A P45 is pretty useful if you’re switching jobs or if you’re leaving one job and plan on having another at some point. But what is a P45? Why do you need a P45? And, essentially, how do you get one?
What is a P45?
A P45 is the document you receive when you leave a job, and it contains all the information a new employer will need about your old salary, your tax code, and how much tax you’ve paid during your previous employment. It’s a legal requirement for employers to send a P45 to all ex-employees after they’ve left.
It’s made of four parts:
- Part 1. Your employer sends this to HMRC.
- Part 1A. A copy of part 1 that’s for you to keep.
- Part 2 and 3. These are for your new employer.
Why do you need a P45?
A P45 is an important document, both for tax purposes and for any new employers.
If you start a new job, the tax code on your P45 will be used by your employer to work out how much tax needs to be deducted from your salary. Without the P45, you may end up paying too much or too little.
If you’re leaving work to receive a pension, your pension provider will need to know your tax code in order to work out payments.
How do I get a P45: step by step guide
- You shouldn’t need to do anything. If you leave work, your old employer should automatically send you a P45.
- Ask nicely. If you don’t get your P45 within a few weeks after you’ve left your old job, you should contact the company and ask for it.
- Ask again, less nicely. If your old employer still doesn’t send you your P45, or says it can’t, remind them that it is a legal obligation to provide all ex-employees with a P45. If it can’t provide that, the company is breaking the law and you should contact HMRC about it.
- If you lose your P45… You cannot get a replacement. Instead a new employer will have to provide you with a “starter checklist” or ask for the relevant details from you.
- If you’re starting your first job/taking on a second one. Then don’t worry, you’re not supposed to have a P45. Again, your new employer will have to ask you the relevant questions and figure out how much taxes you’re supposed to pay. The “starter checklist” also includes questions on any other jobs or benefits you may have and will help your employer make sure your taxes are calculated correctly.
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