In this section:

  • PAYE/ Class 1 National Insurance contributions/CIS

How to pay PAYE/Class 1 National Insurance contributions/CIS

This guide tells you about payment options for employers paying PAYE tax - including Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and Student Loan deductions - and Class 1 National Insurance contributions. It also explains the payment deadlines.

If you are looking for guidance on how to pay:

  • Class 1A National Insurance contributions
  • PAYE Settlement Agreements
  • PAYE Late Payment Penalties

please see the 'More useful links' section at the end of this guide.

If you are a large employer (250 or more employees) you must pay HMRC electronically.

You may have to pay penalties and interest if you do not pay your PAYE tax/Class 1 National Insurance contributions (including CIS and Student Loan deductions) on time and in full.

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PAYE tax/Class 1 NICs payment deadlines and late payment penalties

PAYE tax/Class 1 NICs electronic payment deadline

Your cleared payment must reach HMRC's bank account no later than the 22nd of the month following the end of the tax month or quarter to which it relates, so payment for month 1 ending on 5th May is due 22nd May. If you are a large employer (250 or more employees) you must pay electronically.

PAYE/Class 1 NICs postal payment deadlines

If you pay by post, your cheque must reach HMRC no later than the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month or quarter to which it relates, so payment for month 1 ending on 5th May is due 19th May.

Quarterly payment option for small employers

If you estimate over the full tax year that your total payment will be, on average, less than £1,500 per month, you can choose to make quarterly rather than monthly payments. You must still submit your Full Payment Submission (FPS) on or before the date you pay your employees.

Annual payment option for employers

If all payments are paid to your employee(s) in a single tax month during the year, you can choose to become an annual scheme. This means that you pay HMRC once a year on the due date and you don't have to complete a monthly or quarterly nil payment notification. However you must tell HMRC so that your records can be updated and to avoid them contacting you about unpaid amounts.

Late payment penalties and interest

You may have to pay late payment penalties and interest if you don't pay your PAYE tax/ Class 1 National Insurance contributions (including CIS or Student Loan deductions) on time and in full. Late payment penalties and interest apply to all employers.

Find out more about late payment penalties

PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

What happens if you can't pay

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Using the right Accounts Office reference number

When you pay HMRC it is important that you use the right reference number. This makes sure your payment reaches your account and you won't get reminders after you've paid.

To pay your PAYE and Class 1 NIC you will need to use your 13 character Accounts Office reference - for example 123PA00012345. You can find this on:

  • the 'New employer registration and reference numbers' letter that HMRC sends you when you first registered as an employer
  • front of the payment booklet if you still receive one
  • the letter HMRC sends you in place of a payment booklet

It is important that you show your reference number with no gaps between the characters, otherwise it could lead to delays in updating your records. You can check the number using HMRC's online checker tool.
Depending on when you make your payment to HMRC you may also need to tell them the year and the month you are paying. It's important that you include this information so that you don't get reminders for payment when you've paid.

Paying the current month or quarter on time

When making your current monthly or quarterly payments on time you'll only need to provide your 13 character Accounts Office reference number.

Paying late or early

If the payment you are making to HMRC is:

  • early, due on 22nd but you're paying it before the 6th of the same month
  • late, due on 22nd but you're paying it after the 5th of the following month
  • for a previous tax year
  • an additional payment for a month or quarter that you've already paid

you need to tell HMRC the tax year and PAYE month that your payment is for so that it can allocated to the right period.

You still need to use your 13 character Accounts Office reference but with some extra information. If you don't add the extra information, or you use the wrong tax year and PAYE month, HMRC won't be able to allocate your payment correctly and you may receive payment reminders.

When you pay by Direct Debit or BillPay enter your 13 character Accounts Office reference in the reference box and then enter/select the correct year and month in the separate boxes provided.

When you pay by Bacs Direct Credit, Faster Payments by online/telephone banking or CHAPS add an extra four numbers to the end of your 13 character Accounts Office reference. If you have any difficulty including an extended reference number on your payment request you should speak to your bank or building society. If you pay using an extended reference number it will need to be changed for any further payments otherwise the payments will be incorrectly allocated.

The easiest way to check you are using the correct reference is to use HMRC's online reference checker.

Check your HMRC Accounts Office reference number for PAYE/Class 1 NIC payments

The table below shows you the months and quarters for the year 2014-15 and the extra numbers to add to your reference.

Your payment reference number for early, late and multiple payments for the same month/quarter
Payment for the month or quarter ended PAYE month or quarter number How to show your reference on your payment
5 May M01 Your Accounts Office reference followed by 1501
5 Jun M02 Your Accounts Office followed by 1502
5 Jul M03/Q1 Your Accounts Office reference followed by 1503
5 Aug M04 Your Accounts Office reference followed by 1504
5 Sep M05 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1505
5 Oct M06/Q2 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1506
5 Nov M07 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1507
5 Dec M08 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1508
5 Jan M09/Q3 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1509
5 Feb M10 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1510
5 Mar M11 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1511
5 Apr M12/Q4 Your Accounts Office Reference followed by 1512

You may have to pay interest and late payment penalties if you do not make your payment on time.

Check your HMRC Accounts Office reference number for PAYE/Class 1 NIC payments

Payments and deadlines

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Business Tax Dashboard and viewing your payments online

If you're already signed up for HMRC's Business Tax Dashboard you can view your liabilities and payments there.

Or if you're signed up for HMRC's PAYE Online for Employers service you can check your PAYE tax position for 2010-11 and later years. You can see details of what you have paid and what you owe or are owed in 'view account' on the 'At a glance' page.

All payments are shown in your account within a few working days of HMRC receiving them if you’ve given the right reference number.

Log in to HMRC's Online Service

Find out more about HMRC's Business Tax Dashboard

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Direct Debit - How to set up

If you are signed up for HMRC's PAYE Online for employers service you can set up a Direct Debit for HMRC to collect your monthly or quarterly PAYE tax/Class 1 National Insurance contributions payments (including CIS and Student Loan deductions).

HMRC recommends that you pay by Direct Debit. It’s safe and secure, available 24 hours a day and puts you in control, making it less likely that you’ll miss a payment deadline. You can also set-up a future payment as soon as you know how much is due - for example when the payroll run is completed.

Find out how to pay by Direct Debit now

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Online debit or credit card using BillPay

If you have a debit or credit card from a UK card issuer, you can pay online using the BillPay service provided by Santander Corporate Banking.

If you pay by credit card you will have to pay a transaction fee of 1.4 per cent. HMRC does not accept American Express or Diners Club cards.

A BillPay payment takes up to three banking days to reach HMRC. Banking days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays

To avoid interest charges and penalties on late payments HMRC provides guidance to help you decide when to make your payments.

PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

Paying previous tax years

To make a payment for a previous year, for example 2013-14 you need to select:

  • 2013-14 from the 'Tax year to pay' box
  • Month 12 in the 'Month (period ended) to pay' box

The information about the tax year and month is essential and ensures that your payment goes to the correct year. If you do not add them to your Accounts Office reference, your payment will automatically go to the current tax year instead.

Check your PAYE reference with the HMRC's reference checker

Make a debit or credit card payment now (Opens new window)

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Multiple or composite payments by CHAPS

If you are a very large employer with a number of PAYE schemes you may wish to make one payment to cover all of your schemes (called a multiple or composite payment). This facility can only be used when paying by CHAPS. If you think you would like to use this method, please contact HMRC using the link below. They will then reply with further guidance.

Please do not use this link to ask for advice on anything other than CHAPS payments, as HMRC will not be able to reply.

Contact HMRC about multiple/composite CHAPS payments

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Paying at your bank by Bank Giro

If your bank or building society offers the Bank Giro service you can make a payment at your own bank branch by cheque or cash. This is more efficient and secure than sending a payment by post. If paying this way please:

  • take your HMRC payslip to your own bank branch (other banks may not accept it or may charge you for this service)
  • make your cheque payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your Accounts Office reference.

Please allow at least three banking days for your payment to reach HMRC. Banking days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

When paying by Bank Giro you should only use official HMRC payslips. HMRC payslips contain the correct HMRC bank account information and ensure payment reaches your account on time.

To avoid interest charges and penalties on late payments HMRC provides guidance to help you decide when to make your payments.

More about PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

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At the Post Office

You can make a payment at the Post Office by cheque, cash or debit card without charge. This is more efficient and secure than sending a payment by post. If paying at the Post Office please:

  • take your HMRC payslip with you (or you will be charged for using this service)
  • make your cheque payable to 'Post Office Ltd'

You should allow at least three banking days for your payment to reach HMRC. Banking days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

To avoid interest charges and penalties on late payments HMRC provides guidance to help you decide when to make your payments.

More about PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

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By post

HMRC recommends that you pay electronically using one of the methods covered in this guide. If you use the right reference electronic payments are more efficient and secure than sending cheques by post.

If you pay by post please:

  • make your cheque payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your Accounts Office reference
  • send your cheque and payslip to HMRC using the pre-addressed envelope if you were sent one or use the address below
  • do not fold the payslip or cheque and do not fasten them together

Please allow at least three working days for the payment to reach HMRC to allow for any delays in the post which are outside HMRC’s control.

If you do not have a pre-addressed HMRC envelope please send your payment to:

HM Revenue & Customs
Bradford
BD98 1YY

Postdated cheques

HMRC only accept a postdated cheque:

  • before your tax is due - if you send a cheque for the full amount and it arrives by the due date
  • after your tax is due - if you have an agreement with HMRC to pay with post dated cheques

HMRC have automated the way they deal with payments sent by post. So you need to send a covering letter with your postdated cheque. Otherwise HMRC won't know that the cheque is postdated and will present it straight away.

To avoid interest charges and penalties on late payments HMRC provides guidance to help you decide when to make your payments.

More about PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

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Using the Government Banking Service

Employers such as government departments and health authorities who have an account with the Government Banking Service (GBS) should make payments using the GBS online service. This will transfer the funds direct to HMRC's GBS bank account.

Provided you initiate payment within the time specified by GBS, HMRC will receive payment on the same day.

Please take care if you need to enter HMRC's bank account details. If you make a mistake there may be a delay before HMRC can record your payment or they may not received it at all.

To avoid interest charges and penalties on late payments HMRC provides guidance to help you decide when to make your payments.

More about PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

Your HMRC Accounts Office reference number

You will also need to provide your HMRC Accounts Office reference number with your payment.

Find out more about your Accounts Office reference number

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Telling HMRC if no PAYE tax/Class 1 NICs payment is due

If you don't let HMRC know you have no PAYE/National Insurance contributions payment to make they may contact you asking for payment.

Employers operating PAYE in real time (RTI)

If you paid no employees in a tax month then you must send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to HMRC. The deadline for this is the 19th of the month following the end of the tax month for that pay period. For example for the period up to 5 May, you need to send your EPS by 19 May. Use the 'No payment due as no employees paid in this pay period' tick box on the EPS.

If you run your payroll more or less frequently than monthly then you still only need to submit one EPS in a tax month, remembering this should always contain year to date figures.

If you do not send an EPS, HMRC will assume that you have failed to file a Full Payment Submission (FPS) and pay what you owe. Based on your previous submissions they will contact you for payment. As soon as you send in an EPS HMRC will update your records and stop pursuing the debt.

You'll find more about sending an EPS by following the link at the end of this section.

If you will not be paying employees for several months

If you anticipate that you will not be making any payments to employees for more than a tax month, then you should let HMRC know.

Tell HMRC that you will not be submitting an FPS or making monthly/quarterly payments for a future period by completing the 'Period of inactivity' fields on the EPS.

Sending payroll information to HMRC

Employers not operating PAYE in real time (RTI)

If exceptionally you are exempt from submitting Real Time Information returns, you should let HMRC know by either:

  • completing an online form (see below)
  • sending a signed payslip from your payment booklet, form P30B, for the correct month(s) or quarter(s) marked 'NIL due', if you still receive a payment booklet

Notify HMRC online that no PAYE/National Insurance contributions payment is due

CIS nil returns

If you are making a CIS nil return for the same period you will need to tell HMRC separately. You can find out how to do this below.

CIS nil returns, late returns or mistakes

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Stopping your payment booklet if you no longer need one

If you pay at a bank by Bank Giro, at the Post Office or by cheque in the post you need a payment booklet. However you don't need one if you pay HMRC by any other method described in this guide.

You can tell HMRC online to stop issuing payment booklets by using the link below.

Stop the issue of a payment booklet

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What to do if you don't have a payslip

HMRC recommends you pay online, or by Faster Payments by online or telephone banking. But if you are paying by post and you don't have a printed payslip from HMRC you can complete and print off a PAYE payment slip instead. Send this with your cheque to HMRC.

Go to the PAYE payment slip

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Advance funding for PAYE payments

If you need to make a tax refund or provide Statutory Payments (SSP, SMP etc) to one or more of your employees, you can fund this by reducing your monthly or quarterly payments to HMRC by the amount of refund(s) or Statutory Payments. Payments that you can reduce for this purpose are:

  • PAYE tax/Class 1 National Insurance contributions
  • CIS deductions
  • Student Loan deductions

You must tell HMRC that you have done this by completing an EPS to show the amount recovered and any National Insurance contributions compensation. If you do not send an EPS or don’t send it in time, HMRC will not be able to deduct your funding from your PAYE payments for the same month/quarter, and they will expect payment of the full amount of your PAYE shown in the FPS.

If your payment to HMRC for the same period isn't enough to cover the tax refund(s), you can either:

  • reduce your next monthly or quarterly payments to make up the balance and again you will have to complete an FPS or EPS to show the amount recovered and any NIC compensation
  • apply to HMRC for funding to cover the balance - see the link at the end of this section

If, because you have made tax refunds or statutory payments, you have no payment to make to HMRC in any month or quarter see 'Notifying HMRC if no PAYE tax/Class 1 National Insurance contributions payment is due. You will need to send a FPS and/or EPS as appropriate.

Help with statutory payments funding

Claiming funding for a tax refund for your employees

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More useful links

PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines

What happens if you can't pay

How to pay Class 1A National Insurance

How to pay PAYE Settlement Agreement payments

If you've overpaid or underpaid HMRC in error

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