Sales Tax Return Already Filed

by Lynne

Cannot File Prior Period GST/HST Tax Return

Cannot File Prior Period GST/HST Tax Return

I am using my newly purchased QB and filed my current quarterly Sales Tax Return.

Now I am entering data retrospectively for the last fiscal year. I want to File Return and Receive Refund from Agency, but QB says I cannot file - return already filed. I did not do this for any period last year, but have done it for in current year.

Do I have to manually create an invoice for Sales Tax Agency?

Many thanks.

image of fancy scroll lines

Hi Lynne,

Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I needed time to experiment a bit.

I recreated your error message ... you can see it in the first picture.

Next I tried to re-file the last return so that I could clear prior periods. That created the error message in the second picture above.

I think you are going to have to manually prepare each payment and/or refund. Make sure your GST/HST Payable account is balanced prior to filing your next GST/HST return.

Take a backup before you file your return ... which you should do anyway in case something goes wrong.

What is going to happen is that when you file your next legitimate tax return in QuickBooks, it is going to clear all your prior periods ... which is why I said to take a backup BEFORE you begin and make sure you are balanced.

You are going to have to manually create your GST/HST return that you actually file with CRA as your QuickBooks report will have carry forward balances from your prior periods.

I am wondering how you got your opening balances for QuickBooks setup if you are retroactively going back and entering data. Usually, you enter your opening balances for the time period where you want to begin and go forward ... not backward ... in time.

P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this post or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using this site content for any reason whatsoever.

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Mar 14, 2011
Thank you for your response
by: Lynne

Hello Laura and sincere thanks for your response. I am encouraged that I had read the situation correctly, even though I may have created a problem that I can't deal with. Do I have to create an invoice to Tax agency, then receive a payment for the earlier periods?

The answer to your question is that I didn't have any opening balances ....

I'm sure mine isn't the first sorry story you have read ... I used to have a very competent bookkeeper run my year end in Simply accounting, prepare the tax return and send me a back-up file to start the new fiscal year with. I moved far away and she doesn't use email, plus I had used QB tax software for several years and thought this would be a good time to convert to QB accounting.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone who could/would export my SA data to QB so I could make the data entry for the last fiscal year. I started using QB to keep data entry for this year upto date and file Sales Tax returns. As my tax filing deadline was approaching and I still hadn't found anyone, I started entering the previous fiscal year data, hoping that I would find someone to run the year end for me, hence the retospective entries. My tax filing deadline is 14 days away and I have a lot to do. Which leads me to ask for further help about entering the last fiscal year opening balances in order to be able to close the year and prepare tax filing. Is this something I should ask in a new post?

Many thanks for this wonderful site and opportunity to ask questions.

Mar 14, 2011
Opening Balances in QuickBooks
by: Laura

Hi Lynne,

As sorry as your story may be, it did make me smile today ... actually it gave me a great big grin ... so thank your for that!

To enter your opening balances, take your final trial balance or financial statements from the last time your bookkeeper did your books in Simply.

Open up a journal entry in QuickBooks and enter in all your balance sheet account balances except for accounts receivable and payable, sales tax, your bank balance and retained earnings. These accounts will get setup separately. Your offsetting entry for this journal entry is the Intuit account called Opening Balance Equity.

Quickbooks will only accept one A/R or A/P in a journal entry and it has to be on the first line. This means your next step is to enter each item outstanding on your aging reports in a journal entry ... one item per journal entry ... again with the offsetting balance to Opening Balance Equity.

Do the same thing with your outstanding checks or deposits in your last / final bank reconciliation in Simply ... and setup your payable or receivable for GST/HST Payable. The offsetting balance will always be to Opening Balance Equity.

If you've done it correctly, the balance in Opening Balance Equity will be equal to your retained earnings. When you are balanced and happy, clear this account to Retained Earnings and hide it as you shouldn't have to use it again.

For your GST/HST Payable, I think but I'm not 100% positive as I haven't done it before, you will have to use Write Cheque to pay the GST/HST for the prior periods ... ignoring the warning about using the Sales Tax Module. Just make sure you select the appropriate "tax item" portion in the coding area of the cheque.

By the by, your Payee will not be "Tax Agency" but Receiver General.

If you had a refund, then you will have to "Make Deposit" following the same general principal as above. Here your customer your be Receiver General - Receivable.

Just to be safe, I'd be making backups after every step and putting a meaningful name for each backup file in case you muck something up or the solution doesn't work and we need to come up with a different solution.

I hope I covered everything!

Mar 17, 2011
Outstanding willingness to help and professional insight
by: Lynne

Thank you again Laura

I will have to work through your instructions.

"This means your next step is to enter each item outstanding on your aging reports in a journal entry ... one item per journal entry ... again with the offsetting balance to Opening Balance Equity."

I am confused by "each item outstanding on your aging reports". Please could you clarify.

I have been quoted between 24 and 48 hours by a bookkeeper with 30 years experience to enter the opening balances for me and close the year. I have 146 purchases and 8 sales invoices. Is it me or do you think this sounds a lot. Val used to spend a couple of hours, which included preparing the tax return.

I am truly grateful for your time and am glad that you enjoy the website work - I love the Site Build it concept.


Mar 17, 2011
Entering Opening AR/AP balances
by: Laura

Hi Lynne,

If you have, for example, 2 customers with an accounts receivable balance and 7 venders with outstanding payable balances at Dec 31 (assuming that is your year-end), you need to enter 9 separate journal entries establishing the opening balances.

Account Receivable Entry - 2 times - one for each customer

Dr A/R Customer Name
Cr Opening Balance Equity


Account Payable Entry - 7 times - one for each vendor

Dr Opening Balance Equity
Cr A/P Vendor Name

If you don't have an aged AR and/or AP report for the last year-end your bookkeeper did for you, you are going to have to go through your ledger to determine what the balances for each individual customer or vendor is/was. You are balanced when this sub-ledger equals the control total in your general ledger.

Some bookkeepers have minimum billing amounts or fixed fee charges for some work. Normally a bookkeeper will cost less than an accountant, so the more work you can have them do, the lower your overall fees will be.

Hope that helps.

Mar 19, 2011
OBE question
by: Anonymous

Hello Laura

I did not have the confidence to make the journal entries. I was afraid that my earlier transaction data entries would have errors that would affect the balances, giving me more problems to solve. As this company has so few transactions, I decided to start from scratch and create a new company. I renamed the old company first.

I have learned a lot from watching what happened as I made each entry. I also saw how I create problems in not defining accounts and sub accounts sufficiently. This confirmed my earlier fear in my first paragraph here and I'm glad I saved myself the heartache of trouble shooting them.

I am almost in balance now (on the new company), but of course almost means NOT. (I am a vegan and a friend once tried to persuade me to eat a cake which only had 'very little egg' in it!) Balancing books is like being a vegan - you either do or you don't :-)

I checked all my typing for errors - there are none. I made the mistake (I think) of entering retained earnings. Then reading your earlier post again, I decided to zero the journal. I hope this was correct?

I dont understand why Common Stock (Equity) is showing on the journal as a minus. Is it because my retained earnings are negative? However, the difference I am looking for (to achieve the retained earnings on last years balance sheet) is equal to bank + accounts payable.

Am I on track? What is the next step please?

I feel pleased that I have understood far more from your responses than I have ever done before. I have identified that one-to-one training on my company would help me the most - as it has real meaning to me. Have you considered offering this as a chargeable service using Zoho or similar, where we can work on the same screen, watching what the other is doing? Perhaps you do already and I have missed it. I am very focused elsewhere at present and look forward to following every link on this site once this tax return is filed!).

As always thankyou so much - you have been incredible.

Regards Lynne

Mar 19, 2011
Contact Me
by: Laura


There you go making me smile again! Thanks.

Contact me and I can arrange a time to look at what you've done online. I'll let you know my fee per hour and you can decide from there.

Feb 11, 2018
Same error, slightly different problem
by: Cathie

I have just realised I did not file a tax return for the first quarter of 2017. When I try to file it now in QuickBooks I get the error "Sales Tax Return Already Filed".

How do I get around this and make the payment I need to make for the 1st quarter of 2017?

Apr 07, 2018
by: Lake

You can still pay CRA no matter what your accounting software is doing or not doing.

I'm guessing you have file Q2, Q3, & 4. I bet if you go back and look, the Q2 report filed probably included Q1 & Q2 together.

Your ProAdvisor has the ability to delete prior returns and redo them. So you may want to go that option.

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