What Should You Do In Case Of Unknown PAYE Reference Number For Tax Returns?

If you are wondering what you should do in the case of an unknown PAYE reference number for tax returns, you will find detailed guidance in this blog post that can assist you both in knowledge as well as in proceeding further if you are faced with a similar situation.

What Should You Do In Case Of Unknown PAYE Reference Number For Tax Returns?

In case of an unknown PAYE reference number, you will have to enter either “None” or “N/A” as the employer reference while filing your tax returns. In case you have a foreign employer you should enter 000/N as the PAYE reference.

If you are an employee and you don’t know your PAYE reference number for tax returns, the first thing you should do is ask your employer or look for it in any of the following documents:

  • payslip
  • P45 or P60 forms
  • Personal Tax Account
  • PAYE income tax history

However, as you would know, salaried employees who are registered under the PAYE system are not required to file their tax returns on their own as their employers deduct the due amount and submit it to HMRC. 

If you are in an unusual situation in which you need to file your tax returns such as receiving income from abroad, you may need to file your tax returns without your employer managing it for you.

If you are an employer, you can refer to either of the following sources for the company PAYE reference number:

  • the Yellow Booklet given to you by HMRC at the time of your registration as an employer
  • historic payslips, P45, P60 or P11D that were issued to employees
  • correspondence from HMRC

What Happens If You Use The Wrong PAYE Reference Number On Your Tax Return?

If someone uses an incorrect PAYE reference number on their tax return, their payment will not be recognised by HMRC. This means that despite filing their tax returns on time and assuming to have made the payment according to the given due date, the taxpayer has an unpaid status regarding their tax returns.

As a result of this, they can be penalised with fines as well as additional charges which will increase their tax liability.

In addition to this, the taxpayer will also have to contact the HMRC to have the error corrected.

Why Do You Need A PAYE Reference Number?

As an employer, you need the PAYE reference number of your business to file the tax returns of your employees. If you are unable to make timely submissions, you can be penalised by HMRC.

In addition to this, a PAYE reference number is needed for the following purposes:

  • to be mentioned on employees’ payslips
  • when your employees are claiming Tax Credits
  • if your employees apply for student loans

The PAYE reference number is divided into two parts; starting with three digits, followed by a forward slash and ending with an alphanumeric code.


The above discussion helps to conclude that there are different sources to check in case of an unknown PAYE reference number. However, if someone is still in need of guidance, they should seek advice from the HMRC.


Employment | Support – Taxfiler

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