Employees without a P45

The instructions on this page are only for you if HMRC have agreed you qualify to file on paper.

Paper filing means that you send the information about your employee and the payments you make to them to HMRC on paper. The process described here, for new joiners who do not bring a form P45 (sometimes also known as an employee’s leaving statement) from their last employment, applies under the RTI paper process from 6 April 2014.

Under the old style paper process, HMRC were alerted to the presence of a new employee by the completion of some separate paperwork.  The key thing to note about the new process, is that new starters are notified to HMRC via the main RTI submission – there is no separate paperwork to send to HMRC.

If your employee does not have a P45
Starter questions
What to do with the completed starter information
Important note on late starter checklists

If your employee does not have a P45

Your employee may not have a P45 if this is their first job since leaving education, if they have another job at the same time as working for you or if they have lost their P45. 

If a new employee does not have a P45 then they will need to give you some information to enable you to use the right tax code, deduct the right amount of tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC), complete the starter information on the RT2 form (Full quarterly payment summary) and in appropriate cases make Student Loan deductions from an employee’s pay. The information needed is as follows:

  • title
  • surname or family name
  • forename or given name – Don’t use familiar names or nicknames (for example Dave instead of David, Betty instead of Elizabeth)
  • second forename or given name
  • date of birth
  • current gender
  • address – the address must be completed if you do not know the employee’s National Insurance number
  • UK postcode
  • National Insurance number and category letter

You must also determine whether your new employee is repaying a Student Loan and if so, which type.

This information from your employee needs to be recorded (you can use HMRC’s template on GOV.UK to do this or they can provide this in a way that best suits you, for example in an email, on your own stationery – it’s up to you to decide whether or not you need a signature) and kept safe for the current and previous three tax years. See our record keeping section here for more information.

Make sure the personal information you get from your new employee is accurate (National Insurance number, full name, gender and date of birth) as this is used by HMRC to match a new employment to the individual's PAYE record. (Indeed, you should. verify it against an official source such as birth certificate, passport, driving licence or official documents from HMRC.)

If your new employee does not know their National Insurance number, you can ask them for an old payslip or form P60. If they still cannot find it, please see our section here.

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Starter questions 

As part of obtaining the starter information, your new employee will need to declare their employment situation when they join.  You need to understand this to work out what tax code to use.

The employee should be asked which statement applies to them:

A. This is their first job since last 6 April and they have not been receiving taxable Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, taxable Incapacity Benefit, state pension or occupational pension.

B. This is their only job, but since last 6 April they have had another job, or have received taxable Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or taxable Incapacity Benefit. They do not receive state or occupational pension.

C. They have another job or receive a state or occupational pension

If the employee certifies that this is his first job and that he has not been receiving taxable state benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, you will operate the standard code on a cumulative basis. This means that the employee will get the benefit of any unused personal allowance from the beginning of the tax year.

If the employee certifies that this is now his only job but that he has had another job since the beginning of the tax year, or has received a taxable state benefit, then you should use the standard code, operated on a week 1/month 1 basis, i.e. not cumulatively. This means that the employee will simply be given a proportion of the normal personal allowance as his tax free amount each pay day, i.e. one month’s worth of personal allowances against one month’s pay.

If the employee certifies that he has another job, you will operate code BR.  This means that any tax will be deducted from earnings at the basic rate of 20% without any personal allowances being given. 

See below, for what to do if you are unable to get a completed starter declaration from your new employee.

You can use the table below to confirm what tax code to use:


On the Starter Checklist 

Tax code to use (2016/17)

Box A ticked

1100L cumulative

Box B ticked

1100L Week or Month 1

Box C ticked

BR cumulative 

No box ticked 

0T Week 1/Month 1

Once the RT2 containing information about your new employee has gone into HMRC, they should issue a proper tax code for your new employee.

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What to do with the completed starter information

You should use the details from your employee to set up an RT11 record for your new employee. The RT11 is a working sheet where you store your employee’s information and use it to calculate pay and tax details. Form RT11 does not need to be sent to HMRC as it is just part of your own working papers, however the information in it will help you complete form RT2 (full quarterly payment summary) each quarter, which does need to be sent to HMRC.

HMRC should send all the forms and guidance you will need, including RT11 and RT2 – they are not available from HMRC’s website. Otherwise, they are available from the Employer Orderline to those employers who HMRC have agreed can use paper forms.

You will send your new employee information to HMRC on the first RT2 after taking on your new employee. As this is a form that gets submitted once a quarter, but you will probably pay your employee every week or month, you will need to set up your payroll (i.e. gather all the information, fill out help-sheet RT11 etc.) and make payments to your employee in advance of completing RT2.

We have only given a brief outline here of the first steps to take. More detailed information is provided by HMRC in guide RT7 – Guidance for employers exempt from filing Real Time Information online

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Important note on late starter checklists

If your new employee has not completed the starter checklist before their first payday, you must complete RT11 with as much information as you know about your employee yourself and use tax code 0T on a Week 1/Month 1 basis. Code 0T gives no personal allowance - for a basic rate taxpayer, this will produce the same result as a BR code.

It is a good idea for you to let your new employee know that this will mean they may pay more tax than necessary on their first payday – but they can avoid this by providing the information in time.

If your employee gives you a starter declaration at a later date (but before you make the first RT2), add any personal details and operate the code that relates to the declaration A, B or C that they have made.  

If, rarely, you receive a starter checklist after HMRC have already informed you of your employee’s proper tax code, you should disregard the late starter checklist.

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