How to register as an employer


You normally need to register as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) when you start employing staff, or using subcontractors for construction work.

You must register even if you’re only employing yourself, for example as the only director of a limited company.

You must register before the first payday. It can take up to 15 working days to get your employer PAYE reference number. You cannot register more than 2 months before you start paying people.

To pay an employee before you get your employer PAYE reference number, you should:

  1. Run payroll.
  2. Store your full payment submission.
  3. Send a late full payment submission to HMRC.

If you’re a limited company with 1 to 9 directors

Most limited companies can register online.

Start now

You can also continue an application if you’ve already started registering.

Other types of business

Find out how to register.


  • HMRC New Employer Helpline
    0300 200 3211