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HMRC internal manual

PAYE Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

PAYE service trace and match employer / individual: trace and match: trace and match - individual

The entries you make on the Trace Individual screen to trace an individual will depend on the information you hold. You can enter

  • Postcode
  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • First forename
  • Second forename
  • Title
  • Address

As a minimum at least one of the following combinations must be entered but you can complete as many additional fields as you require

  • Postcode (valid Postcode format)
  • Town, street name, street type, and property number
  • Surname and date of birth
  • Town, street name, street type and surname
  • Address line 1 and address line 2
  • Postcode and surname

Note: An example of a street name would be High, Rose, Front and an example of a street type would be Street or St, Road or Rd, Lane or Ln.

If you only have partial information for the surname, first or second forename’s and postcode

  • An asterisk (*) can be substituted for one or more of the unknown characters

Note: The asterisk must follow immediately after the last character supplied - an asterisk cannot be the first character in a field - an asterisk cannot be used if you only have the postcode.

  • Always enter at least four letters if possible before the asterisk, although three may also produce a match. The system will search the index for all records where the name entered starts with those letters

Note: Not all the COP records at the time they were migrated to the PAYE Service held a forename and initial. For these cases ‘X’ will appear in both the forename and initial. If you come across any of these cases you should ensure you obtain the correct details and update the record.

If you have only a part of the address, for example the town, this can be entered in the first line of the address.

The British Forces Post Office (BFPO) numbers that form part of the armed forces posted overseas address should be entered in one of the address line fields not the postcode field.

The search will produce both National Insurance number and temporary reference number records.

Where no records are found a warning message will be displayed.

Where more than 50 records are found a warning message will be displayed advising you to refine your search.

If fewer than 50 records are found these will be displayed on the Trace Individual - Results screen. They will be displayed

  • In groups of 10

You can use the [Forward] and [Back] buttons to display the next 10 records

Should you wish to refine your search at any time you can

  • Select the [Refine Search] button

This will display

  • The Trace of Individual screen
  • The fields will be populated from your previous trace

The results will display the most up to date information held on the system and may not always appear to relate to the record you are trying to trace. To confirm you have traced the correct record

  • Select the View Record icon at the right hand side
  • You will be presented with the Confirm Individual’s Details screen

If you select the [Cancel] button

  • You will be returned to the Trace Individual - Results screen

If you have traced the correct individual you can

  • Select the [Submit] button

This takes you into the individual’s record

  • You are presented with the Individual Summary screen
  • You can use the [Forward] and [Back] buttons to display the next 10 records