registration, employer, PAYE, National Insurance, Lower Earnings Limit, employee benefits, Unique Taxpayer Reference, payroll, HMRC website registration, Employer Annual Return, P35, PAYE Online for employers, pub, staff, pub landlord advice

Employing Staff

Chances are that you will not be running your pub single-handed, you will be employing staff.

This guide explains when registration as an employer is necessary, and it takes you through the steps involved in registering with HM Revenue & Customs. My other guides will take you through Terms and Conditions, Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and Health and Safety etc.

When do you need to register as an employer

You don’t necessarily need to register as an employer once you take someone on. Check first that at least one of the following conditions applies to you. If any apply, then you need to register:

  • the employee already has another job
  • they are receiving a state or occupational pension
  • you’re paying them at or above the PAYE threshold
  • you’re paying them at or above the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit
  • you’re providing them with employee benefits

If you need to register you can do so up to four weeks in advance of your first pay day.

In order to register as an employer you will need to have the following information to hand.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires the following general information:

  • your name and address and contact telephone number
  • a contact email address if you’re registering by email
  • your National Insurance number
  • your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • the name of your business
  • the type of business you run
  • its trading address

HMRC will ask for the following information about your employees:

  • the date you took on (or will take on) your first employee
  • how many employees you will have
  • the date of your first pay day
  • how often you will pay your employees

They also need some details about your payroll:

  • the address from which your payroll is run
  • the name, address and contact telephone number of whoever looks after your payroll

If your business is structured as a partnership, HMRC requires:

  • the names and address of each business partner
  • their National Insurance numbers
  • their UTRs
  • your Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) number if your business is an LLP

If your business is a limited company, HMRC will ask for:

  • the company’s date of incorporation
  • its company registration number
  • the address of its registered office
  • the names, addresses and private telephone numbers of all company directors
  • the National Insurance numbers of all company directors
  • the UTRs of all company directors

Most employers can register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by telephone or internet. In most cases the easiest way to register as an employer is to use the HMRC website registration tool to generate an email giving HMRC all the information they need from you.

However, this tool won’t work if your business is in one of the following three categories, in which case you’ll have to register by telephone instead:

  • simplified PAYE schemes with more than ten employees
  • limited companies with more than nine directors
  • partnerships with more than ten partners

To register by telephone, contact the HMRC New Employer Helpline on Tel 0845 60 70 143. It’s open 08.00 to 20.00, Monday to Friday and 08.00 to 17.00 on Saturday and Sunday.

You can register as a new employer with HMRC by email by using the links on the HMRC website. (Thanks to Tom Keller for the updated link above).

Once you have registered as an employer, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with what’s involved in operating PAYE, and to understand which forms and returns you are required to file online (see the section below).

You’ll find all the guidance you need in the PAYE for employers area of the HMRC website – including links to relevant forms and time-saving calculators.

HMRC has stopped sending out New Employer Packs and Employer CD-ROMs and has replaced this with a wholly online service. They have also stopped sending out regular updates in paper form and replaced this with an email alert system.

To register for this service go to

One of your responsibilities as an employer will be to send PAYE forms to HMRC at various stages – such as when an employee joins or leaves your business, or at the end of the tax year when you’re required to submit an Employer Annual Return (P35 and P14s). Filing online is a fast, secure and convenient way of sending your forms to HMRC, and almost all employers are now required to file their Employer Annual Return online. To file online you must first register with HMRC’s ‘PAYE Online for employers’ service. You can register for PAYE Online as soon as you have registered as an employer.

Real Time Payroll (RTI)

HMRC have now rolled out ‘Real Time Payroll’, whereby all employers complete their payroll and pass the information about pay, tax, national insurance etc to HMRC before payments are made to employees.

Employers and pension providers will begin to use the RTI service in the period April 2013 to October 2013. All employers will be using the RTI service by October 2013.

See separate article on on Real Time Information Payroll by clicking here.

Top Tip – I recommend that you seek professional advice from your accountant with regards to these matters as this is a highly complex area of business and you can easily get things wrong at great expense to you and your business.

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