Paper filing

Updated on 20 April 2023

Taking on an employee

The information on this page is for you if have agreement from HMRC to be able to file on paper.

You can find out about who qualifies for paper filing, in our filing options section.

Illustration of piles of papers and folders in boxes

Introduction to paper filing

Paper filing refers to a series of paper forms and processes that are used by an employer to give HMRC information about employee events (e.g. them joining/leaving) and the payments made to them. The forms and processes are aligned with the requirements of the Real Time Information (RTI) system, as far as possible.

RTI paper process submissions

The RTI paper process involves completing a form each quarter for each employee that you have paid, giving the employee’s personal details and PAYE pay and deductions. This form is called RT2 – Full quarterly payment summary.

It contains sections like:

  • Your employee’s personal details
  • Your employee’s starter information
  • Your employee’s payment details
  • Your employee’s pay and deductions
  • Your employee’s leaver information.

You only need to answer the sections that are appropriate to your employee’s circumstances.

RT2 must reach HMRC by the 19 July (for the quarter 6 April to 5 July), 19 October (for the quarter 6 July to 5 October), 19 January (for the quarter 6 October to 5 January), and 19 April (for the quarter 6 January to 5 April) each year.

There may be another form to complete to accompany the RT2 (or, occasionally, to send instead of an RT2) called RT5.

Use RT5 – Employer payment summary to tell HMRC that you have not paid anyone in a particular quarter (here you would send an RT5 instead of an RT2) or need to claim the Employment Allowance or recover a statutory payment, like Statutory Maternity Pay for example (for these things you would send an RT5 as well as an RT2).

(Note: there used to be a form RT3 and a form RT4 however these have been withdrawn.)

There is a guide to completing the RT2 and RT5 forms. The guide is called RT6.

There is also RT7 – Guidance for employers exempt from filing Real Time Information online: this help book contains step-by-step guidance which has been specifically produced to help you understand:

  • your responsibilities and obligations as an employer
  • how to send your payroll information to HMRC
  • what forms to fill in and when
  • how and when to pay HMRC
  • where you can get more help and support.

Finally, there is RT11 – Deductions working sheet: you complete the relevant quarterly forms using information that you have recorded on this form (you prepare and maintain one of these for each employee and use it to keep a record of all the payments you make and calculate the tax and NICs to deduct from these payments).

HMRC should send you the forms and guides you require. Should you not receive them call the Employer Orderline. You should note that the forms and guides are not available from HMRC's website. They are only available to those employers who HMRC have agreed can use paper forms from HMRC directly.

Phone the Employer Helpline if you need help with any of the forms or guidance.

Universal Credit/tax credits and RTI paper process

One of the objectives of the introduction of RTI is to support the introduction of the welfare benefit called Universal Credit, which is being phased in over a period of several years. Therefore, you will need to tell your employees if you are a paper filer. If they claim Universal Credit, they will need to report their earnings from you to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) themselves each month. This is because this information will not be received automatically by DWP from you via RTI submissions as it will be from online filers. Their reported earnings will be checked with the information you provide each quarter to ensure their Universal Credit payments are correct.

Please note that as the full introduction of Universal Credit will not be complete for some time, HMRC may use the information you provide on your Pay As You Earn (PAYE) submissions to amend any tax credit awards your employee has in the meantime. It’s important, therefore, that the information you provide is both timely and accurate. You can find out more about RTI and tax credits on our sister site RevenueBenefits.

Tax guides

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