Pay As You Earn (PAYE) form: starter checklist

Updated on 3 April 2023

Are you starting a new job and do not have a form P45? Do you need to tell your new employer about your student loan position? Here we provide three annotated examples to illustrate how you should complete a starter checklist.

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Why do I need to complete a starter checklist?

You may find it useful to read this page in conjunction with our guidance What if I start a job without a P45.

When you start a job, your employer has to provide some information to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) so that they can decide what tax-free allowances you are entitled to.

If you are starting a new job and do not have a form P45 from a previous employer or the Department for Work and Pensions, your employer should ask you to complete a starter checklist. This might be the case if this is your very first job, or if you have not worked previously during the tax year, or you have misplaced your form P45.

The checklist asks you for relevant information; it will help your employer to allocate a tax code and work out the tax due on your first payday. If you do not provide this information, you could end up paying the wrong amount of tax.

Even if you do have a P45, you can also complete the starter checklist to tell your new employer about your student loan position – the P45 only indicates whether a new employee is already repaying a student loan. It does not indicate the particular plan type, which your employer will need to know to ensure the correct deductions are made.

⚠️ You should be aware that one major cause of tax problems for those in employment, is the incorrect completion of the starter checklist – in particular picking the wrong employee Statement (A, B or C). We explain more in our news piece Why completing a starter checklist CORRECTLY when starting a new job really does matter!.

We also have information on our website about how to complete the starter checklist form in various unusual scenarios, such as if you were self-employed before you took your job or you were employed abroad before taking your job in the UK.  

If your employer does not ask you to complete a starter checklist, you can get the form and complete it yourself (you can even do this 'late'). If you don’t do this, you may find yourself on an 0T code – a type of emergency tax code that taxes you at a flat rate. 

Give the completed checklist to your employer. Do not send the checklist to HMRC. We also recommend keeping a copy of the checklist for your records.

What If I don’t have a National Insurance number?

⚠️ IMPORTANT NOTE: We have heard that some employers are advising that they cannot employ individuals or pay them until they have a National Insurance number. This is not correct. As we explain in our guidance, provided you can prove that you have the right to work in the UK, you can complete a starter checklist and start work. There is no deadline by which you must have a National Insurance number after starting work.

You should apply for a National Insurance number as soon as you are able to do so.

You should also complete the starter checklist so that your employer can add you onto the payroll. You should leave the National Insurance number box blank.

The employer should still deduct tax and National Insurance from you (if you are liable) and they can make the necessary payroll submissions without providing a National Insurance number to HMRC.

Once you have a National Insurance number, you should provide it to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer will send this to HMRC via their payroll submissions.

HMRC should then be able to match up the tax and National Insurance contributions that you have already paid via the payroll with your new National Insurance number.

Completing the form

There are two versions of the form available on GOV.UK.

One allows you to complete the starter checklist onscreen and then print it out or save it so that you can email it to your employer. Note that the onscreen starter checklist asks a series of questions that will result in the completed form displaying your details and Statement A, B or C – you do not actively select the Statement, it appears based on the answers given to the questions. However, when you view the finalised form, you can check that it displays the Statement that you expect for your circumstances. If it does not show the Statement that you expected, you should double check that you have answered the questions correctly.

The other is a blank copy of the starter checklist that you can download and print so you can complete it by hand. This form requires you to select Statement A, B or C.

Whether you use the onscreen form or the downloaded form, it is important that you keep a copy for your records.

Example 1

Jenny J, who was born 21 June 1994 starts work on 5 July 2022. This is her first ever job and as she has been studying full-time and then travelling abroad until then, she has not been claiming any benefits or pensions. Jenny has a Student Loan, which she has not started to pay off yet. She completed her higher education course before 6 April 2022.

Annotated starter checklist Jenny J 2269 by LITRG

Example 2

Caroline C, who was born 31 August 1968 has worked part-time for several years for a large supermarket. On 30 June 2022 she starts a second part-time job for a local coffee shop. She does not have a Student Loan.

Annotated starter checklist Caroline C 2269 by LITRG

Example 3

Mike M, who was born 10 October 1981 was made redundant in 2020. He has been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance since 2020 and looking for a new job. On 1 September 2022, having found a job, he starts work for a new employer and no longer claims Jobseeker’s Allowance. He has a Student Loan. When he was made redundant, he set up a monthly payment plan with the Students Loan Company to repay the outstanding loan, and he wants this arrangement to continue.

Annotated starter checklist Mike M 2269 by LITRG

Important note

Sometimes HMRC can overwrite the tax code that comes out of the starter checklist. For example, we sometimes see this where someone has recently left a job and so Statement B is correct. If HMRC still have a ‘live’ employment record for them (which can happen where there is a delay in the old employer sending HMRC the required leaver information or where the worker is an agency worker) – it may look to HMRC like the worker has two jobs. The worker will need to phone HMRC and explain their position so that HMRC do not implement a Statement C tax code incorrectly.  

Please be aware that sometimes if you switch jobs and the pay periods of the old and new jobs overlap, you may have an underpayment of tax at the end of the tax year. This may be the case even if you have completed the starter checklist correctly.  

This is because you will probably have a tax code on the old job in operation that gives you some personal allowance in your last pay period. Statement B (which is the correct Statement if you have had another job since 6 April which has now ended) will also result in a code that gives you some personal allowance in your first pay period of the new job. As you will have been given two lots of personal allowances for the same pay period, at the end of the tax year, you will have received more than the standard personal allowance for the year.

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