Personal Tax Product & Process
100 Parliament Street
Mr C Attree
[FOI #107338 email]
22 March 2012
Dear Mr Attree Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000
Thank you for your query dated 24th February 2012, which has recently been passed to me
to deal with your request for information under the above Act.
In your request for information under the FOIA you asked:
1. Do employers have a legal obligation to issue a P45 to a member
of staff on leaving employment?
2. If so, in what time frame must this be undertaken (when must the
P45 be issued by measured from last day of employment)?
3. If a P45 is not issued for whatever reason what action does HMRC
4. What action is open to the ex-employee to obtain a P45 from
I am answering under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). 1. Do employers have a legal obligation to issue a P45 when a member of staff leaves
Yes. Employers do have a legal obligation to complete form P45 upon ceasing to employ an
employee. They must send Part 1 of the form (in most cases online) to HMRC and provide
Parts 1A, 2 and 3 to the ex-employee. The link to the guidance on our website covers this point http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/working/forms/paye-forms.htm.
Information is available in large print, audio and Braille formats.
Text Relay service prefix number – 18001
provision is contained in the secondary legislation within regulation 36 of the
Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 (SI 2682): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/2682/regulation/36/made
However, for ease of reference, an extract from this regulation is reproduced below:
(1) On ceasing to employ an employee in respect of whom a code has been
issued, the employer must complete Form P45.
(2) The employer must then—
(a) send Part 1 of that form to the Inland Revenue, and
(b) provide Parts 1A, 2 and 3 to the employee,
on the day on which the employment ceases or, if that is not practicable,
without unreasonable delay.
(3) Retirement on pension is not a cessation of employment for the purposes
of this regulation if the PAYE pension income is paid by the same employer
2. If so, in what time frame must this be undertaken ?
As stated in the extract from regulation 36 above, the employer must complete form P45 on
the day the employee ceases, or if that is not possible without unreasonable delay. HMRC
would generally consider it unreasonable if the P45 was not completed and sent to
HMRC/provided to the former employee immediately after tax and any other deductions are
calculated for the ex-employees final pay period. In cases where the employer uses payroll
software, this often means the point at which the next payroll process run takes place.
Guidance on this point can be found under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the
HMRC Website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/p45-employee-leaves.htm
. 3. If a P45 is not issued for whatever reason what action does HMRC take?
If HMRC were made aware that form P45 had not been provided, HMRC would attempt to
contact the employer by telephone first and, if there is no response or it is not possible to
make contact by telephone, would issue a form P43 to the employer requesting they send
HMRC the P45 Part 1 information. Consideration would also be given as to whether HMRC’s
Employer Compliance staff should intervene to obtain the P45.
The employer is also responsible for providing this information within their Employer Annual
Return (P35 and P14s) by 19 May following the end of the tax year. Failure to do this can
result in a penalty being considered for failure to submit a correct return. Failure to file the
return at all will also result in penalties being charged as well as further HMRC interventions
to pursue the outstanding return.
4. What action is open to the ex-employee to obtain a P45 from ex-employer?
If an ex-employee is unable to obtain a P45 because their former employer is unwilling to
supply this, then they should let HMRC know as soon as possible. If the ex-employee
wished to claim, for example, an in year repayment of tax, but did not receive their P45 from
their former employer, HMRC would accept payslips as evidence of tax deducted (after
attempting to obtain the P45 details in the first instance).
Additionally, the Contact Centre Customer Advisor Guide (CAG 42245) has the following
information, which would be given to the individual should they telephone HMRC:
No P45 from previous employer
Employees without a form P45 must contact their previous employer to get one if they
• worked in the United Kingdom during the current tax year, and
• have not been given one.
If the employee has lost the P45, their previous employer cannot provide them with another.
Employees who cannot get a P45
If a new employee still cannot get their P45, they will need to complete a form P46.
Real Time Information (RTI)
You may wish to note that under Real Time Information (RTI, a new reporting process to
modernise Pay As You Earn) employers will no longer be required to return Part 1 of Form
P45 to HMRC. However the requirement to provide Parts 1A, 2 and 3 to the ex-employee
will remain. RTI is being introduced through a phased pilot beginning in April 2012, and all
employers will report through RTI from October 2013.
If you are not happy with this reply you may request a review by writing to HMRC FOI Team,
Room 1C/25, 100 Parliament Street London SW1A 2BQ or email [email address]
. You must request a review within 2 months of the date of this
letter. It would assist our review if you set out which aspects of the reply concern you and
why you are dissatisfied.
If you are not content with the outcome of an internal review, you may apply directly to the
Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner will not usually
consider a case unless you have exhausted the internal review procedure provided by
HMRC. He can be contacted at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. If you contact us, please quote our reference
number and provide a daytime phone number.