HMRC is urging employers and agents to check their payment references

14 April 2022

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging employers and agents to ensure they are using the correct referencing when paying. In a letter to customers and agents they have provided details on how to do this correctly.

If the payment is for the current period, only the Accounts Office reference is needed. This is the 13-character reference that can be found:

•    On the HMRC letter sent when first registered as an employer
•    On the front of the payment booklet
•    On the letter HMRC sent when replacing a booklet
•    On the Business Tax Account.

If the payment is not for the current period, 4 additional characters are needed on the reference. The 17-character comprises of the accounts office reference (13) the tax year end (2) and the period (2).

Characters 14 and 15, for example, would be 22 for tax year 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022, or 23 for tax year 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023.

For monthly payment use the following 2 digits for each period:

•    6 April to 5 May, use '01' 
•    6 May to 5 June, use '02' 
•    6 June to 5 July, use '03' 
•    6 July to 5 August, use '04'
•    And so on.

For quarterly payments:

•    6 April to 5 July, use '03' 
•    6 July to 5 October, use '06' 
•    6 October to 5 January, use '09' 
•    6 January to 5 April, use '12'

For yearly payments use 01.

Each tax period requires a different payment reference number, so it is essential that separate payments are made for each period. Errors can lead to penalties and charges being issued, even when paid on time, and would require a call to HMRC to correct.

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