Registering as an Employer with HMRC

Do you know what you need to do to register as an Employer with HMRC??


Then have a read……

You need to register as an employer with HMRC when you start employing staff.  You must register before the first payday providing information about the business and its employees.  It usually takes up to 5 days to get your employer PAYE reference number.  You cannot register more than 2 months before you start paying people.

Once registered, it is possible to set up a payroll system, pay employees and make returns and payments to HMRC.

You will need to register as an employer if your business takes on an employee and any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The employee is being paid at or above the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) threshold (£11,500 per year in 2017/18) or the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit (£5,876 per year in 2017/18).
  • Employee is being provided with employee benefits, for example expenses or a company car.
  • Employee already has another job or is receiving a state, company or occupational pension.

This applies even if you are the only employee of the business, for example if the business is a limited company and you are the sole director.

In most cases, you can register as an employer using HMRC’s online tax registration service. This is a step-by-step process allowing you to provide all of the relevant information for your registration and register for PAYE Online. If you are already registered for Self Assessment Online, you can use the same user ID and password, but you will first need to ‘de-enrol’ and then ‘re-enrol’ using the links provided on the website.

Once you have registered, you will be provided with an Accounts Office reference number and a PAYE reference number. You will also need to wait for a letter confirming your activation code for PAYE Online. This can take up to a week to arrive.

You will need to provide the following details about the company:

  • company name, registered address and phone number
  • trading name if this is different
  • business activities – for example, electrical engineering
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • company registration number
  • the names and National Insurance numbers of every company director

What are the next steps?

You must keep a record of accurate information about your first employee and subsequent employees. This information is required when you submit your first Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC. The information you need to submit about each employee includes:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Full address
  • NI number
  • Date employment started

After you have run your first payroll and submitted your first FPS, you will need to pay any tax and NICs due to HMRC. If you do not submit your FPS or make payment by the relevant deadlines, you may have to pay a penalty and interest may be charged.

As a new employer, you also need to be aware of several other considerations.  This includes national living wage, working hours, sick pay, holiday entitlement and other employment rights, such as maternity pay. HMRC provides various useful tools for employers via its website (

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