A Pay as You Earn (PAYE) number is a unique code given to employers to identify tax records with HMRC. Your tax reference number is used to contact HMRC about tax, and consists of three numbers followed by several numbers or letters in combination.  

The typical employer PAYE reference number consists of three parts: 

  • a three-digit HMRC office number 
  • A forward slash (/) 
  • a reference number unique to your business 

It will usually be something along the lines of 123/A56789 or 123/AB56789, but there are some exceptions. For full UK Government information on PAYE, click here.

Where can I find my PAYE number? 

Your tax reference number is typically shown on a pay slip, and is also found on your P60 – the document which employers give to each employee at the end of the tax year. The P60 shows the total earnings during the tax year as well as the amount of income tax and National Insurance paid during that period.  

You can also find your tax reference number in the following places:  

  • a payslip from your employer 
  • your P45 if you stop working for them 

When will I need to use it? 

You’ll use your employer PAYE reference for such tasks as: 

  • Setting up your payroll software 
  • Completing your end of year PAYE reports 
  • Issuing payslips to employees 
  • Buying employer’s liability insurance 
  • Adding your PAYE scheme to an apprenticeship service account 
  • Setting up a workplace pension scheme 
  • Contacting HMRC’S Employer Helpline about any PAYE matters 


Are Unique Taxpayer Reference and PAYE number the same thing?  

No, the two should not be mistaken for each other. The key difference is that the UTR is identifying an individual, whereas the PAYE number is identifying an employer and its payroll scheme.  

HMRC will provide a UTR number if you register for Self Assessment, and this 10-digit number is sent via post and displayed on your Self Assessment paperwork. 

There are also other identification numbers to be aware of; a Company Tax Reference number refers to limited companies, an Accounts Office Reference Number is seen when paying your PAYE deductions. 


How we can help  

At Lee Coombes Accountancy, we can help with a wide variety of taxation services, including personal tax, limited company accounts, VAT and more.  

Contact us on 01792 346272, or email info@leecoombesaccountancy.co.uk for tax advice, guidance and planning help.