What to Do if an Employer Won’t Give a P45?

Leaving a job and starting a new role can be challenging, particularly if your former employer won’t give you a P45 promptly.

The information reported on this PAYE form gives payroll at your new employer the information they need to make sure you are placed on the correct tax code. In turn, this impacts how much tax you will pay.

In many cases it is a simple oversight and can be fixed quickly. But even if your ex-workplace is deliberately withholding a p45 there are straightforward solutions to quickly sort out your wages.

Let’s look at what to do if you have no P45 from your previous employer, and what should happen when you’re not able to give it to your new employer.

What is a P45?

Firstly, let’s focus on what a P45 is and why it is required when you are starting a new job.

You receive a form a P45 when you leave a job. The form details how much tax you paid in the current financial year (6th April to 5th April).

The form is divided into 4 parts:-

  • Part 1: Your previous employer sends this part of the form to HMRC.
  • Parts 2 & 3: These are for your new employer or the job centre, if you are seeking new employment.
  • Part 1A: Your personal copy for your own records.

A P45 is important as it tells your new employer which tax code to place you on. Without this information, you risk being placed on an emergency tax code. This can mean you end up paying a higher amount of tax.

A P45 is just as important if you aren’t going to a new job. You need it to claim any benefits you are entitled to. This form can also be used to help claim a tax refund if you are entitled to one.

How Long Is a P45 Valid For?

Your P45 is only valid for the current tax year.

This runs from the 6th of April to the 5th of April each year. The form lays out your income for this period and how much tax has been paid.

If you don’t have a P45 from the current tax year because you have not had employment during this time, you will not have to provide your new employer with one. They will submit other documentation to HMRC in order to calculate your tax code.

See Also: P45 vs P60, what’s the difference?

Are Employers Legally Obliged to Provide a P45?

Whenever you leave a place of work permanently, you are entitled to be issued a P45 by your former employer.

This includes resigning, being made redundant or being sacked. It also includes employees who are leaving due to retirement. This should be an automatic process that is initiated as soon as you have left.

Employers usually generate the document via their payroll software, but if needed forms can be obtained from HMRC. However, a challenge arises because the law does not specify a strict timeframe within which a P45 must be issued.

The law, specifically The Income Tax (Pay as You Earn) Act 2003 states that an employer must provide a P45 on the employees last day of employment or without “unreasonable delay”. This means there’s no timeframe specified by the law.

How to get a P45 From a Previous Employer

If you’ve been waiting an unreasonable amount of time then you should pursure your former employer to issue your P45.

You shouldn’t feel awkward or worried about doing this – having that form is a legal requirement. Approach your old manager or payroll department and ask in a calm manner if yours has been generated yet. If it hasn’t, issue a friendly reminder that you need this for your new place of work.

It may also be worth contacting the company’s Payroll department. They will be responsible for issuing P45s so may be better placed to take action. Whichever route you take, remain professional at all times. Your former employer may be choosing to drag their heels for obtuse reasons, but you should remain calm.

See Also: How to get a P45.

What to Do if Your Employer Won’t Give a P45

Should your ex employer be refusing to send you a P45 then there are steps you can take to try and remedy the situation.

Here’s some suggested steps to help resolve the issue:-

1. Issue a Deadline to Your Employer

If your request has been met with refusal, send a letter or email reminding them they have a legal obligation to provide you with a P45 form and request that they produce it within a reasonable timeframe. For example, 7 days.

Also mention that you will be contacting HMRC regarding their failure to follow PAYE reporting procedures. This may be enough to spur them into action.

If the reminder doesn’t work, it is time for you to take matters further.

2. Approach HMRC

If your employer still has not provided your p45, it is time to contact HMRC and report the issue to them. HMRC should then get in touch with your ex employer to address the issue.

If your ex employer still won’t give you P45 form then they may face action from HMRC. This can take the form of an Employer Compliance Investigation, which looks at PAYE and National Insurance requirements.

This can be a costly and stressful process and fines can be issued to non compliant employers.

If your P45 is still not forthcoming, try not to worry. You can still start your new role without a P45. Follow our guidelines below for dealing with the situation.

What Happens if You Don’t Give Your New Employer Your P45?

It’s very common for candidates to start a new job and not be able to provide a P45.

If you don’t give your new employer your P45, you may be placed on an emergency tax code and end up paying too much tax. However, this will resolve itself relatively quickly, and you will get a rebate.

You may feel apprehension about the situation, but don’t worry – there is alternative paperwork that can be filled out. The information can submitted to HMRC instead of the details on your P45.

Filling Out a Starter Checklist (P46)

The starter checklist is a simple form, and can be completed quickly. Your employer should provide you with one, or ask you for the information required so they can complete it on your behalf.

You can see the PDF version of the form on the UK GOV website.

Unfortunately, you might still end up on the wrong tax code initially which is far from ideal. This may result in you being placed on an emergency tax code.

You can call HMRC on 0300 200 3300 or log onto your personal tax account to help provide your new employer with accurate information.

Your personal tax account should have the payroll information submitted by your previous employer. You can use this to accurately fill out the starter checklist. Employers are legally obligated to report pay and deductions to HMRC on or before each payday, so the information you need should be logged in your tax account.

HMRC will use the information submitted to them by your new employer to help work out your tax code. Once your information has been processed, you will get a new tax code. A rebate will be issued for any overpayment whilst you were on an emergency tax code.

HMRC Will Issue a Tax Code

Above all, try not to worry about starting a job without a P45. The situation will resolve itself relatively quickly.

Your former employer will be required to submit their payroll data to HMRC even if they are being awkward about your P45. Whilst they might be happy to inconvenience you, they won’t take the same approach with the tax man.

HMRC will use the wages they report to issue an accurate tax code.

What Is a Starter Checklist?

In 2013, the P46 form was replaced with the all improved Starter Checklist form.

This form allows your employer to get the relevant information in time for your first payday. It is important to note that the P46 is no longer a valid document. 

It can be used in a range of different scenarios, including:-

  • Having a student or postgraduate loan.
  • Your P45 has incorrect information on it.
  • Your employer did not issue you with a P45 when you left.
  • This is your first job.
  • You are working temporarily in the UK from overseas.
  • You have misplaced your P45.

This form can be completed online or you can print it off and fill it in by hand. This form ensures you pay the correct amount of tax in your new job.

Ways to Contact HMRC

You can contact HMRC by phone on 0300 200 3300.

For more general queries about how to approach not having your P45, you can also speak with customer representatives on HMRC’s Twitter Service or on their Customer Forums. However, you should not publicly share any personal details on their public forums.


Can I get my P45 online?

Your P45 comes directly from your previous employer and cannot be accessed or filled in, online. You need to ask your previous place of employment for it.

Do I need a P45 to start a new job?

Ideally, you should have your P45 when starting a new job as this ensures you are on the correct tax code. However, your employer can get you set up by asking for your details and processing a Starter Checklist form.

One thought on “What to Do if an Employer Won’t Give a P45?

  1. Charles Mortimer says:

    Left my part time job doing school contracts on 24th February 2023 .previous employer won’t pass on my p45 .I have as advised wrote and asked for it ,no response.I am retired but feel that’s not the point
    Also never had pay slips

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