What is an HMRC starter checklist?

We cover everything you need to know about starter checklists from HMRC, including what they are and why they’re needed.

Lightbulb in the sky shows how a business idea is launched

What is a starter checklist?

A starter checklist is an HMRC form completed by a new employee at a company if they don’t have a P45.

As an employer, a starter checklist gives you the details you need to set up a new employee on the payroll system and assign the correct tax code for tax and National Insurance deductions. It used to be known as a P46 form.

Is a starter checklist the same as a P46?

Although the term P46 is sometimes still used, the starter checklist officially replaced the P46 in 2013. The completed P46 form had to be submitted to HMRC, but the starter checklist does not need to be.

Who fills out a starter checklist?

Your new employee may fill out a starter checklist when they start a new job with you if:

  • they don’t have a P45 to give to you (this may be because it’s their first job or they’re starting a new job without leaving a previous one)
  • their personal details are different to those on their P45
  • they have been sent to work temporarily in the UK by an overseas employer

Where to get a starter checklist

The starter checklist can be found on HMRC’s website. Your new employees can complete it online and then either email to you or print it out and hand you the physical copy.

How to fill in a starter checklist

Your employee will need the following information when filling in a starter checklist:

  • personal details, including their name, full address and date of birth
  • their National Insurance number
  • start date
  • details of any student loans or postgraduate loans
  • previous tax code information
  • passport number (if they are sent to work temporarily in the UK by an overseas employee)
  • details of any income received in the current tax year from another job, a pension or from Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit

Starter checklist statements explained

When completing the starter checklist, your new employee will choose from three different statements — A, B or C – depending which best applies to their situation. These are explored in more detail below.

As an employer, you use the statement selected to determine which tax code to assign to the employee. It’s important that the employee selects the correct statement, because picking the wrong one could mean that they end up paying too much or too little tax.

Statement A

Statement A applies if it is your new employee’s first job in the current tax year (since 6 April) and they’ve not been receiving taxable Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, taxable Incapacity Benefit, state pension or occupational pension.

Statement B

Statement B applies if this is now your new employee’s only job, but they’ve had another job since 6 April and don't have a P45. It also applies if they’ve received taxable Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or taxable Incapacity Benefit since 6 April.

Statement C

Statement C applies if they have another job, and/or receive a state, works or private pension.

What does a starter checklist look like?

This is what a starter checklist looks like:

HMRC document known as the starter checklist shown emerging from a plain blue background

Is a starter checklist mandatory?

If your new employee doesn’t have a recent P45 then they must complete a starter checklist. This will allow you, as their employer, to add them to the payroll and determine the correct tax code.

Does an employee need a starter checklist if they have a P45?

If your new employee has a P45 from a previous job, they won't need to complete a starter checklist. An exception to this is if they left their last job before the start of the previous tax year.

When to submit a starter checklist

Your new employee should give you their completed starter checklist when they start their job. As an employer, you need the information before their first payday to set them up on the payroll software with the correct tax code.

How to submit a starter checklist

Once your new employee has completed a starter checklist, they should give it to you, their employer, by email, post, or in person. The starter checklist doesn’t need to be submitted to HMRC by you as it will just be used internally for payroll setup.

Manage your payroll with ease

If you’re an employer, Xero’s payroll software makes it easy to manage your payroll, reducing admin and saving time. You can pay employees in just a few clicks, manage workplace pensions and make sure you stay HMRC complaint. The employee self-service feature even lets staff view payslips or request annual leave.


Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

Start using Xero for free

Access Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.

  • Included
    Safe and secure
  • Included
    Cancel any time
  • Included
    24/7 online support