Whether you’re decided on leaving your current job or just considering seeking new career opportunities, it’s useful to know how to get a P45 and why having one is important.
Amidst the variety of other similarly-named forms, such as the P46 and the P60, it may not be immediately obvious what makes the P45 different.
But because it’s important to understand what a P45 is and its purpose, we’ve detailed everything you need to know about P45s in this blog.
What is a P45?
A P45 is a document that employees receive from their employer at the end of their employment. Whether you were on a fixed term or permanent contract, you should get a P45 which you can then use to pass on to your next employer.
It is the employer’s responsibility to provide you with a P45 upon termination of your employment with them. However, you are within your rights to request it be sent to you or your new employer’s address.
What is included in a P45?
A P45 is a standardised document so each one you receive will contain the same information. The form will include the following details:
- The date your employment started and ended
- Employer details
- Your tax code
- Student loan repayment details (if applicable)
- The total amount you’ve earned while you were employed
- The total amount of tax you paid while you were employed
How long is a P45 valid for?
A P45 is valid until the end of the tax year that it was issued in, but it can be kept past that date.
Common recommendations are that you keep your P45 for 22 months from the end of the tax year that it was issued, although you may keep it longer for your records. They can be useful to prove your income and tax paid, and can be used as proof of your national insurance number if needed.
How can I get a P45
A P45 should be automatically issued by your employer through their payroll system, so you shouldn’t need to request one at the end of your employment. As they are an official document that you have to receive, this should be a straightforward procedure for your employer to provide you with one.
If you do not receive a P45 at the end of your employment, you should contact your employer and request one.
Do you get a P45 if you've been sacked?
Your employer should always provide you with a P45, even if you were fired or made redundant. In these circumstances, the P45 should contain the same information as it would if you had quit the role.
Keeping hold of this document will also be important when looking for new jobs, and if applying for benefits.
Do you get a P45 when you retire?
Just like in any other situation where your employment has ended, you should get a P45 upon retirement.
The information on your P45 can be used by your pension providers to decide on the correct tax code for when you make withdrawals from your pension.
How long does it take to get a P45?
A P45 should be issued whenever an employee leaves employment. Ideally it should be handed to them on their last day but practically this isn’t always possible, such as if they are on holiday or if an external payroll provider is being used.
In many cases, a P45 will be issued once the latest payroll process run has been completed so that all details can be easily confirmed as correct. However, the employee should be advised if it is expected to take more than a few days after the end of their employment for them to receive the P45.
What if my P45 is wrong?
If any information in your P45 is wrong, such as the incorrect address or National Insurance Number, then you should contact your employer’s payroll team and request that it be amended. If the tax code is incorrect, you should contact HMRC.
How can I get a P45 replacement
If you have lost a P45, then you can request one directly from your past employer. They should be able to provide you with a replacement P45, especially if they had originally sent an electronic version.
In some cases, they may not be able to provide you with a replacement P45, especially if your employment with them was a long time ago. This will usually be because they sent you a paper version, although this is less common now.
Employers are prohibited from amending or duplicating P45s due to the sensitive information they contain. However, it is still worth contacting them to check.
What happens if my employer can’t provide me with a P45?
If you’ve contacted your past employer to request a P45 and they haven’t been able to provide you with one, then you can’t get a replacement P45. If you are starting new employment, then there are other documents and information that you can give to your new employer instead.
What happens if I don’t have a P45?
If you are starting a job and don’t have a P45 to give to your new employer, you can complete a starter checklist (previously known as a P46). Your employer will provide you with everything you need to know about completing this form, but you can also read more about P46s here.
What is a P46?
If a new employee does not have a P45, they can instead provide a P46 (now know as a starter checklist). The employer should request this form as it serves a similar purpose to a P45.
The details needed to complete the P46 help the payroll team to put the employer on the correct tax code from as soon as they get their first pay.