Do you know what reference you should be using when making PAYE bank payments to HMRC?
HMRC have sent the following email to employers to make sure they are using the correct references when making bank payments for PAYE. There are a few important things to check before you pay.
Are you making PAYE payments to HMRC? If so, please check your payment reference number is right, otherwise your payment may not be recognised. This can lead to us issuing penalties and charges even if you’ve paid on time, which you’ll need to call us about to correct. A payment reference number is specific to the type of tax and the accounting period you’re making a payment for. The characters in your payment reference number tell us where to allocate your payments, to help us process your payments as quickly as possible. Your online banking service may also default to a previous payment reference, so please make sure to check this is right, every time you pay us. We want to help you get this right, and you can use the 'Pay now' tool on GOV.UK to find the correct reference number to use each time.
Paying PAYE – where to find your reference
If you’re paying on time for the current period, you’ll need to use your 13-character Accounts Office reference. You can find this on:
the letter HMRC sent you when you first registered as an employer
the front of your payment booklet
the letter from HMRC that replaced the booklet
your Business Tax Account, if you’ve already added Employer PAYE enrolment to it – search 'Business Tax Account' on GOV.UK to sign in
If you’re not paying for the current period, you need to add 4 extra characters to the end of your Accounts Office reference. These final 4 characters will show the year and the month or quarter your payment is for. You’ll need to enter all 17 characters without any spaces.
Characters 14 and 15 are for the tax year. For example, 22 for the tax year from 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022, or 23 for the tax year from 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023.
Characters 16 and 17 are for the tax month or quarter, depending on how you pay – examples of these can be found below.
Each tax period has a different payment reference number, so it’s important to make separate payments for each period.
You can find further help and support with making a PAYE payment on GOV.UK.
If you make monthly payments
If the payment you’re making is not for the current period, examples of characters you’ll need to include in your payment reference can be found below. You can use the 'Pay now' tool on GOV.UK to find out which characters to use. For the periods:
6 April to 5 May, use '01'
6 May to 5 June, use '02'
6 June to 5 July, use '03'
6 July to 5 August, use '04'
For example, to pay for the month ending 5 June 2022 (month 2 of the 2022 to 23 tax year), add the 4 extra characters 2302 to the end of your Accounts Office reference – 23 to tell us it’s for the tax year ending 5 April 2023 and 02 to tell us it’s for month 2.
If you make quarterly payments
If you’re making a quarterly payment, you’ll need to include the characters relating to the relevant quarter below in your payment reference. For the periods:
6 April to 5 July, use '03'
6 July to 5 October, use '06'
6 October to 5 January, use '09'
6 January to 5 April, use '12'
For example, to pay for the quarter ending 5 October 2021, add the 4 extra characters 2206 to the end of your Accounts Office reference – 22 to tell us it’s for the tax year ending 5 April 2022 and 06 to tell us which quarter this relates to.
If you make yearly payments
If you make yearly payments, you’ll need to add 4 characters that identify the tax year and tax month in which you paid your employees. For example, if you paid your employees on 8 April 2022, add the 4 extra characters 2301 to the end of your Accounts Office reference – 23 to tell us it’s for the tax year ending 5 April 2023 and 01 to tell us it’s for month 1.
Using Shape for your payroll?
You can keep track of your PAYE liability and record payments to HMRC.