  • 14.3.3 Terminology

    This section defines some of the terms used with respect to internet filing.


    The irmark or unique return identifier is a sequence of numbers that is printed across the top of the return and transmitted to the Inland Revenue as part of the xml transmission.
    It is a “watermark” to prevent tampering. Make any change to the return and the irmark will change, change the data back to what it was and the irmark will also revert.
    No changes should therefore be made to the return after it has been signed by the client.

    Correlation ID

    Each time you transmit a return the gateway computer generates a Correlation ID.
    It is like a booking reference that uniquely identifies that particular transmission.
    Quote the correlation ID to the IR helpdesk and they should be able to identify the transmission.
    It will appear on all acknowledgements and responses.
    If you stop a transmission (see below), make sure you save the return.


    The key data is the data on the return that uniquely identify it, for a tax retrun it is the UTR, for P35/P14 it is the tax office number/reference etc.
    Any error message referrring to “keys” indicate an error in these.


    This refers to a message received from the Inland Revenues computer to indicate that the return has been received but not yet processed.


    This refers to a message received from the Inland Revenues computer to indicate that the return has either succeeded or failed.

    14.3.4 Preparing the return

    Complete the tax return or load one that you have already prepared.

    Click on the FBI tab. This does some validation and calculates a number called the IRmark

    Print either a full return or summary for signature.
    It is important that you do this after clicking on the FBI tab and correct any errors or the IRmark on the printout will differ.

    14.3.5 Submitting the return

    You submit a return by loading the return, going into the FBI tab.

    If there are no errors you will be prompted to transmit.
    If there are errors reported and you feel that they are not significant you may still submit by pressing the submit button.
    The following screen appears asking for your logon details.

    Enter the userid and password supplied by the Inland Revenue. ( You must already have registered at www.gateway.gov.uk ).

    On pressing OK, you should be connected to the internet. If this does not happen, make sure you have a working internet connection and try again.

    When you submit a return, one of three things can happen. You can get an response of success, a response of failure, or most likely of all, just an acknowledgement.
    An acknowledgment means that the return has been received but not yet processed. ProTax will automatically query the Inland Revenues computer, resulting in a sequence of acknowledgents followed by either success or failure.
    The whole process should take less than 30 seconds.
    If you see nothing at all there check

    your internet connection is working (you may need to connect to the internet manually)
    you do not have a software firewall such as Norton, McAfee or zone alarm preventing the response arriving

    The following picture shows the screen that appears while ProTax is waiting for a response.
    ProTax has asked 4 times for a response, but in each case it has received just an acknowledgement.
    In due course, and typical within 30 seconds ProTax will receive a response.

    At busy times, it may take longer than 30 seconds to get a response.
    Instead of waiting for a response now, you can use the stop button.
    Save the return and carry on with other work and possibly other returns.
    It is important that you save the return as it needs to store the correlation id.
    A new correlation id is generated every time you transmit a return and will be displayed in all responses and acknowledgements.
    ProTax will also transmit this number to the Inland Revenues system when asking for responses. It is a bit like an airline booking reference.

    Later on, you may reload the clients return into ProTax, go to the FBI tab.
    If a correlation ID has been stored you will be asked if you wish to continue waiting for the response.

    14.3.5 Sample Acknowledgement

    Above is a sample of an acknowledgement message. This indicates the return has been received but NOT YET PROCESSED. The correlation ID uniquely identifies this transaction. Later on there is a timestamp.
    This message indicates the IR have received your return but not yet processed it. You will probably get several such acknowledgements.

    14.3.6 Sample Acceptance

    Above is a sample acceptance message. The correlation ID uniquely identifies this transaction. Later on there is a timestamp. Print a copy of this message for your records.

    14.3.7 Sample Rejection

    Above is a sample rejection message.
    This indicate failure. The correlation ID uniquely identifies this transaction. Later on there is a timestamp.

    If you scroll down using the scrollbar on the right you will see the rest of the rejection message. The example below indicates that the figure in 10.4 is incorrect.

    14.3.8 Schema Validation

    The XML data that is transmitted to the Inland Revenue is checked by their system against something called a schema.
    This checks the integrity of the data and produces (often incomprehsible) error 6010: schema validation errors.
    It is now possible to check the data against the schema before transmission and get a hopefully more understandable error message.
    To do this you need the schemas installed (see schemas on downloads page). You will also need to tick the schema validation tick box under tools user setup.

    14.3.9 UTRs on Gateway site

    The Government gateway lists all clients for whom you hold a 64-8.
    These are the only clients for which you can Efile returns.
    Log on to the government gateway and choose client list.
    The UTRs are listed.
    To look up those UTRs in your client database :-

  • Bring up the list of utrs on the Gateway website.
  • Choose Edit then Select All.
  • Choose Edit then Copy.
  • Go into ProTax.
  • Select the FBI tab at the bottom of the screen.
  • Go to the FBI menu at the top of the screen.
  • Select Advanced, Check UTRs in clipboard.
  • 14.3.10 Batch filing

    The FBI system is designed for filing single returns.
    On top of this ProTax adds a batch filing infrastructure.
    This is very similar to ELS filing.
    When you use batch filing the following folders are created :-

  • c:forbesfbipending
  • c:forbesfbi axout
  • c:forbesfbiacknowledged
  • c:forbesfbiarchivepassed
  • c:forbesfbiarchivefailed
  • c:forbesfbi axin
  • The exact paths will vary slightly if you software is not installed in c:forbes.

    All the commands for batch mode are in the FBI menu, in a submenu called Batch.
    For the remainder of this section when we refer to a menu command, it will be in this submenu, which is only active when the FBI tab is selected at the bottom of the screen.
    You should have successfully transmitted a number of returns directly before using batch mode.

    Tax returns can be put in the pending directory using the Copy menu item from FBI/Batch.
    This menu item can also be used to move returns from pending into taxout and to copy them directly into taxout.
    Once they are in taxout they are ready for transmission.
    You can build up a collection of returns in taxout prior to transmission.
    At any time you can view the contents of taxout, pending or any other folder using FBI/Batch/View.

    When you are ready to transmit, choose FBI/Batch/Submit.
    This will transmit all returns in taxout, moving them to the “acknowledged” folder as they are acknowledged.
    ProTax will then repeatedly check for responses for files in the acknowledged folder.
    As returns either pass or fail they will be moved into the “archive/passed” or “archive/failed” folders.
    The responses will be written to the “taxin” folder, where they can be viewed using FBI/Batch/View/taxin.
    These can also be viewed in the passed and failed folder, where the file names will begin with the word “response_”.

    If you stop the batch process at any time, you can start it up later by selecting FBI/Batch/Submit again.
    You can also stop the batch process, add some more files to taxout, and then start it up again.

    14.4 Agent Authorisation Online

    14.4.1 Fill in 64-8 or FBI2

    Make sure that you have completed your IR agent ref under Tools / User Setup / Agent details.


    Fill in all relevant data, e.g. for SA returns the UTR, NINO, person’s address and the agent’s address.

    14.4.2 Transmit

    Click the FBI tab. This will then prompt you to fill in your username and password and transmit – click Yes.
    The 64-8 or FBI2 then interacts with the government gateway and responds with a ‘Success’ or ‘Failure’ message (see above).
    If the message is successful then the response will include a message stating ‘awaiting issue’ – save the return and see stage 3 below.
    If the message indicates a failure, see stage 4.

    14.4.3 Authorisation Code

    Once you have submitted the 64-8 or FBI2, your client will receive a authorisation code through the post which he must pass on to you.
    When you receive the authorisation code, go into Protax and load up the relevant 64-8 or FBI2, click FBI but DO NOT click transmit. Go FBI->Advanced->Agent Authentication->Set Code and enter the code in the dialog. Resubmit the return. This time a Successful Transmission will indicate the process in complete. For failures please see stage 4.

    14.4.4 Failure Response

    Some of the more common response failures are listed below:

  • 7001 Client Details Failed to match
  • 7002 Agent submits a request for the same client
  • 7004 Incorrect Code Entered
  • 7005 Incorrect code entered 3 times resulting in the code being locked
  • 7006 Client Details Failed to match to the Agent
  • 7008 Data does not match Data does not match Data does not match
  • 14.4.5 Delete clients

    How can I delete clients I no longer represent?

    Open up the 64-8 or FBI2 for the client. Click FBI but DO NOT click transmit. Go FBI->Advanced->Agent Authentication->Remove Client.
    This will set the flag to remove the client from your client list. Click Submit and enter your user name and password. You should then receive
    a successful transmission response.

    IMPORTANT – please remember to go back to the FBI->Advanced->Agent Authentication->Remove Client and remove the tick after successfully deleting the client.
    This will ensure subsequent 64-8 or FBI2 forms add clients to your list.

    You will need to delete clients for each service (for example you would need to remove them from both your PAYE and CT client lists). There will be a confirmation message to help avoid ‘accidental’ deletions.

    14.5 PDF Attachments

    It is now possible to attach PDF files to SA100, SA800 and SA900 forms.
    PDF writers are commercially available with pricing ranging from a few pounds to several hundred.
    The pdf write you have purchase will appear as another on your system.
    You can therefore produce pdf from program that can print.

    Before using attachments please read the follwing HMRC guidance.


    pdf writers are available (cheapest first).

  • http://www.pdf995.com
  • http://www.jawspdf.com/pdf_creator/
  • http://www.scansoft.com
  • http://www.adobe.com
  • Once you have all your attachments converted to pdf format you can include them in the tax return for transmission by
    choosing File then Attachments prior to transmission.