Using HMRC's Online Service - PAYE for employers

This guide explains the differences you will see in HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC's) PAYE Online for employers service when reporting your PAYE information in real time - and what you can continue to send and receive using PAYE Online.

Employers reporting their PAYE information in real time still need to use PAYE Online but will use fewer features.

You still submit reports online but these reports are sent directly to HMRC using your payroll software or HMRC's Basic PAYE Tools.

On this page:

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How to use PAYE Online

After completing the registration process you will be able to use PAYE Online through the login page for those services you need.

PAYE Online login page

You can use PAYE Online to:

  • send expenses and benefits returns - including P46 (Car), P9D, P11D and P11D(b) - although this may be done directly from your payroll software if it supports this feature
  • receive tax codes and notices, although you may choose to view these using the PAYE Desktop Viewer (PDV), or your payroll software if supported - there is more information about the PDV later in this guide
  • set up email reminders, and also view your current tax position
  • appeal a late filing or late payment penalty for the tax years 2014-15 onwards

If you prefer, some PAYE Online features can be accessed in other ways:

  • The Business Tax Dashboard will show you your current tax position and other information
  • The PDV will show you your notices, reminders and messages - your payroll software may let you read notices, reminders and messages, and/or submit certain returns, directly - see the link below

Using HMRC's Business Tax Dashboard as an employer

Choosing HMRC recognised PAYE software

Software packages and other payroll options

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What notices and reminders you can view online

You can view these notices online:

  • Real Time Information (RTI) notices (NVR and NOT - these are explained below)
  • tax code notices (P6 and P9)
  • student loan notices (SL1 and SL2)
  • employer notices (P11D(b) notifications)
  • generic notification notices (messages about your payroll submissions or payments due)

Real Time Information (RTI) notices - NVR

National Insurance number Verification Replies - you'll receive one of these if you sent HMRC a National Insurance number Verification Request to check whether an employee's National Insurance number is valid, or to find the National Insurance number for an employee who didn't give you one.

Possible replies are:

  • continue to use the National Insurance number you already have
  • don't use the National Insurance number you sent because it's wrong
  • use the National Insurance number contained in this notice in future for this employee
  • the National Insurance number you have queried is correct
  • service unavailable

Real Time Information (RTI) notices - NOT

National Insurance number Verification Notices - you might receive NOT messages after you report your payroll information by sending an FPS. For example, if you have taken on a new employee, HMRC will automatically check that the National Insurance number is shown and correct and send you an appropriate response - so you should always check your RTI notices after reporting your payroll information. You may also receive NOT messages if you've made an EAS to align HMRC's data with yours.

Possible replies are:

  • continue to use the National Insurance number you already have
  • stop using the National Insurance number you sent because it's wrong
  • use the National Insurance number contained in this notice in future for this employee

Notifying and getting new employee information right

First report - checking your payroll records match with HMRC's

Making sure you use the correct National Insurance number

Tax code notice - P9

Each year in February/March, HMRC issues P9 Tax codes and Student Loan notices for the new tax year. But the viewing feature normally shows you notices for the current tax year only - so if you want to see these notices before the next year starts on 6 April, you'll have to select the next 'Tax Year' and enter the appropriate dates.

Generic notification notices

You may get a generic notification notice if you don't send your payroll submissions on time, you don't send the expected number of returns or you're late making payments to HMRC. The notices contain messages to advise you to send the returns or payments to avoid getting a penalty. You may get one of the following types of notice:

  • non-filing notice - if you haven't sent one or more FPS
  • late filing notice - if you send an FPS with a payment to an individual which is earlier than the date the FPS is sent (you'll only get one notice per month even if you've sent more than one FPS late during that month)
  • late payment notice - where it looks as if you haven't made full payment on time
  • notice reminding about late payments - if you continue to pay late

If you use commercial payroll software to run your payroll you might get these notices via your payroll software without needing to use PAYE Online - if you're not sure check with your software provider.

The messages in these notices will help you put processes in place so that you can pay and file on time - before new in-year penalties start in April 2014.

You may have filed on time - and don't need to act on these messages - if you:

  • are claiming any of the PAYE reporting concessions and don't have to report PAYE information 'on or before' the time you pay your employee
  • are reporting a correction to an earlier submission and the 'payment date' on the FPS is earlier than the date of the FPS
  • have already sent an EPS to let HMRC know that you didn't pay any employees in this tax period

Download 'Situations where employers will not have to report PAYE information 'on or before' the time they pay their employee' (PDF 27K)

You can find out about the new late filing penalties, and about penalties for late filing of returns for 2012-13 and 2013-14, in the guide 'What happens if you don't report payroll information on time'.

What happens if you don't report payroll information on time

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Appeal against a penalty - new from October 2014

From October 2014 there will be a facility to appeal online against new late filing and late payment penalties for the tax year 2014-15 onwards, using HMRC's 'PAYE Online login page' (this facility cannot be used to appeal electronically against penalties for tax year 2013-14 or earlier).

PAYE Online login page

This will not only allow appeals to be submitted electronically - in some cases HMRC will also be able to accept and settle the appeal electronically.

You will be able to use the 'Appeal a penalty' facility to indicate the reason for your appeal, and provide further information to support your appeal where necessary.

Late Filing Penalties

  • data on the returns was incorrect
  • death/bereavement
  • filing expectation incorrect
  • filed on time
  • fire/flood/natural disaster
  • ill health
  • IT difficulty
  • missed correction/easement
  • no longer have any employees
  • no payments to employees
  • theft/crime
  • other

Late Payment Penalties

  • data on the returns was incorrect
  • death/bereavement
  • fire/flood/natural disaster
  • ill health
  • IT difficulty
  • no longer have any employees
  • no payments to employees
  • paid on time
  • theft/crime
  • time to pay arrangement in place
  • other

The Notice of Penalty Assessment will contain a 'Unique ID' for each penalty shown on the notice. You will use the Unique ID to identify which penalty you wish to appeal against on HMRC's PAYE Online Service.
The 'Appeal a penalty' facility will include additional information to help you to select the correct category.

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View your current PAYE payment and submission position

You can view your payment and submission position for all PAYE tax, National Insurance (including Class 1A) you owe, and the amount you've already paid, for the current and other tax years within PAYE Online. The tax year 2010-11 is the earliest year you can view.

The tax position you will see is updated overnight Monday to Friday and will only reflect returns and payments that have reached HMRC's systems. For real time submissions, updates will be twice a month - after the 6th and 19th for the tax month just ended. For information about making payments and the time you need to allow for payments to reach HMRC's systems - please see the guidance on paying HMRC. It will also include any interest charges and show how monies have been reallocated or moved within your PAYE scheme.

Although you may get notices from HMRC about paying late - see the earlier section in this guide about generic notification notices - Only PAYE late payment penalties raised for tax year 2014-15 onwards can now be viewed in PAYE Online. If you have a query about a late payment penalty notice you have received please contact the issuing office. You will find their contact details on the notice.

You can access this using 'View account' from within the 'At a glance' area.

Paying HMRC

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Access historic records

Information sent by your payroll software

The payroll information that you send online to HMRC using your payroll software, whether you have commercial software or HMRC's Basic PAYE tools, can be viewed from within the software itself. You can't retrieve it using PAYE Online, so you should always ensure you take backups of your payroll data.

PAYE record keeping

Returns and forms sent using PAYE Online

The returns and forms that you send using PAYE Online are available for you to view using PAYE Online for a limited amount of time.

Each year around October/November, HMRC upgrades this online service and at the same time deletes records that are no longer required. HMRC deletes all records that are:

  • more than three years old - for example, in October 2010 all records submitted before April 2007 were deleted from the online service - HMRC does however keep a copy of this information on its internal systems
  • less than three years old, but which contain information that has not been submitted or updated during the previous 12 months

If you wish to keep any of these records for your own purposes, you should check the records held on PAYE Online and take the following action as appropriate:

  • for records older than three years (ending on 5 April just passed) - either save them to your own systems or print them off
  • for records less than three years old, but which have not yet been filed with HMRC or updated in the previous 12 months, first check if you need to file them with HMRC now - if there's no need to file them but you still wish to retain them, you'll need to save them to your own systems or print them

After the annual upgrade, you won't be able to use the online service to access any records which have been deleted in accordance with the criteria above.

You also won't be able to access the online service at all while it is being upgraded. You can find out more about the 'Service availability' by following the link below.

Service availability

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