Frequently Asked Questions
For help on getting started with the system please see our getting started guide.
Click on the headings to open/close each section. Click on the questions to reveal the answers, or search using the box below.
What do you provide?
We provide an online system that calculates the deductions from each wage payment, giving you a printable payslip at the click of a button.
Our system also calculates the tax, NIC and student loan payments that should be made to HM Revenue and Customs, and lets you send Real Time Information to HMRC.
We provide expert help by telephone and email, should you have any difficulty with the system, or in case you simply want to check that you have entered the information correctly.
How long does it take?
Depending on the number of employees, it can take as little as 5 minutes to calculate your first payroll. This can be done at any time of the day or night because the service is 100% automated.
How 'free' is the free trial?
You can start the free trial immediately with no obligation. You do not need to provide credit card or other billing details and are under no obligation to continue at the end of the trial. We do ask that you supply a valid email address and you will need the tax and payment details for your employees.
Is the trial version the full version?
The trial version is fully functional apart from year end submission. To continue using the system after your free month, please choose the 'My Account' option and make a payment.
Why should I use an online payroll system?
Payroll software needs to be updated at least once a year. With our online payroll system you never have to worry about these updates, or whether your computer is new enough to support the upgrades. You can use the site from different computers at different locations and there are no installation or set up costs. Our system is continuously backed up to a secondary site at a separate UK location, meaning you never have to worry about safety of your data.
What are the common mistakes made by new customers?
These are some of the most common mistakes:
- Not entering all the employee personal details needed for RTI.
- Putting an annual salary in the box for monthly/weekly salary.
- Guessing the circumstances of new starters instead of using the starter checklist form.
- Combining all past pay runs and entering them as one, or as pay in previous employments.
What is PAYE?
PAYE is short for Pay-As-You-Earn. It is how employees in the UK pay their income tax.
- Income tax is an annual tax based on the person's income for a full tax year.
- To make income tax easier to collect, the PAYE system was introduced in 1944.
- PAYE is like paying your annual tax bill in instalments throughout the year.
HMRC's rules for calculating PAYE are an approximation to the annual income tax figure but they don't match it exactly.
The Payroll Site follows HMRC's rules exactly.
In simple cases, the PAYE for the tax year is very close to the annual income tax figure and the difference is written off.
Can you provide some assurances about online security for personal details logged on your server?
Details about our network can be found by clicking on the 'About Us' option (you may need to log out first).
Where are your servers located?
All customer information is kept securely on computer systems located within UK datacentres, in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
How much does it cost after the trial ends?
If you have up to 5 employees, the cost is £5.75 per month.
For larger employers, there is an additional charge of £1 per extra employee per month.
(All prices are excluding VAT)
How come you are so cheap?
Our service is fully automated, reducing the need for costly human intervention. If you have any questions about using the system, you can call or email our friendly support team for help.
I need weekly payslips - will this increase the cost?
Our monthly fee is the same whether the employees are paid weekly, fortnightly, four weekly or monthly
How do I pay you?
We accept VISA DEBIT, ELECTRON, MAESTRO, MASTERCARD, VISA as well as cheques and bank transfers. Payment can be monthly, quarterly or annually. Please make your payment using the My Account section of our website. Unfortunately we cannot accept payment over the phone.
How are the charges worked out if I have more than 5 employees?
To ensure we can count the extra employees correctly, we charge for them a month in arrears. So if you have 7 employees, you would pay the normal £5.75 monthly fee in the first month and then a month later you would see a charge of £2 for the extra employees you had in the first month.
An employee who has left is not counted once their leaving date has passed.
If I add more than 5 employees to the system, do I continue paying for them all, even if some of them leave my employment?
The fees for additional employees are based on the number of staff that were employed during a one month period. If you had 10 employees during the first period but only 9 during the second period, the fees would reduce accordingly.
If one employee leaves and another joins the following day, typically both would be counted as having been employed during that period.
Can you send me invoices?
All of the billing and invoicing is done directly by the system. When you log in, you can read and print your invoice by going to the 'My Account' section.
Do your charges include VAT?
VAT will be added at the standard rate. If you are a VAT registered business, you should be able to reclaim this in the normal way.
What software do I need to install, or minimum requirements?
The service is accessed via a web browser, so you do not need to install any special software on your computer.
We recommend running any of the following browsers:
- Internet Explorer 11
- Edge 38 / EdgeHTML 14 (Windows 10 Anniversary Update)
- Mozilla Firefox 45.x (Extended Support Release version)
- Mozilla Firefox 52.x (Extended Support Release version)
- Safari 9
- Safari 10
Can I use an Apple Mac or Linux computer to access the site?
Yes - as long as that computer is connected to the Internet and running one of the supported browsers.
How can I switch off auto-fill in Safari?
- Click 'Safari' in the program menu (top left) and select 'Preferences'
- Click the 'AutoFill' tab
- Untick all the boxes
- Click the 'Passwords' tab
- Untick 'AutoFill user names and passwords'
How do I stop Safari chopping off the top of the P45 or P60 when printing?
Safari's built in PDF viewer may not print the P45 or P60 correctly.
To solve this:
- Click the 'File' menu and choose 'Print'
- In the 'Scale' box, type 95
- Click the 'Print' button
Why don't you support the other versions of Firefox?
We only officially support a browser once we have checked every feature of every page in that version of that browser. This is to ensure that our customers do not encounter unexpected problems when they use the site.
Mozilla release a version of Firefox every six weeks and they stop supporting most versions six weeks later. This short lifetime makes it impractical to apply our high standards of testing.
Every seventh version of Firefox is designated an Extended Support Release (ESR) and is supported by Mozilla for about 12 months. We support these versions of Firefox.
Although we don't officially support the non-ESR versions of Firefox, we know of no reason why they shouldn't work and are happy for you to use them. If you do come across a browser-specific problem on our site, we will recommend you switch to using a supported browser.
Can I use the site with Windows 10?
Yes, but if you haven't yet had the Anniversary Update, don't use Microsoft Edge.
- The default web browser for Windows 10 is called Edge.
- The symbol for Edge is a blue 'e', slightly darker than the one for Internet Explorer.
- If you use The Payroll Site with an old version of Edge, some features will not work.
- These are fixed in the version of Edge which came with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
To make it easier to find next time, click with the right mouse button and choose 'Pin to Taskbar'.
Do you have HMRC accreditation / recognition?
Our software was accredited by HM Revenue and Customs as meeting the HMRC Payroll Standard and the relevant sections of the HMRC Quality Standard. It incorporates an online filing capability by Internet. HMRC's accreditation was replaced by a new scheme called PAYE recognition and the old accreditation scheme was withdrawn on 6th April 2012. Our software has now been recognised under the new PAYE recognition scheme.
Which specific tax features do you support?
HMRC Recognised 2017/18 Yes NI for Company Directors Yes Employment Allowance Yes Quarterly or Monthly Tax Payment Periods Yes Statutory Sick Pay Yes Statutory Maternity / Paternity / Adoption Pay Yes Shared Parental Pay Yes Student Loan Deductions Yes Monthly / Weekly / Fortnightly / Four Weekly Pay Yes Attachment of Earnings Orders Yes CSA Deductions Yes Printable P60 Yes Export Journal Entries Yes Real Time Information (RTI) Yes Foreign Tax Credit Relief / EP Appendix 5 Yes Print or Email Payslips Yes Pensions Yes Pension Auto Enrolment Assessments Yes PAPDIS Pension Files Yes Export Pension Data Yes NEST Web Services Yes Apprenticeship Levy Yes
Do you support the Construction Industry Scheme?
Whilst the system is not able to calculate CIS payments or deductions you can enter the figures on our HMRC Tax Payments page by clicking on add special item. Choose either 'CIS deduction suffered' or 'CIS deduction from subcontractors', type in the amount and then click 'Add'. The system will take this into account when calculating your tax payments.
How do I use a salary sacrifice scheme, such as childcare vouchers?
These schemes work by reducing the employee's salary and giving vouchers or another benefit instead. Since the tax and NI is worked out on the reduced salary, there is less tax and NI to pay.
There are two ways you can enter this in the system:
- Reduce the gross salary by the amount of the vouchers.
- When running the pay run, enter the figure as a negative amount in the other pay box.
What do I do when the tax rates and limits change?
Absolutely nothing. We will reconfigure the system with the new rates and limits.
We will inform you if there are any changes that require your attention.
What do your finished payslips look like?
To see an example of our payslips, why not sign up for a free trial? You can have one printed in minutes.
Which method do you use for tax and NIC calculation?
There are two HMRC approved methods of calculating PAYE income tax: The manual method and the computerised method. The amount of tax due can differ by up to 2p between the two methods. We use the computerised method.
There are two HMRC approved methods of calculating National Insurance Contributions: The table method and the exact percentage method. We use the exact percentage method.
The majority of computerised payroll systems use the same methods as us and therefore should produce identical figures for tax and National Insurance Contributions.
How do I pay HM Revenue and Customs?
Use our 'HMRC Payments' page to see how much you need to pay and then make the payment directly to HMRC. You can find details in your HMRC payslip booklet or on their website www.gov.uk/pay-paye-tax
How can I claim the Employment Allowance?
In 2014, the government introduced the Employment Allowance.
- Most employers could reduce their National Insurance costs by up to £2,000.
- In 2015, it was extended to employers of care and support workers.
- From April 2016 it is £3000, with single-director companies excluded.
If you are eligible:
- Set the employment allowance option on the 'Employer' page.
- Click 'HMRC Payments / EPS'.
- Click on the 'EPS Submission' tab.
- Follow the instructions on screen to send an 'Amounts to Reclaim' EPS to HMRC.
The Payroll Site automatically offsets the allowance against your payments to HMRC, so it appears on the HMRC Payments page but does not affect the Pay Employees section or the Export to Accounting feature.
What is the apprenticeship levy?
Don't let the name fool you - the apprenticeship levy isn't a tax on apprenticeships. It can apply even if you don't have apprentices.
The apprenticeship levy applies to employers with annual pay bills of over £3 million. For connected employers, the total pay bill is used. Each of these employers has a levy allowance, as explained in HMRC's guidance.
If you are liable for the levy, enter your levy allowance on the 'Employer' page and the levy will automatically be added to the total on the 'HMRC Payments' page, for you to pay. You should also send the levy figures to HMRC every month by using the 'EPS Submission' tab and choosing the option for 'Apprenticeship Levy'.
Can I pay my employees through your site?
Our system will work out how much to pay, you must take care of the payments yourself.
How do I enter Sick Days?
If you are operating Statutory Sick Pay and your employee is sick, choose the employee from the OPTIONS menu on the left and then click on the Statutory Pay tab. You can enter any periods of sickness using the Sick Periods table at the bottom of the page.
When you are finished, you can pay your employees using the Pay Employees option. The system will automatically prompt you for any extra information needed to work out Sick Pay.
Click for our Statutory Sick Pay Guide.
How do I enter details of previous sick periods?
If you have just started entering Sick Periods via The Payroll Site, there may be some earlier period of sickness that the system doesn't know about - i.e. it does not appear on the Statutory Pay page.
Sick periods are linked if they are separated by 8 weeks or less. Linking sick periods affects the calculation of Statutory Sick Pay. The first time you enter a sick period for an employee, you should consider whether it is linked to an earlier sick period. If it is, you should enter the earlier period as well. Then, when you are paying your employees, the system will prompt you for some extra information needed to correctly calculate SSP.
Click for our Statutory Sick Pay Guide.
What is a Qualifying Day for Statutory Sick Pay?
An Employee's Qualifying Days are normally defined to be the days of the week that he or she usually works for you. Bank Holidays do not affect the pattern of Qualifying Days.
It is possible to choose an alternative set of Qualifying Days, by agreement with your workforce.
Click for our Statutory Sick Pay Guide.
How should I set up Shared Parental Pay?
Shared Parental Pay is a flexible way for parents to share their entitlement to paid leave. If your employee requests Shared Parental Pay, you should check their eligibility before setting it up on The Payroll Site. You can find out more about Shared Parental Pay here.
Shared Parental Pay is associated with a period of Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay (SMP/SPP/SAP). You should set up the SMP, SPP or SAP on the employee's Statutory Pay tab by clicking the 'Use Wizard' button and following the instructions. Once complete, click on the Week Pattern to set the pattern of Shared Parental Pay.
Can I email payslips to my employees?
Yes - You can use our ePayslip feature. It will email payslips to your employees as password-protected PDF attachments. Although our system sends the emails on your behalf, they will appear to come from your email address, so your employees know who sent them.
To send an ePayslip, you must first set an email address and password on the employee's Personal Details tab:
- Click on the employee's name in the options list
- Use the Edit Details/Save Changes buttons to set the email address and password
Finally, click onto the Payslip Options tab and choose the option to email the payslip.
If you have email addresses for more than one employee, you can send them all ePayslips at the same time using the 'Send Payslips as Bulk Emails' button.
How can I transfer my pay run figures to my accounting system?
To save you from retyping figures into your accounting system, you can transfer your pay run data to QuickBooks Online, Business Accountz*, KashFlow, Xero, QuickFile or Sage. Each of these systems is covered by a separate question in our FAQ list.
You can also export your figures to a CSV file which is compatible with Excel and some accounting systems. To access this feature, calculate and confirm your pay run as normal and then click the 'Export to Accounting' button.
* Business Accountz includes a menu option to download figures directly from The Payroll Site
How do I export my pay run figures to KashFlow?
KashFlow is an online accounting system provided by KashFlow Software Ltd. If you have an account with KashFlow, you can send your payroll figures directly to their system, to save you from retyping them.
To set up your KashFlow account:
- Switch on API access. Depending on when you joined KashFlow, the API settings may be within Apps or Settings.
- If you want to limit access, set KashFlow to only allow API requests from our IP addresses, which are currently 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
- Switch on journals using the option at the bottom of the Chart of Accounts within your KashFlow settings.
- Use The Payroll Site to calculate your pay run as normal and click 'Confirm Payments'.
- Click the 'Export to Accounting' button.
- Click the 'Accounts System Configuration' tab.
- Click 'Edit Details'.
- Choose 'KashFlow API' and fill in the username and password.
- If you have an old KashFlow account with 4 digit nominal codes, use the 'Set to Defaults' button. Otherwise, set the codes manually and click 'Save Changes'.
- Click the 'Accounting Transaction' tab.
- Click the 'Send to KashFlow' button, which will create a journal entry in your KashFlow account.
How do I export my pay run figures to Xero?
Xero is an online accounting system provided by Xero Ltd, based in New Zealand. If you have an account with Xero, you can transfer your payroll figures directly to their system, to save retyping them.
The easiest way to send your figures to Xero is using the Xero Bill API. Use The Payroll Site to calculate your pay run as normal. When you are finished, click 'Confirm Payments' and then click the 'Export to Accounting' button.
- Click on the 'Accounts System Configuration' tab, click 'Edit Details' and select the option for 'Xero Bill API'.
- Click 'Set to Defaults' or fill in the fields manually.
- Optional: If you put the code for your bank into the 'Bank Code for Net Pay' box, it will split the invoice into payments in Xero, making your reconciliation easier.
- Click on the 'API Authorisation' tab and follow the on-screen instructions. You will be redirected to the Xero site, where you should click the 'Authorise' button.
- Return to the 'Accounting Transaction' tab and click 'Send to Xero'.
- The transaction will then appear as a Bill in your Xero account.
Xero shows a padlock symbol next to some accounts. These are system accounts - do not use them.
The configuration is remembered and you do not need to set it up again each time.
You can also transfer figures to Xero using the Journal API, or one of the CSV options.
How do I export my pay run figures to Sage?
The Sage 50 and 50c accounts products include a CSV import feature, which can be used to transfer your payroll figures.
When you have finished calculating your pay run, click 'Confirm Payments' and then click on the 'Export to Accounting' button. Within the 'Accounts System Configuration' tab, select the option for 'Sage CSV'. Next, fill in the nominal codes that you are using within Sage or click the 'Set to Defaults' button. Once these details have been set, the system will remember them for next time. Click the 'Accounting Transaction' tab and the system will show you details of the accounting transaction. Click the 'Download CSV' button to download the CSV file onto your computer.
It is advisable to take a backup before importing into Sage. These are instructions for importing the CSV file into Sage 50c Accounts version 23 (other versions may vary):
- From the File menu in Sage, select 'Import'
- Click 'Next'
- Choose 'Audit Trail Transactions' and click 'Next'
- Click 'Comma-separated (*.csv)' and ensure 'First row contains headings' is ticked.
- Click 'Browse', find the CSV file you downloaded earlier and click 'Open'
- Click 'Next' and then 'Next' again, then 'Import'
How do I transfer my pay run figures to Business Accountz?
Business Accountz is a software package published by Accountz.com Limited. The latest version of Business Accountz incorporates a feature for downloading your payroll figures direct from The Payroll Site.
To use this feature, open Business Accountz, click on the File menu and choose the Payroll option. Detailed help about using that feature can then be viewed by clicking on the '?' symbol in the bottom corner of that page.
If the Payroll option does not appear, you may need to upgrade to the latest version - click on the Help menu and choose 'Check for Upgrade'.
How do I export my pay run figures to QuickBooks Online?
QuickBooks Online is an online accounting system from Intuit. If you have a QuickBooks Online account, you can transfer your payroll figures directly, to save you from retyping them.
If you access QuickBooks Online via a login with Barclays, MyBusinessWorks or Smarta, we can not connect to these systems so you will need to transfer your figures manually.
The first time you export figures to QuickBooks, you will need to set up the link. Use The Payroll Site to calculate and confirm your pay run as normal, then click on the 'Export to Accounting' button. Click onto the Accounts System Configuration tab and use the Edit Details button to select the options you need, starting by choosing 'QuickBooks Online'. Next, fill in the names of the accounts you are using within QuickBooks Online. Once you have saved these settings, the system will remember them for next time. Next, click on the API Authorisation tab and follow the on-screen instructions. You will be redirected to the QuickBooks Online website to complete the authorisation.
Once authorisation is complete, you can return to the Accounting Transaction tab and click 'Send to QuickBooks Online'. The transaction will be sent directly to your QuickBooks Online account, where it will appear as a Journal Entry. Depending on which version of QuickBooks Online you are using, it can either be viewed in the Banking tab or by clicking the Magnifying Glass or Clock symbol at the top of the QuickBooks Online screen.
How do I export my pay run figures to QuickFile?
QuickFile is an online accounting system provided by QuickFile Ltd. If you have an account with QuickFile, you can send your payroll figures directly to their system, to save retyping them.
Use The Payroll Site to calculate your pay run as normal. When you are finished, click 'Confirm Payments' and then click on the 'Export to Accounting' button. Within the Accounts System Configuration tab, select the option for 'QuickFile' and fill in the Account Number and API Credentials (You can find the Account Number at the top of the QuickFile page. You can find the API Credentials within 'Account Settings', '3rd party integration'. 'API' in your QuickFile account). You can set the nominal codes manually, or use the 'Set to Defaults' button.
Once these details have been set, the system will remember them for next time. Click the Accounting Transaction tab and the system will show you details of the accounting transaction. Click the 'Send to QuickFile' button to send the transaction directly to your QuickFile account, where it will appear as a journal entry.
What is a Nominal Account?
When you enter figures into an accounting system, they are allocated to different 'accounts' so they can be analysed. Accounts which don't relate to specific customers or suppliers are usually called Nominal Accounts.
Each Nominal Account has a unique number, called a Nominal Code. Different accounting systems use different terminology:
- KashFlow uses the word 'Type' to describe Nominal Accounts, and each type has its own Code
- In QuickBooks Online, the unique number is disabled by default, so you will not see them unless you change the settings
If you transfer your figures from The Payroll Site to your accounting system using the Export feature, you will need to decide which Nominal Account to use for each figure. Nominal Accounts can be set on the Accounts System Configuration page and on the Employee's Tax Details page.
For most accounting systems, you should set the appropriate Nominal Code on that page, but if you use QuickBooks Online, you can type the Account Name instead.
If I use your service, do I still need my accountant?
We do not provide bookkeeping, tax advice or the preparation of VAT returns, company accounts or self assessment tax returns. If you require any of these services then you will need to use a suitably experienced person, such as an accountant.
What do I do when an employee leaves?
To process a leaver, follow these steps:
- Enter a leaving date and final pay date on the employee's 'Tax Details' tab.
- If they are in a pension scheme, go to the 'Pensions etc' tab and set the Exit Date and Exit Type of the membership.
- Use Pay Employees to calculate their final wages.*
- Once the final pay run is confirmed and sent to HMRC, go back to the employee's 'Tax Details' tab to produce a P45.
How can I pay an ex-employee after I have processed them as a leaver?
If you have entered the employee's leaving date, sent the RTI submission and issued a P45 and then discovered you need to make an extra payment to the employee:
- On the employees 'Tax Details' page, set the Final Pay Date to be the Pay Date of the extra payment
- If the tax code starts with an S, change it to S0T, otherwise change it to 0T
- Set 'Tax Code is Week1/Month1?' to Yes
- Use the Pay Employees option to enter the pay run for the employee (if you are not paying the other employees, start the pay run and then untick them)
- Once you have confirmed the pay run, send the RTI submission and give the payslip to the employee
An ex-employee has just rejoined the company. How should I enter them on The Payroll Site?
If an ex-employee rejoins the company then you should treat them as a brand new employee. It does not matter if the gap is 2 weeks or 2 years simply enter their details as you would with any new starter. If they rejoined within the same tax year, they should appear twice on the list of employees.
Note: When they rejoin you must use a different 'Employee Reference Number' otherwise HMRC may calculate your payments using incorrect information.
What should I do about workers who are not paid regularly?
If you employ someone who works on an irregular basis you should mark them as an occasional worker on their Tax Details tab. Every time you do a pay run for your other staff who have the same pay frequency, you should include the occasional worker with a salary of zero for that period. This not only keeps HMRC up to date but it means we won't charge you for them as an extra employee.
Can I sign up for more than one account?
You can sign up for more than one account by using a different email address. If you are an accountant or payroll bureau please contact us about an agent account. It could make administration easier if you manage the payroll of more than one employer.
How do I print an old payslip?
Choose the employee from the OPTIONS on the left and then click on the Working Sheet tab. This will show you all of the payments you have made to this employee in the current tax year. Find the payment you are interested in and click on the rightmost figure on that line (you may need to use the scroll bar). The payslip should then appear, with an option to print.
You can print a payslip from a different tax year by first selecting the tax year and then following the same steps as above.
Can I add overtime and holiday pay on the payslip?
Yes - the gross pay details page has a place to enter overtime and 'other pay'. If you are using the 'other pay' option, it is advisable to put a brief explanation in the 'Pay Advice' box.
Note: If a weekly-paid employee is given their holiday pay before they take their leave, don't put the holiday pay in the 'other pay' box. Instead, click the 'Add' option on the right of the gross pay details page and then choose 'Holiday pay in advance'. This will work out the tax and NI using HMRC's special rules for this situation.
Can I put expenses on the payslips?
Yes. On the Gross Pay Details page, click the Add option on the right and then choose 'Payment free of tax/NI'. This will add an extra amount to the payslip without affecting the tax, NI or other deductions.
Can the payslip data be transferred into Excel to make my end of year accounts easier to complete?
Yes, simply cut and paste the relevant pages into an Excel worksheet.
Can I calculate wages for more than 5 employees?
Yes you can but an extra fee may apply. See our Pricing page for details.
What paper do I need to print my payslips on?
You can print payslips onto plain A4 paper using an ordinary printer, such as an inkjet or laser printer.
You can also
- Use the PDF format to send the payslips by email
- Print onto A5 paper using the A5 format PDF payslip
- Print two per sheet, using the A5 format PDF and choosing the 'Multiple pages per sheet' option in Adobe.
- Print onto security mailer stationery, suitable for posting
A security mailer is an A4 page with a clear window and an adhesive strip around the edge. After printing the payslip, the mailer is folded in half to create a secure envelope with the address showing through the window.
For security mailer stationery that has been tested with our site, you can order blank payslips EUF-U from the Evrite website. To print onto security mailers, set the payslip format within Preferences and then go to the PDF version of the payslip you want to print. Switch off the Page Scaling option within Adobe, so that the address aligns with the window in the mailer.
Do I need to send the 'working sheet' page or P11 to HM Revenue & Customs?
HMRC do not require you to send them this form, they only ask you to keep a form P11 or an equivalent, for your records. The Working Sheet page of our system is an equivalent, so you do not need to fill out a separate form P11.
Form P11 should not be confused with form P11D, which is used for totally different purpose.
How can I get a report for a specific group of employees?
If you click onto an employee and then click the Tax Details tab, you will see a box for Department. Once you have set the department for your employees, click on Reports and then click 'Total pay and deductions by department'.
Why is it important to get the employee's personal details right?
National Insurance number, surname, full forenames, date of birth and gender are sent to HMRC and used by them to match against the employee's NI contribution record. If these fields do not match the information held by HMRC, your employee may lose out on their entitlement to benefits, pensions and universal credits. For this reason, HMRC recommends you check these details against official documents, such as passports and NI cards.
How do I set up pension schemes?
If you offer your employees a workplace pension scheme, you can add details using the 'Pension Schemes' tab within the Workplace Pensions option. Once the pension scheme has been added, you can set up an employee's membership of the scheme from their 'Pensions etc' tab.
How do I set up pension contributions for an employee?
You can add pension contributions using the button on the employee's Pensions etc tab. Once added, you can choose which pension scheme it relates to and the amount of the contribution before clicking 'Save Changes'.
Should directors be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension?
You don't have to auto enrol directors, but in some cases you have a choice.
Some directors are not workers for the purposes of auto enrolment.
- If a director is the only person in the company, they are not a worker
- If a director doesn't have an employment contract, they are not a worker
- If they don't ordinarily work in the UK, they are not a UK worker
If you have directors who are UK workers, they are assessed in the same way as normal employees but you don't have to actually enrol them into a pension if you (or they) don't want to.
For more information, see the website of The Pensions Regulator.
Which auto enrolment pensions can I use?
It is up to each employer to choose a pension provider. We can't help you choose but you can get help from The Pensions Regulator or an independent financial adviser.
The Pensions Regulator's website has a list of providers. It says you should pick a scheme that either has master trust assurance or is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
You must tell your pension company about your staff and their pension contributions. Many pension providers let you do this online but our system gives you easier ways to transfer your data to the following:
What are the Entitled Worker Actions?
These are the actions the employer must take when a worker is assessed and falls into the category Entitled Worker.
If you are not using postponement, the action required is to ensure the worker receives information about their right to 'join' a pension. You can give them a letter about their rights as an Entitled Worker, or you can use a combined letter that also explains the rights of Non-Eligible Jobholders.
You can download a template for the combined letter from The Pensions Regulator.
Once you have given the letter to the employee, the action has been completed and you do not need to repeat it each time they are found to be in this category. You will have to act if the worker notifies you that they wish to join a pension.
You can read more about Workplace Pensions / Auto Enrolment in our Automatic Enrolment guide.
What are the Non-Eligible Jobholder Actions?
These are the actions the employer must take when a worker is assessed and falls into the category Non-Eligible Jobholder.
If you are not using postponement, the action required is to ensure the worker receives information about their right to 'opt in' to a pension.
You can give them a letter about their rights as a Non-Eligible Jobholder, or you can use a combined letter that also explains the rights of Entitled Workers.
You can download a template for the combined letter from The Pensions Regulator.
Once you have given the letter to the employee, the action has been completed and you do not need to repeat it each time they are found to be in this category. You will have to act if the worker notifies you that they wish to opt-in to a pension.
You can read more about Workplace Pensions / Auto Enrolment in our Automatic Enrolment guide.
What are the Eligible Jobholder Actions?
These are the actions the employer must take when a worker is assessed and falls into the category Eligible Jobholder.
The Pensions Regulator can give you guidance about when you can postpone enrolment, and situations when you don't need to enrol certain employees. For example, as of 6th April 2016, you don't have to automatically enrol directors.
If exceptions and postponement do not apply, the actions required are to
- enrol them into a qualifying pension
- start making regular contributions to their pension
- give information to the employee, explaining that you are enrolling them into a pension and that they can opt out
Once you have carried out these actions, you will need to continue making contributions to the pension unless the worker chooses to opt out.
You can read more about Workplace Pensions / Auto Enrolment in our Automatic Enrolment Guide and our Opt-Out Guide.
What does qualifying earnings mean?
Qualifying earnings has a specific meaning for pensions. In the tax year 2017/18:
- Qualifying earnings is a band of earnings, which means it is always less than gross pay.
- The band starts at £490/m (or £113/wk) so earnings below this aren't counted.
- A pound above the threshold counts as a pound of qualifying earnings.
- The band ends at £3,750/m (or £866/wk).
- Any pay that doesn't count for national insurance purposes, doesn't count for qualifying earnings either.
When you tell your pension company about contribution levels, you must say whether they are a percentage of qualifying earnings, gross pay, or something else. You should set the contributions on The Payroll Site using the same choice.
What are the pension contributions for auto enrolment?
You can choose a more generous pension but contributions can't be below a minimum percentage of Qualifying Earnings (QE). For the 2017/18 tax year, QE is a band of earnings starting at £490/m (£113/wk). If an employee earns over £3,750/m (£866/wk) QE is capped.
If a worker is automatically enrolled
- employer contributions must be at least 1% of QE
- total employer and employee contributions with tax relief are at least 2% of QE
- these are due to rise in 2018
- employer contribution 1% of QE
- employee contribution 0.8% of QE
- tax relief 0.2% of QE, claimed from HMRC by the pension company
- Jack earns £110 this week. He has no earnings in the qualifying earnings band, so no pension contributions are made.
- Jill earns £590 this month. She has £100 of qualifying earnings. The employer contributes £1, Jill 80p and HMRC 20p.
If your pension uses the other type of tax relief (Net Pay Arrangement), the minimum contributions are 1% of QE by the employer and 1% of QE by the employee. The employee also has less tax taken from their wages, if they earn enough to pay tax.
What pension contributions are made for a partial period when an employee is first enrolled?
When an employee is first enrolled in a pension scheme, it may be in the middle of a tax period. For example, if a monthly-paid employee is auto enrolled on the 1st of the month, this is not the start of a tax month.
Your pension scheme rules should tell you whether to take a contribution for a partial period, and how to calculate it:
- If the scheme rules say there is no contribution, put the enrolment date in the 'Contributions Start Date' box on the 'Pensions etc' tab. The system will skip the partial tax period and start with the next period.
- If the scheme rules say a partial contribution should be made, leave the 'Contribution Start Date' blank and set the contribution amount manually.
On the 'Auto Enrolment' page, what does the 'Action Complete' button do?
If you are prompted to take any auto enrolment actions, you may see an 'Action Complete' button on the 'Auto Enrolment' page.
Clicking the 'Action Complete' button sets the answers to the three questions at the top of the 'Pensions etc' tab for the relevant employees.
The three questions are:
- Entitled Worker actions completed?
- Non-Eligible Jobholder actions completed?
- Eligible Jobholder actions completed?
What does the 'Mark as Done' button do?
If you enrol a worker in a pension, your pension company needs to be told about this event. When you create a pension export file, the enrolment information is included. Once the file is accepted by the pension company, you should click 'Mark as Done'.
The 'Mark as Done' button sets the 'Enrolment Complete' option on the 'Pensions etc' tab of each employee whose enrolment details are in the file. You can change the 'Enrolment Complete' setting manually if you prefer. Once it has been set, the enrolment details won't be included in future export files (unless you change it back to 'No').
Similarly, if a worker leaves a pension, the exit event is included in the pension export file. In this case the 'Mark as Done' button sets the 'Exit Complete' option on the 'Pensions etc' tab.
How can I enrol someone in a NEST pension without an NI number?
If your employee recently arrived in the UK, they should call 0345 600 0643 to register for an NI number.
While waiting for the number, you can enrol them as you would anyone else except:
- In the 'Pension Memberships' section of their 'Pensions etc' tab, give them an 'Employee Identifier'
- NEST won't claim tax relief unless you declare they are a foreign national awaiting an NI number
- Our system automatically includes this declaration in the enrolment file
If they are not a foreign national awaiting an NI number:
- Enrol them manually on NEST's website (don't create an export file from our system)
- NEST won't claim tax relief for them
- You may need to raise their pension contributions to compensate for the lack of tax relief
If the employee has lost their NI number, HMRC can trace it for you.
What is an ECON/SCON and where can I find details?
These were for contracted-out pensions and are not needed after April 2016.
ECON stands for Employer's Contracting-Out Number. SCON stands for Scheme Contracted-out Number. They are optional 9 character reference numbers. You will have an ECON if the employer has an occupational pension scheme that is contracted out of the State Second Pension. Depending on the type of contracted-out pension, you may also have an SCON for each member of the scheme.
When the employer started the Contracted-out pension scheme they would have received a copy of the Contracted out certificate from HM Revenue and Customs. The ECON and SCON are shown on the top of this certificate.
Most employers do not have an ECON or an SCON and should leave these boxes blank.
Why did NEST Web Services reject my contributions file?
The most common error message is 'NEST doesn't have a contribution schedule that exactly matches the header of this file. Log on to NEST's website and check the Payment Source, Payment Frequency and the end of the Earnings Period.'
If you see that message:
- Click Show File and then View Data to see the Payment Source, Frequency and Earnings Period End Date.
- Log into NEST, view their list of contribution schedules and compare it to what was on our system.
- Check NEST's Payment source, Payment frequency and the end of the Earnings period against what was in the file.
- If the Payment frequency on NEST is 'Monthly' or 'Weekly', you need to change it to 'Tax Monthly' or 'Tax Weekly' on NEST by adding a new group and moving the employees across.
- If Payment source doesn't match exactly, change it within our Workplace Pensions option and then recreate the file.
- If just the Earnings period is different, NEST may not have created the contributions schedule yet.
Can I use the system with Real Time Information (RTI)?
Real Time Information was the biggest change to PAYE since 1944 and requires employers to send a return to HMRC every time they pay their employees. Nearly all employers have had to send RTI returns since April 2013. Please see our RTI guide for more information.
I am getting error 1046 when I send data to HMRC. What could be wrong?
This means 'Authentication Failure. The supplied user credentials failed validation for the requested service'.
The possible reasons for this error are:
- User ID is wrong
- Password is wrong (Try logging in at the HMRC site)
- You registered your HMRC account for PAYE but haven't yet received the activation PIN
- The PAYE Reference on the Employer details page is wrong (Log in to the HMRC site to see what reference they hold)
- The User ID is for a different business
- The government gateway is too busy
When should I send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS)?
There are several types of Employer Payment Summary (EPS). During the tax year, you should send an EPS
- if you are reclaiming parental pay or CIS deductions or you are claiming the employment allowance for the first time or
- if you have not paid any employees for a full tax month (i.e. from the 6th of one month to the 5th of the next) or
- if you need to pay the apprenticeship levy.
At the end of the tax year, you should send a final RTI submission by the 19th April. Please see our Year End Guide for more information.
What if I don't know the Payroll ID used by my previous system?
If you switch from one payroll system to another, HMRC ask you to find out the Payroll ID for each employee and enter this into your new system. If you are switching to The Payroll Site and are unable to find out the Payroll ID from your old system, you should
- Add the employees onto The Payroll Site, giving them all new references
- Enter and confirm any previous pay runs in the tax year, if any, to match your old system (don't send as RTI submissions)
- Enter and confirm your first new pay run and go to the RTI Submission tab
- Tick the checkbox that indicates you don't know the Payroll ID and then click the button to create the RTI submission
- When you send the RTI submission, it will automatically send the Payroll ID Changed indicator to HMRC
Can I add or correct a starter notification after sending RTI information about the employee?
If you have already sent HMRC any information about an employee, sending a starter notification would cause a duplicate employment on HMRC's systems. The only time you should do this is if the employee has more than one job with you (e.g. they have left and rejoined). If an ex-employee has rejoined, please see the separate answer in the 'Features and General' section of our FAQ list.
If you have created an RTI submission but not yet sent it, you should discard the RTI submission before adding or changing any starter details.
How do I operate Foreign Tax Credit Relief for appendix 5 employees working overseas?
If an employee is working overseas, HMRC may allow you to operate FTCR using a procedure known as EP appendix 5. This involves reducing the amount of UK tax to take into account the amount of foreign tax deducted. For more information, please see HMRC's guidance.
Many payroll packages are not capable of correctly reporting the reduced UK tax in their RTI submissions, but The Payroll Site does have this ability. If you are operating appendix 5, you should use the system as normal except, after creating the pay run:
- Use the 'Extra Options' column on the right to enter a Deduction from Net Pay for the amount of foreign tax
- Once you have completed that page, click 'Calculate Deductions' as you normally would
- Next click the 'Edit' button next to the employee's name, manually change the amount of UK tax and click 'Save Changes'
What do I need to do at the end of the tax year?
The tax year ends on 5th April and any pay dates from 6th April onwards fall in the new tax year. Before paying your employees in the new year, you must click the Finish Tax Year option.
Under RTI, you still need to send a year end submission but it is quite simple, as you have already sent details of your employees. You should also give P60 certificates to your employees by 31st May. Please see our RTI guide for more information.
I have lost my password and cannot access my account?
Simply click on the 'Lost password?' link below the 'Login' button on the main page. You will be asked to supply your email address, and instructions will be sent to you by email.
What should I do if the figures are not what I expected?
Tax, National Insurance and other figures are calculated using the employee details and previous pay runs held on the system, so it is worth checking these were entered correctly. If you call our support team, we can look into your account and help you get to the bottom of it, even during your free trial.
I no longer wish to use the system. How do I cancel/suspend?
Log in and select the Preferences option. Scroll down to the 'Account Status' section and select from the drop down menu to either Cancel the account, make it Dormant or Pause it. We would appreciate it if you would take the time to tell us why you are leaving, either by email or using the form provided.
How do I enter details onto the system when the box is greyed out?
On many pages you cannot enter details until you have clicked the 'Edit details' button towards the bottom of the screen.
Why won't the system allow me to enter a date beyond the 5th April?
Your account may still be set to the old tax year. To move it to the new tax year, select the 'Finish Tax Year' option.
Why are the period start and end dates incorrect?
There are a number of ways this can happen, including forgetting to enter a start date for an employee, or missing out pay runs. If this is the first out of sync payment you should return to the 'Gross Pay Details' page and check the period start and end dates.
The period start/end dates affect Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay, but they do not affect tax or national insurance. If there is no statutory pay, you can normally correct the problem by simply changing the Period End date on the Gross Pay Details page. If the employee does have statutory pay please contact us and we will advise on how to correct the situation.
Why is the employee's NI figure zero?
There are three common reasons for this:
1) The NIC table letter is set to C or X.
2) The employee's pay for this period does not exceed the Primary Threshold.
3) If the employee is a company director, the NI is calculated over a longer period - typically a year. This often leads to zero NI in the first few periods of the year and then higher NI figures later in the year. For more information, see HMRC Help Book CA44.
The Primary Threshold for 2017/18 is
- £157 per week
- £680 per month
- £8,164 per year
Why is the director's NI figure zero?
When using the normal method for director's NI, the figures are calculated on an annual basis (or pro rata basis if appointed within the same tax year).
This often leads to zero NI in the first few periods of the year (while the total earnings are below the annual threshold) and then higher NI figures later in the year.
Full details are given in the HMRC Help Book CA44-national-insurance-for-company-directors.
Why do I have two payslips with the same week/month number?
The week or month number is determined from the pay date.
If you pay your employees on the same day of each week, the week number will be different every week. If, for example, you pay them on Saturday one week and Friday the next week, these may have the same week number.
With monthly paid employees, each tax month starts on the 6th. If, for example, you pay someone on the 6th April and then on the 5th May, these payslips will both be in month 1.
The week/month number can affect tax but not national insurance. If you have two payslips with the same month number, you will normally find that the second payslip has a higher than usual tax deduction.
What should I do when the HMRC Payments page shows I have 0.00 to pay?
A figure of 0.00 means there is nothing to pay HMRC.
It could be because you haven't paid your employees or because you are reclaiming statutory pay or CIS. In these cases, you should send a type of RTI submission called an EPS (Employer Payment Summary). Alternatively, if you paid your employees and sent the usual RTI submission but the pay was low enough not to attract tax or NI, there is no further return to send.
You should click 'Save as Today' on our HMRC Payments page, which will then move on to calculating the figures for the next month.
A figure of 0.00 can mean that HMRC owe money to you, for example if you are recovering SMP that is more than the tax and NI liability. The system will automatically carry any excess forward to the following month.
Why is the net pay negative?
If net pay is negative, this means the deductions are more than the gross pay. You should be able to tell which deduction is causing the problem by looking at the payslip. It can also happen if the gross pay is negative.
I have confirmed a pay run that was wrong - can I edit or delete it?
If you haven't yet paid the tax and NIC for that period to HM Revenue and Customs, then you can delete the payments for an employee like this:
1) Click on the name of the employee on the left hand side of the screen
2) Click on the 'Working Sheet' tab at the top
3) Click on the 'Delete Last Payment' button at the bottom of the page
If you have already paid the tax and NI to HM Revenue and Customs, then altering the pay run may lead to an incorrect amount of tax being paid. As a result of this the 'Delete Last Payment' button will not work as you will need to delete the tax payment first.
Once deleted you can re-enter the pay run as normal remembering to untick the 'Include in Payrun' box for any employees you wish to exclude.
When you send the RTI submission for the new pay run, it automatically sends the differences from the figures previously reported for that pay date.
Can I delete a Tax Payment?
A tax payment is saved by entering a 'Date Paid' and clicking 'Save'. This indicates that you have paid the tax and NIC to HM Revenue and Customs.
If there is no 'Date Paid', then the tax payment has not been saved and therefore need not be deleted.
The most recently saved tax payment can be deleted at any time by clicking the 'delete' link.
How do I stop the web address appearing on all my print-outs?
If you print a page from our website, your web browser may automatically print the web address on the edge of the page.
If you use Internet Explorer or Firefox, you can override this option using the Page Setup option (on the File menu).
If you use Safari, once you have chosen the print option, select 'Safari' from the options and untick the box labelled 'Print webpage information in headers and footers'.
Why am I not receiving any emails from you?
Firstly, check that the email address you log in with is actually your correct address. If you are not sure, please double check as important emails are sent to your email address.
If we have the correct address, the problem is most likely caused by a junk mail filter. Junk emails, or spam, are a common problem on the Internet and there is no foolproof way of determining which emails are of genuine interest and which are spam. If your email program has a bulk email folder, please look there for our email. Otherwise, please check your filter settings.
If you would like us to resend your account validation email, please choose the option on our Preferences page.
How do I contact HM Revenue & Customs?
Details of your tax office can be found on most HMRC correspondence.
The following numbers may also be helpful.
- HMRC New Employer Helpline: 0300-200-3211
- HMRC Employer Helpline: 0300-200-3200
- HMRC Online Services Helpdesk: 0300-200-3600
- HMRC Orderline: 0300-123-1074
Why is statutory pay not added to the payslip?
Statutory Sick Pay, SMP, SAP and SPP are all calculated by the system and will appear on the deductions summary when they apply.
They will normally also be added to the payslip, but this can be disabled using a setting on the employee's Statutory Pay tab - you may wish to do this if you pay the employees their full salary during leave.
To add sick pay to the payslip, set 'Add Statutory Sick Pay to Wages?' to Yes.
To add SMP, SAP or SPP to the payslip, set 'Add to Wages?' to Yes.
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