Guide to the main HMRC payroll forms for small businesses

When you run a small business, either as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, there will always be a number of HMRC forms you will need to be aware of. Although your accountant will typically take care of many of your form-filling duties, we have summarised what the most common forms are used for in this concise guide.

For in-depth details, visit the HMRC site, and always check with your accountant first, if you are unsure about the information you are required to submit.

Most businesses, and certainly their accountants, file all of their payroll submissions online as a result of the Real Time Information (RTI) changes from 2013 onwards. If you are exempt from web filing, you can still submit paper forms in some cases.

P45

This form, which will be familiar to most of our readers, is issued to employees when they leave a job. It shows how much income tax, and National Insurance Contributions have been deducted from the individual’s gross salary during the current tax year. Your old employer must give you a P45.

When an employee starts a new job, they should provide the new employer with their previous employment details.

There are several parts to the P45.

  • Part 1 – your old employer sends this to HMRC.
  • Parts 2 & 3 – are given to you, and you pass them on to your new employer.
  • Part 1A – is yours to keep in a safe place.

Find out more about what to do when an employee leaves your business.

P60

The P60 certificate must be provided to all employees at the end of each tax year – either on paper, or electronically; it details the total income tax and NIC, plus any other deductions made during the tax year. You must issue all employees with a P60 by 31st May.

Your P60 should be kept in a safe place, as you may need to use it as proof of earnings if you want to take out a loan or mortgage. It can also be used to prove your eligibility for tax credits, and can be used to show that you have overpaid (or underpaid) tax.

If you, or an employee, have or have had more than one employment during the tax year, each employer should provide the employee with a separate P60.

Find out more about the P60 requirements here.

P11 and P11D

This form shows the taxable value of all expenses and benefits provided to employees who have earned £8,500 or more during the tax year (and all directors if you run a limited company). All P11D forms should be submitted to HMRC by 6th July, and you must provide a copy to all relevant employees.

You can read HMRC’s guide to the P11 forms here.

P6

If the tax code of one of your employees changes at any time during the tax year, HMRC will send you this form (as the employer).

P9

As the employer, HMRC will send a P9 Notice of Coding form if an employee’s tax code is due to change from the start of the following tax year.

P32

This is the Employer Payment Record of payments made to HMRC each month (income tax, NICs, student loan payments). It has been absorbed into the RTI submission process – see below for information on the FPS and EPS.

P46 (no longer used)

This form used to be used by a new employer when the P45 for a new starter wasn’t available. The form was made redundant by the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI), and has been replaced by the Starter Checklist.

P14, P35 (no longer used)

To be completed by 19th May each year, the P35 detailed how much income tax and NICs had been deducted for each employee during the course of the previous tax year.

Form P14 was an end of year summary, which was completed for all employees who earned the Lower Earning Limit or above.

These forms are no longer used, as a result of the implementation of Real Time Information (RTI) from 2013 onwards, whereby payroll data is sent to HMRC automatically whenever a business processes a payroll run.

These old forms were replaced by the Employer Payment Summary (EPS) and Full Payment Submission (FPS) – see below:

Full Payment Submission (FPS)

The FPS is submitted to HMRC whenever a business pays its employees, courtesy of the RTI process. It contains details of all employees’ pay and deductions.

Employer Payment Summary (EPS)

Another RTI submission, the EPS is used it no employees were paid during the period in question, or if the business wants to claim deductions such as the Employment Allowance. If you submit an EPS, you must do so by 19th of the following month.

Self Assessment Tax Return

Personal tax return. This should be completed if you have received a form from HMRC, or if you have received income on which tax needs to be paid. Paper returns must be returned by 31st October each tax year, and online returns by 31st January. In both cases, all tax owing must also be paid by 31st January. Read our dedicated guide to self assessment for more details.

Last updated: 7th March, 2021

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