Finding Your P45 After Leaving Your Job

Holding on to a piece of paper often results in its loss, especially after a long period of time. You might be about to start a new job after a period of unemployment. Perhaps you're about to leave a job and are already being asked for paperwork.

Worse, you may have given up on obtaining it, and it is something your previous employer never provided you with.

Unfortunately, this is quite common, so a guide on how to obtain a P45 from a previous employer is desperately needed. You should be aware that it is a legal requirement for your employer to provide you with a P45.

What exactly is a P45?

A P45 is an official HMRC form that aids in the determination of your tax code.

Employers complete this form and give it to employees when they leave their jobs. There is nothing the employee needs to do to initiate this process; it should be handled automatically by their employer.

A p45 contains vital information about yourself as well as your income for the previous tax year. It also specifies which tax code you are on, which is information your next boss will require. Being on the incorrect tax code when starting a new job can result in you having to pay emergency tax.

Also see: What is the difference between a P45 and a P60?

When Do You Receive a P45?

When employees leave their jobs, employers are required by law to provide P45s. According to the law, this must be done "without unreasonable delay."

The P45 should ideally be attached to your final pay stub. However, some employers will send you this after you have left.

When you leave a job for any reason, you will be given a P45. This includes retirement, quitting, being fired, and being made redundant. If you do not receive yours within a reasonable timeframe, you should take appropriate action.

For advice on what to do next, see our guide on what to do if an employer refuses to provide a P45.

How to Get a P45 if You've Lost Yours

You suddenly require that P45 and cannot for the life of you locate it. Is this something you've heard before?

When you can't find yours, it can be stressful. You may be starting a new job soon, which is stressful enough on its own. You don't want to be paying too much or too little tax.

Let's take a look at how to deal with a misplaced P45.

Is it possible to obtain a P45 from HMRC online?

You cannot download a P45 from HMRC online. Only your employer has access to the document.

If they fail to do so, you will be unable to find a replacement from anyone other than your former employer.

Inquire with Your Previous Employer

Your first point of contact should be your previous employer. If they never issued you a P45 in the first place, they did not fulfill their legal obligations to HMRC.

You should go up to them and ask for your form. Simply stating that you are legally entitled to receive this form may be enough to get the ball rolling.

Employers are not permitted to issue a new P45 if they produced a hard copy. P45s contain extremely sensitive information and should not be copied or altered in any way.

However, if you received an electronic copy via email, it may be worthwhile to search your email history. If this fails, you could request that your employer resend the original document.

If Your Employer Refuses to Provide You with a P45,

You're about to start a new job, but your former boss is dragging their feet on your P45 for whatever reason.

This can be stressful, but it occurs frequently. You may have left on bad terms, and the employer is still holding a grudge, or it may be at the bottom of their to-do list. In any case, being in this state of limbo is extremely frustrating.

You can approach them and request that it be mailed to you. As an alternative, you could contact the human resources department. If you don't get along with your boss, this is a good idea.

P46 HMRC Starter Checklist

If you cannot obtain a copy of your P45, you can instead complete an HMRC starter checklist.

This was previously known as a P46 and can be found on the HMRC website. This enables you to provide accurate information to your next employer. Hopefully, you will then be assigned to the correct tax code.

A P46 should be used if:

  • You're starting your first paid job.
  • You are transitioning from self-employment to employment.
  • You have been sent from abroad to work in the United Kingdom.
  • You have a student loan or a graduate loan.
  • Your P45 contains incorrect information.
  • You never got your P45.
  • You have misplaced your P45.
  • You've been out of work for a while.
  • There has been a job shortage.

How to Avoid Being Taxed for an Emergency Without a P45

The best way to avoid being placed on an emergency tax code is to complete the starter checklist.

You can fill out this form and give it to your new employer to process. This does not guarantee that you will be assigned to the correct tax code, but it is your best bet in the absence of a P45.

Make certain that you fill out the form completely and accurately. Also, make certain that it is delivered to your employer and processed.

Before filling it out, you'll need the following information:

  • Name, address, and zip code
  • Student loan payment type (if applicable)
  • In some cases, the passport number
  • If available, provide your National Insurance number.
  • Details of any income received after April 6th for the tax year
  • Details about any benefits you may be eligible for


Do you need a P45 to start a new job?

Ideally, you'll need your P45 to start a new job because it ensures you're on the correct tax code. Otherwise, you may end up paying too much or too little in taxes. However, there are some things you can do without a P45, such as the starter checklist.

Is it possible to access your P45 online?

Because the P45 is a sensitive document that can only be issued once, you cannot access it online. When you leave your job, your employer should give you this.

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