Guidance

Payrolling: tax employees' benefits and expenses through your payroll

How to report expenses and benefits you provide to employees or directors.

How to register for payrolling benefits and expenses

If you’re intending to payroll benefits and expenses, you must register them with HMRC using the payrolling employees taxable benefits and expenses service. You must do this before the start of the tax year.

Using the online service for payrolling benefits and expenses means that you will not have to submit a form P11D. You must tell HMRC which benefits you want to payroll during the registration process.

The tax codes for all employees receiving these benefits will be amended, unless you exclude any employees that you do not want to payroll benefits for in the online service.

If you miss the registration deadline, you cannot payroll benefits until the following tax year unless you have a valid reason, when HMRC may agree that you can informally payroll. You must still complete form P11D at the end of the tax year and mark each P11D ‘Payrolled’. This stops HMRC collecting tax that has already been deducted from your employees.

How to deregister from the online service

Your registration is ongoing so you only need to tell HMRC if you decide to deregister. Do this before the start of the tax year using the online service.

If the tax year has started when you change your mind, you must wait until the end of the tax year before you stop payrolling. You’ll still need to deduct tax each payday and report this deduction to HMRC.

Benefits you can payroll

You can payroll all benefits except:

  • employer provided living accommodation
  • interest free and low interest (beneficial) loans

You must still report these benefits on a P11D, even if you’re payrolling other benefits for the same employees.

If you choose to payroll company car benefits, you do not need to submit a form P46(Car) unless the car benefit is not being payrolled.

Tell your employees

Once you’ve registered to payroll benefits, you must give your employees a letter explaining that you’re payrolling and what it means for them. You must also give your employees the following information before 1 June after the end of each tax year:

  • details of the benefits you’ve payrolled, for example, car fuel
  • the cash equivalent of each benefit you’ve payrolled
  • the relevant amount you’ve payrolled for optional remuneration (OpRA)
  • details of benefits you have not payrolled

You can give this information on your employees’ payslips or in a separate note or statement. It should be clear to the employees:

  • what benefits have been subject to PAYE tax
  • how much of the value of each benefit you’ve collected and reported tax on

If your employees fill in a Self Assessment tax return they’ll need this information so they can tell HMRC.

New employees

If you’ve a new employee with payrolled benefits, you must tell them how the benefit will be taxed.

Tell the employee that:

  • their tax code may be amended to adjust any benefits from previous employments
  • the new benefit will not be included in their tax code
  • any underpaid tax they may be paying through their existing tax code will still be collected by their tax code

Class 1A National Insurance contributions

You’ll still need to work out the Class 1A National Insurance contributions on the cash equivalent (or relevant amount for OpRA) and fill in form P11D(b). The Class 1A National Insurance contributions liability applies if you’re payrolling the benefits or reporting to HMRC on form P11D.

You must keep a record of benefits you give throughout the tax year so that you can accurately report and submit your P11D(b) and the Class 1A National Insurance contributions payment. This must be done by 6 July after the end of the tax year.

Find more information on how to submit a P11D(b) in CWG5:Class 1A National Insurance contributions on benefits in kind.

Example: employer wants to payroll the health insurance benefit to their employees

They pay £600 per year, per employee for this. They tell their employees they’re going to payroll this benefit.

They register with the online service and select medical benefit as the benefit they want to payroll.

Their employees’ tax codes automatically change to take out the adjustment for this benefit - the employees are told by HMRC.

During the tax year, the employer works out the taxable amount of the benefit and adds this to the employees’ actual monthly pay.

The annual cost is divided by the number of paydays in the year, and the employees pay tax on this amount. This can be worked out as:

£600 ÷ 12 = £50 per month

How to work out the cash equivalent

You work out the cash equivalent of a benefit for payrolling in the same way as you do for a benefit that you report on a form P11D.

If you’re not sure what the value of the benefit is at the start of the tax year, you can make an estimate of the cash equivalent of the benefit. You can then adjust it later in the year when you know the exact value.

To work out the cash equivalent of the benefits you provide, you can use:

Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) (also known as Euro 6d) compliant diesel cars for tax year 2018 to 2019

If the diesel company car is RDE2 (also known as Euro 6d) compliant, you must use the appropriate percentage for ‘Fuel Type A – All other cars’ when you:

  • work out the cash equivalent for the car benefit and car fuel benefit charge
  • report RDE2 (also known as Euro 6d) compliant diesel company cars on forms P11D or P46 car

If you’re registered to payroll the car and car fuel benefit charge you should work out the cash equivalent using the appropriate percentage for ‘Fuel Type A’ and then:

  • enter this in Box 182 of the Full Payment Submission
  • enter ‘A’ in ‘Box 177’ of the Full Payment submission

Optional remuneration arrangements, also known as salary sacrifice

OpRAs are when an employee gives up the right to an amount of earnings (commonly called salary sacrifice) in return for a non-cash benefit.

From 6 April 2017, if you set up a new OpRA, you’ll need to work out the value of the non-cash benefit by using the higher of the:

The new rules do not apply to:

  • payments into pension schemes
  • employer provided pensions advice
  • childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries, and employer contracted childcare
  • cycle to work scheme
  • cars with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less

OpRAs set up before 6 April 2017

If you set up an OpRA with an employee before 6 April 2017, you can continue to calculate the value of the benefit as you did before.

Most arrangements will be subject to the new rules from 6 April 2018 unless they are varied, renewed or modified before that date.

Where the benefit is the provision of a car with emissions of more than 75g CO2/km, living accommodation or school fees the transitional rules apply for a longer period. The new rules will not apply until 6 April 2021.

Find more information about OpRA and salary sacrifice.

From 6 April 2018 onwards, PAYE legislation will allow employers to payroll relevant amounts under such arrangements.

Example: Peter starts a new job on 10 April 2018 and gives up part of his pay in return for medical benefit cover

The cost to the employer is £500 but the employer needs Peter to give up £600 salary in exchange for the benefit. The amount of £600 is the ‘amount foregone’.

Under the new rules, the higher of the cash equivalent or cash foregone is the relevant amount for PAYE tax deductions.

So in Peter’s case, the employer (having previously registered for payrolling) works out the PAYE tax deductions on £600 as the ‘taxable amount’ and submits these through Real Time Information (RTI).

The taxable amount must be included in:

  • the P60 at the year-end as part of the ‘total taxable pay in year’
  • any P45 in the ‘total taxable pay to date’ field

Pay periods used to payroll the taxable amount

To work out the taxable amount of the benefit that you payroll each pay day, you need to know the number of days you will pay your employees during the tax year. The number of paydays is determined by the interval between each pay day (the pay period). Most employees are paid weekly, calendar monthly or 4 weekly.

Example: employee has a company car with a cash equivalent of £5,200

Employee is paid weekly (52 pay days). The taxable amount of the benefit is £5,200 ÷ 52 = £100. Employer then adds £100 to employee’s taxable pay at each payday.

Employee is paid monthly (12 pay days). The taxable amount of the benefit is £5,200 ÷ 12 = £433.33. Employer then adds £433.33 to employee’s taxable pay at each payday.

Employee is paid 4 weekly (13 pay days). The taxable amount of the benefit is £5,200 ÷ 13 = £400. Employer then adds £400 to employee’s taxable pay at each payday.

Irregular pay periods

Irregular pay periods are payments of employment income which have no set pattern. To work out the taxable amount of the benefit, divide the cash equivalent by 365 then multiply by the number of days to the pay period date from the start of the tax year.

Example: employee provided with a car benefit cash equivalent of £5,200 for the tax year

The employee is paid on 31 May, which is 56 days into the tax year.

£5,200 ÷ 365 x 56 days = £797.80 amount to be added to the taxable pay in that period.

The next time you pay your employee, work out the period the benefit was provided from their last pay day, rather than from the start of the tax year.

How to deduct or repay tax

You add the taxable amount of the benefit to your employee’s pay to be able to deduct the correct amount of tax.

Example: employee earns £24,000 per year, is paid monthly and has a company car with a cash equivalent value of £5,200

Before payrolling employee’s monthly taxable pay is £2,000 (£24,000 ÷ 12 = £2,000).

The taxable amount of the car benefit at each pay day is £433.33 (£5,200 ÷12 = £433.33).

Employee’s total taxable pay when payrolling is £2,433.33 (£2,000 + £433.33 = £2,433.33).

Once the total pay and the taxable amount of the benefit is recorded on the payroll, PAYE tax should be worked out.

Employee pays towards the cost of a benefit

Employers may agree to employees making a payment towards the cost of a benefit, this is known as ‘making good’. When employees do this, the cash equivalent of the benefit is reduced.

If the full cost of the benefit is made good, there’s no taxable benefit as the employee has paid for it.

Any amounts made good after 6 July will not affect the cash equivalent, meaning the benefit will still be taxable and liable for National Insurance contributions and cannot be adjusted by the employer.

For benefits which are payrolled, the guidance below explains what to do in different circumstances.

Employee fails to make good a benefit by the final payday

Where the cost of a benefit is known, and the employee has not made good by the final payday, you must:

  • work out the taxable amount of the benefit still to be taxed
  • add the taxable amount to the employee’s final wage payment of the tax year
  • work out the tax to be deducted

You cannot deduct the full amount of tax from the final wage payment, if it exceeds 50% of their pay.

Making good: car and van private fuel benefit

You may have an agreement with your employee to make good the actual cost of private fuel to avoid a fuel benefit tax charge on a company car or van.

If you do not know how much fuel has been purchased by the end of the tax year because either:

  • you’re waiting for the bill for the fuel to be sent from the supplier
  • your employee is unable to calculate their private miles at 5 April

When you find out the actual cost of fuel for private mileage, your employee has until 1 June to make good all or part of that cost.

If your employee fails to do so, you must:

  • work out the fuel benefit charge
  • add the fuel benefit charge as a taxable amount to the next wages payment on or after 1 June
  • work out PAYE

If the benefit continues after the 1 June, you must:

  • recalculate car fuel or van fuel benefit for the current tax year
  • include it as a taxable amount of benefit each payday

This is to prevent this happening at the end of the next tax year.

Making good: credit tokens

You may have an agreement with your employee to use your business credit card, and to pay any private costs they incur using the card.

You might not know how much your employee spent on private goods and services using the credit card by the end of the tax year. For instance:

  • you’re waiting for the bill to be sent from the provider
  • your employee may not have details of the transaction

Once the amount is known, your employee has until 1 June to make good the actual cost of the benefit. If your employee does not make good on all or part of the cost by 1 June following the end of the tax year, you need to:

  • work out the amount of the benefit still to be taxed, taking into account any previous amounts made good
  • add the amount to the next payment of wages on or after 1 June
  • payroll the cost of any use of the credit card in year 2, without allowing the making good promise

Example:

An employee uses a company credit card for the tax year and the amount spent is £120. By prior agreement at the start of the tax year, the employee promises to and makes good £30. That means the taxable amount at the end of the year is £90.

The employee also agreed at the start of the tax year that the employer would tax £5 per month through payrolling in anticipation of a benefit. So £60 of the credit card bill was payrolled.

At the end of the tax year, the employer takes away the payrolled amount of £60 from the taxable amount of £90. This leaves an amount of £30 still to be taxed.

If the employee does not make good the amount of £30 by 1 June, then that’s added to the next payment of wages on or after 1 June.

If the employee uses the credit card to buy private goods and services in year 2, the whole amount will be taxed through payrolling in that year without taking into account any amounts made good. This prevents the employee from delaying payment of tax as happened in year 1.

You may need to recalculate the taxable amount.

Employee’s tax is more than 50% of their pay

Employers must not deduct more than 50% in tax from an employee’s pay. This is called the overriding limit and makes sure that employees are not left with too little pay to cover their living costs.

In some circumstances a high value benefit or expense, combined with low pay, could mean that the employee takes home little or nothing. This might be where an employee is being paid Statutory Sick Pay.

You’re allowed to stop payrolling benefits if necessary, where deducting the tax for the benefit means that the tax payable is more than 50% of the employee’s cash pay.

You have 2 options:

Option 1

You can remove the employee from payrolling using the online service. If you remove them for the rest of the tax year, the benefit they get will be added onto their tax code. Your employee should check that the amended code includes the right amount of benefit so that they’re not overpaying or underpaying tax.

You’ll need to send a P11D after the end of the tax year for the excluded employee. The amount on the P11D and any tax already paid through payrolling will be included in the employee’s tax calculation after the year end.

If you want to restart payrolling in the next tax year, you will have to wait until after you have sent your P11D, as it’s a trigger for amending tax codes. To restart payrolling, you can review the employee exclusion list and remove the employee.

Option 2

You can keep the employee in payrolling and carry forward the taxable amount of the benefit into future pay periods in that tax year.

Example:

An employee is paid £1,000 per month and their tax code is 1060L.

They have a car benefit which adds £4,000 to their taxable pay in September, meaning they have a taxable pay of £5,000 for September.

You use the tax tables to work out the tax due to deduct. Under tax code 1060L this is £1,116.25.

You can only deduct up to £500 in September (50% of their salary £1,000).

The uncollected tax of £616.25 is carried forward to the next payday.

The total taxable pay to date in October Full Payment Submission (FPS) includes the full benefit.

In October up to £500 tax can be collected and the remaining tax outstanding on the benefit and on October’s salary will carry forward to November payday.

If there are insufficient pay periods to recover the uncollected tax, then once the final FPS is made, any underpaid tax will be included in an end of year tax calculation and sent to the employee by HMRC.

Changes affecting benefits and expenses

If things change, such as an employee leaving or a company car change, you’ll need to recalculate the taxable amount to go through your payroll. Payrolling: changes affecting benefits and expenses has more information about these and other changes.

Published 5 February 2016
Last updated 6 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information for RDE2 (also known as Euro 6d) compliant diesel cars for tax year 2018 to 2019.
  2. The employee pays towards the cost of benefit section has been updated to remove the tax deadline date.
  3. A Welsh language version of the guidance has been added.
  4. First published.