HMRC Form P45


Understanding the HMRC Form P45: A Guide for UK Business Owners and Employers

As a UK business owner or employer, it is essential to understand the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Form P45, a crucial document in the realm of employment and taxation. This guide aims to provide you with comprehensive insights into what Form P45 is, its significance, and your responsibilities in its issuance and management.

What is the HMRC Form P45?

The Form P45 is an official document issued to employees in the United Kingdom when they cease employment with a company. It is a part of the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system and serves several key purposes:

  1. Record of Employment Details: The P45 contains important information such as the employee’s tax code, PAYE reference number, and details of earnings and tax paid in the current tax year.
  2. Tax Calculation for New Employment: It helps the new employer calculate the correct tax to be deducted from the employee’s future earnings.
  3. Tax Return Information: For employees, the P45 is a vital document for completing a self-assessment tax return, if applicable.

When and How to Issue a P45

As an employer, you are required to issue a P45 when an employee leaves your employment. It should be done immediately after the employee’s final pay is calculated and should not be delayed. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Final Payroll Processing: Ensure all earnings and deductions are accurately recorded and the final payroll is processed.
  2. Form Generation: The P45 form can be generated through most payroll software. It comprises four parts – Part 1, Part 1A, Part 2, and Part 3. HMRC automatically receives Part 1, while the employee keeps Part 1A for their records. Parts 2 and 3 are provided to the new employer or Jobcentre Plus if the employee is claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Responsibilities and Best Practices

As an employer, complying with HMRC regulations regarding the P45 form is crucial. Here are some best practices to follow:

  1. Timely Issuance: Avoid any delays in issuing the P45 to ensure smooth tax processing for both the employee and their new employer.
  2. Accuracy is Key: Double-check all the information on the P45 for accuracy to prevent any future tax discrepancies.
  3. Confidentiality: Handle the P45 with confidentiality, as it contains sensitive personal and financial information.
  4. Digital Transition: Be aware of the digital transition in payroll systems and the increasing move towards electronic P45s.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HMRC Form P45

Q1: What is HMRC Form P45? A: The HMRC Form P45 is a document issued to an employee when they leave a job. It contains details about the employee’s earnings and the tax paid during the tax year, their tax code, and other relevant payroll information.

Q2: When should I issue a P45 to an employee? A: You should issue a P45 immediately after the employee’s final pay is processed. Delaying this can cause complications for the employee in their new employment or with their tax affairs.

Q3: What are the different parts of the P45, and who are they for? A: The P45 is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1 is sent to HMRC.
  • Part 1A is for the employee to keep.
  • Parts 2 and 3 are given to the employee to provide to their new employer or to the Jobcentre if they’re claiming unemployment benefits.

Q4: What if I make an error on a P45? A: If you discover an error on a P45 after issuing it, you should correct the mistake and issue a new one. It’s important to ensure the accuracy of all information for tax purposes.

Q5: Are employers required to submit P45 information to HMRC electronically? A: Yes, under the Real Time Information (RTI) system, employers are required to submit P45 information to HMRC electronically. This is usually done through your payroll software.

Q6: What should I do if an employee leaves but doesn’t have a new job to go to? A: You still need to provide them with a P45. They will use Parts 2 and 3 for claiming any benefits or for tax purposes when they do find new employment.

Q7: Can I issue a P45 to an employee who is switching to a different job within the same company? A: No, a P45 is only issued when an employee is leaving your employment, not when moving within the company.

Q8: How do I handle P45 forms for remote or digital employees? A: The process remains the same. Many payroll systems now allow for digital P45s, which can be emailed directly to the employee.

Q9: Do I need to keep a copy of the P45? A: It’s good practice to keep a record of the P45, but you don’t need to keep an actual copy. Your payroll records should already have all the information contained in the P45.

Q10: Where can I get more information or assistance with P45 forms? A: For more detailed guidance, you can contact HMRC or seek assistance from professional accounting services like Mercian Accountants. We’re here to help you with all your payroll needs.


Understanding and correctly managing the HMRC Form P45 is an integral part of your responsibilities as an employer. It not only ensures compliance with tax laws but also aids in the smooth transition of your former employees into new employment. Always stay informed about any changes to HMRC guidelines and seek professional advice if necessary to maintain best practices in payroll management.

For further assistance or detailed guidance, feel free to contact our team of expert accountants at Mercian Accountants. We are here to help you navigate through all aspects of payroll and taxation with ease and professionalism.

About Graham

Accountant specialising in tax, property, and estate planning. A regular speaker at landlord, property Investor, and later life planning events.

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