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?

Basic PAYE Tools is HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) free payroll software. It is available for people with nine or fewer employees. 

The program will:

But like some other free basic software, it cannot produce payslips or handle certain other things that a complete paid for 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 basic assessment 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 BPT 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 BPT, 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 BPT 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). 

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 BPT, 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 up and running, BPT should check for updates automatically, usually when the tax year changes or new rules come in. However there is no harm in double checking regularly that you are using the latest version. To do this, check that your computer is connected to the internet then open the BPT. 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 BPT User Guide here on the GOV.UK website.

It contains step-by-step help on the most common functions of 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 can be found on GOV.UK and includes:

Downloading and installing Basic PAYE Tools

First time users: how to download and install Basic PAYE Tools

Getting Basic PAYE Tools working on Linux

Running payroll with Basic PAYE Tools

Basic PAYE Tools: user guide

Basic PAYE Tools: when an employee leaves

Basic PAYE Tools: Earlier Year Update (EYU)

Using Basic PAYE Tools alongside other payroll software

Using Basic PAYE Tools with other software: check a National Insurance number

Using Basic PAYE Tools with other software: Employer Payment Summary

Using Basic PAYE Tools with other software: Earlier Year Update

Error messages

Examples of some of the most common error messages you may get when using BPT and the actions you need to take.

Basic PAYE Tools (BPT) error messages

You can check the availability and any issues affecting the Basic PAYE Tools (BPT) online service 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).

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Payslip tool

HMRC's BPT 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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