Find out what to do about a lost P45 and how to get a copy from a previous employer or HMRC, including if you’re self-employed.
What is a P45?
A P45 is an official tax form created by HMRC and filled out by Employers. It’s issued when you leave their employment and summaries information about you, your pay and your tax code during the last tax year** that you worked for them. If you want to see information about the tax you have paid for previous tax years in their employment, you’ll need to look at your P60.
When Do You Get a P45?
You should get a P45 from your employer when they pay your final salary, if not, then very soon after. Your employer is legally obliged to provide you with this document.
** the tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April
What to Do If You’ve Lost Your P45
Because of the sensitive information on the form, getting a copy P45 may not always be possible but here are some options to help if you’ve lost your P45 (including if you cannot get a replacement from a previous employer).
How to Get a P45 From a Previous Employer
If your employer sent your P45 by email you can contact them to request a copy P45.
Although less common now, some employers issue paper versions of P45s. If a paper P45 was issued then your previous employer will not be able to produce a replacement P45. Employers are prohibited by law from reproducing or amending P45s due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in them.
That said, it may be possible for your previous employer to produce a duplicate P45. However, not all employers are able or willing to do so and they aren’t legally required to.
What to Do If You Can’t Get a Copy of a Lost P45
If for whatever reason, your previous employer is unable to help you, then you must contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300 (have your national insurance number ready to prove you’re identity).
Your previous employer submits details from your payslip of tax deductions, tax codes and your pay every time they pay you. This means HMRC will have all the information that you’d find on your lost P45.
What Happens If You Can’t Get a Replacement P45
If you have tried to get a copy P45 from a previous employer but have been unable to get one you’ll most likely need to fill in a form called a starter checklist (previously called P46). In most cases completing this form avoids you paying emergency tax.
What to Do About a Lost P45 if You’re Self-Employed
If you are filling in your tax return, you’ll need to complete an employment section with details of any employment you have had. You also need to include your gross earnings, income tax deducted and benefits in kind which you’ll find on your P11d form.
If you’ve lost your P45 then one of the easy ways to check for your PAYE salary and tax deductions is to look at your last payslip. Depending on how your previous employer prints the payslips, you may find details of cumulative earnings, tax and National Insurance. Or, you can just add the numbers for each of your payslips for the tax year you are filling in your return.
If you don’t have payslips and are unable to get a replacement P45 from your previous employer, then you’ll need to call HMRC on 300 200 3300 (you’ll need your UTR number and National Insurance ready to pass security so they can tell you your gross earnings and tax deductions).
You’ll also need to call the student loan helpline on 0300 100 0611 to get details of any student loan repayments you have made as these need to go onto your tax return too.
Friendly Disclaimer: Whilst I am an accountant, I’m not your accountant. The information in this article is legally correct but it is for guidance and information purposes only. Everyone’s situation is different and unique so you’ll need to use your own best judgement when applying the advice that I give to your situation. If you are unsure or have a question be sure to contact a qualified professional because mistakes can result in penalties.