HMRC Basic PAYE Tools

One option for running your payroll electronically and sending information to HMRC online is to use HMRC’s own Basic PAYE Tools.

What is it?
How do I get the HMRC Basic PAYE Tools?
Further information
Payslip tool

What is it?

HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools is HMRC’s free payroll software. It is available for people with nine or fewer employees. 

The program will:

  • record your employees' details
  • work out and record your employees' pay, tax, National Insurance contributions (NIC) and any student loan deductions every payday
  • generate the payroll data that you need to send to HMRC in real time, including starter and leaver information
  • produce an 'Employer payment record' that shows you how much you need to pay HMRC
  • help you to work out statutory payments such as Statutory Sick Pay and Shared Parental Pay using the calculators provided
  • allow you to claim the NICs Employment Allowance

But like some other free basic software, it cannot produce payslips or handle certain other things that a complete paid payroll package will do as standard, for example help you with automatic enrolment. However if you do decide to use the HMRC tool, we have produced a separate payslip tool on this site which you can use alongside the HMRC tool to create payslips for your personal assistant. In addition, the Pensions Regulator has a special tool to help you work out who to automatically enrol or calculate pension contributions for your employees.

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How do I get the HMRC Basic PAYE Tools?

HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools (BPT) is software that you download or install with a CD onto your computer. The downloadable version can be found on the GOV.UK website. If you need a CD version because the computer on which Basic PAYE Tools will be installed has internet access but does not have broadband internet access contact HMRC’s Employer Orderline on 0300 123 1074 (Textphone 18001 0300 123 1074). This may take up to seven working days to reach you. 

Download the appropriate version for the type of computer you use (Windows PC, Mac or Linux) ensuring that the one you choose is for the correct tax year. Provided your computer is compatible, the software should open itself up and start the installation process.

HMRC also offer an assistive mode version of the tool which is designed to be used by employers who use screen reader software. It can also be downloaded from the GOV.UK website by selecting the windows assistive mode version.

If you need help getting set up, or want to check if your computer can run Basic PAYE Tools, you can find a guide on GOV.UK ‘First time users - Download and install Basic PAYE Tools’. It contains examples of the screens you will see in BPT and simple to follow instructions. Please note that due to continuing improvements, the screens in Basic PAYE Tools may look slightly different to those shown within the guide.

If you encounter a technical problem with installing BPT, you can contact HMRC’s Online Service helpdesk on 0300 200 3600. For customers who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired the number is 0300 200 3603 (Textphone). If you want to email a technical query, you can follow the Online Services Helpdesk link.

When the set-up process is complete, open the RTI icon from your desktop. You will need to add your employer and employee information into Basic PAYE Tools, before you’ll be ready to use the tool fully – again please refer to the user guide ‘First time users - Download and install Basic PAYE Tools’ which will show you how to set up the employer database and set up the employees.

Once you have Basic PAYE Tools set up, you should check regularly that you are using the latest version. To do this, check that your computer is connected to the internet then open the Basic PAYE Tools. Select 'Settings' then 'Update' then 'Check now'. If an update is available, accept the prompt to take the update. Occasionally, you may need to download the program again to access updates, as outlined in our news piece on the LITRG website.

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Further information

You can see HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools User Guide here on the GOV.UK website.

It contains step-by-step help on the most common functions of Basic PAYE Tools (BPT), answers to some frequently asked questions and screenshots of the main screens you need to know about. It also includes how to correct submissions in the current tax year and completing final submissions for the tax year.

The full collection of guidance on using Basic PAYE Tools, for example outlining the error messages you may get when using BPT and the actions you need to take, can be found on GOV.UK.

If you encounter a problem with using BPT, you can contact HMRC’s Online Service helpdesk on 0300 200 3600. For customers who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired the number is 0300 200 3603 (Textphone). If you want to email a technical query, you can follow the Online Services Helpdesk link.

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Payslip tool

HMRC Basic PAYE Tools does not create a payslip. However, we have developed a payslip tool that can be used in conjunction with HMRC’s software. You can find the tool in the payslip tool section. You can find out more general information about payslips in the payslip section. 

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