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Payroll Tip: Missing NI numbers

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HRD & Payroll Solutions continues to bring HR Zone members a range of HR and payroll tips in 2005. A market leader in the provision of HR and Payroll training and nationally recognised professional qualifications, HRD & Payroll Solutions are highly experienced in teaching about common HR and payroll problems. A wide selection of tips, tricks and guidance can be seen below. HRZone highly recommends that any tips are taken as a starting point for guidance only.



Question: How are HMRC forms completed if we do not have an NI number for an employee?

Payroll Tip: An employee’s NI number is used to identify an employee by HMRC for both tax and NICs purposes. Employers should, therefore, make every effort to obtain the number, using the HMRC’s tracing procedures if necessary. All forms and correspondence relating to individual employees should quote the employee’s NI number – it allows the employee’s contribution record to be maintained more accurately and allows HMRC to respond more promptly to queries.

If an employee’s NI number is not known, the employer should not create what used to be known as a “temporary NI number”. The format was generally the letters TN, followed by the employee’s date of birth, followed by the employee’s gender, M or F, for example, TN310855M. Temporary numbers are not acceptable to HMRC and should not be used on any documents. In particular, if they are entered on an employee’s P14 End of Year Summary, the form may be rejected and, in the case of P14s filed electronically, the whole batch of P14s may be rejected.

Some payroll systems still generate temporary numbers even though they do not print them onto P14s. Care should be taken to ensure that the existence of a temporary number does not prompt anyone to write it on a form being sent to HMRC.

In the absence of an employee’s NI number, HMRC’s instructions for completing standard forms that are completed by hand or printed out by computer are as follows:

  • forms P14 and P38S: leave the box blank, but ensure the employee’s date of birth is shown

  • form P38A: enter the words “Not Known”

  • forms P11D, P9D and P46(Car): leave the box blank

  • forms P45 and P46: leave the box blank.

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Annie Hayes

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