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Payroll year end checklist: Here’s what your business needs to do

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Payroll year end is around the corner.

Ideally, it should be just a standard month-12 or week-52 payroll with some extra steps added in to close the year.

But it’s important to know what you need to get right. In this article, we help you get prepped and ready for payroll year end.

Here’s what we cover:

Payroll year end things to do

Step 1: Check when your payroll ends

Step 2: Check for leavers or new starters

Step 3: Send your final FPS of the year

Step 4: Process your year end

Step 5: Get your P60s ready

Step 6: Check the P9X and start your new payroll year

Payroll year end dates to be aware of

Final thoughts on payroll year end

The key thing to remember is that your final reports to HMRC for the 2021/22 tax year must be submitted by no later than 19 April 2022.

Next, you need to prepare for the new tax year and make sure you provide your employees with their P60s by no later than 31 May 2022.

To help you with payroll year end, here’s everything you need to do, complete with key dates for your diary, so you can tick off what’s required and stay on top of your payroll.

Julie Northover supplies expert advice throughout. One of the UK’s foremost payroll consultants and trainers, Julie is a payroll specialist at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), and also runs her own payroll bureau for small and elite clients.

In some circumstances, your payroll might not end on week 52, and instead you may need to complete an additional payroll. This will mean your payroll ends on week 53, or possibly week 54 or 56.

This happens if two things are true:

  1. You process payrolls weekly, two-weekly, or four-weekly (monthly payrolls are excluded).
  2. Your usual payroll date falls on 5 April in any year (or 4 April if it’s a leap year—2024, 2028, and so on).

Notably, payrolls that run monthly always only ever have 12 months. That means there’s never a month 13, and you can skip this section and run payroll as usual. And if your payroll is run after 5 April then, again, you can skip ahead.

“In April 2022, the 5 April falls on a Tuesday,” says Julie. “Because it’s rare for any weekly, fortnightly or four-weekly payroll to pay out on a Tuesday, it’s unlikely there will be a week 53 for most payrolls this time.

“You may be processing on this day but it’s likely your pay day is set later in the week.

“You need to remember the potential of a week 53 for when it does happen, so you don’t get caught out.”

If the payroll falls on 5 April, then your payroll ends as follows depending on whether you pay weekly, two-weekly, or four-weekly:

  • Weekly payroll falling on 5 April: A week 53 payroll (5 April to 11 April)
  • Two-weekly payroll falling on 5 April: A week 54 payroll (5 April to 18 April)
  • Four-weekly payroll falling on 5 April: A week 56 payroll (5 April to 2 May)

If affected by this, you need to switch employees to a week one tax code for the extra payroll.

Most payroll software will do this automatically, but you should check. If the tax code status is not amended to a week one basis, it would mean most employees will pay too much tax.

Once the new payroll year begins you should adjust the tax code again for the new tax year according to the P9X (see Step 6, below).

If employees have left your business during the past year, or there have been new starters, now’s the time to check to ensure they’ve been processed. This might mean talking with managers and making sure clear lines of communication are open.

“Year end is a final sweep to ensure nobody has been missed,” says Julie. “It’s a time to make absolutely sure you’ve covered everything.

“Most people are very disciplined and if they take care of things like this at the end of each pay period then everything should be in order.”

It’s important that you do this before submitting your final Full Payment Submission (FPS) or Employer Payment Summary (EPS).

“Once you move into the new payroll year, it’s not always easy to go back and fix details like this,” she adds.

So, you’ve worked out whether you have a week 53 (or 54/56), processed the final payroll of the tax year and have made any relevant employees’ leavers. Now you can send your final FPS and, if required, EPS.

The deadline for this is 19 April.

There’s no difference to the FPS and EPS in the final pay period. Submit them as normal, then you can then proceed with the payroll year end process.

Avoiding errors that require retrospective adjustments is key. Adjustments required after 19 April will involve submitting additional FPSs or EPSs.

Before 2020/21, retrospective adjustments were done via an Earlier Year Update (EYU) but this is no longer used.

“There is a process for communicating with HMRC about anything that’s not correct,” says Julie. “But it’s an admin burden that payrollers like to avoid where possible.

“It’s an unwritten rule among the payroll profession that we will do everything we can to avoid the necessity for retrospective adjustments after the tax year end is complete.”

Using your payroll software, make sure you check your processing date. This needs to be set for 5 April.

Now you can process your year end and make your final submission for the 2020/21 tax year.

Once this step is complete, you can produce your P60s. Remember, your employees need to receive them by 31 May.

And that’s it, you’ve completed the payroll year end process for another year. Put your feet up for five minutes—then get ready to start processing payroll for the new tax year.

All your employees who are working on the final day of the tax year, on 5 April, need to receive a P60 from you by 31 May.

This includes deemed employees who are now on your payroll because of the Intermediaries Legislation (IR35).

This important document summarises their pay and deductions for the year, and is perhaps the final task to complete following year end.

Using your payroll software, you can generate your P60s and securely share them online with your employees, usually in the same way you share payslips. There’s also the option to print them off if you need to.

You might be tempted to run the P60 creation as soon as possible, but it certainly shouldn’t be done before the final payslip has been issued, plus the usual time required for feedback from employees about any errors.

“You send payslips out 12 months of the year, if you’re running a monthly payroll,” adds Julie.

“And then once a year you send another document, the P60, which is just summarising those 12 payslips.

“So, if you’ve not had and pay or reconciliation issues with the 12 payslips, you shouldn’t have an issue with the P60.”

“There are two processes that payroll professionals often see as one,” says Julie. “They are closing one tax year off and opening up the next.

“The new year checklist is bigger than the year end checklist nowadays.

“So, as soon as you close off and before you start your month one (or week one) payroll, you need to refer to the P9X.”

The P9X is the document published by HMRC that explains what tax codes employers must change or carry forward on 6 April.

For 2021/22 the advice was to add 7 to tax codes ending in L, add 8 to tax codes beginning in M, and add 6 to tax codes ending in N.

However, things are a little unusual from now until April 2026, because the government announced in the Spring Budget 2021 that the personal allowance, and some tax thresholds have been frozen.

For National Insurance, thresholds, only the Upper Earnings threshold is frozen.

Therefore, it’s not yet clear what guidance the 2022/23 P9X will give, although announcements have been made about the National Insurance rates and thresholds for 2022-23.

“The advice on the P9X might be to add plus zero,” adds Julie. “I don’t know whether it will say that, or whether it’ll just say, ‘Don’t add anything.’

“Until we see it, we won’t know. The net result will be the same: no increase to our personal allowance.”

Software vendor support documentation also summarises this information, so that could be another port of call before the first pay run of the year.

However, the government web pages should be considered the primary source of any information.

Other work for the new payroll year involves checking other thresholds such as for student loans and postgraduate loans.

“These will probably be hard coded into the yearly updates from your software vendor,” says Julie.

“But you should not sit on your laurels and assume everything’s correct. You need to check to ensure everything is accurate.”

There are some things that must be done manually by the payroll team:

  • If somebody has deferred National Insurance, their CA2700 certificates are only valid for one tax year so renewed certificates are required before you can process pay for the new tax year using the deferred National Insurance contributions (NICs) insurance category letter.
  • Those receiving childcare vouchers should be reviewed to ensure they do not need an amendment to the value they are eligible to receive. As part of the PAYE process, HMRC requires you to complete a Basic Earnings Assessment (BEA) prior to each first pay period in a new tax year for anyone who has been in receipt of childcare vouchers since 6 April 2011.

Some of the key dates around payroll year end have been highlighted above but here they are again along with some other payroll dates that you need to be aware of.

It’s worth adding these to your calendar if you haven’t got them in there already:

5 April

  • The 2021/22 tax year ends on this date

Before 6 April

  • Update your employee payroll records
  • Time to update your payroll software

6 April

  • The new tax year (2022/23) begins

19 April

  • This is the deadline for the final submission of the 2021/22 tax year

22 April

  • This is the deadline for month 12 PAYE

By 31 May

  • Your employees need to receive their P60s by this date

By 6 July

  • You need to report on expenses and benefits; you may be able to use your payroll software to do this

6 July

  • This is the deadline to submit your P11D and P11D(b) forms

22 July

  • On this date, payment of class 1A National Insurance contributions on Benefits in Kind must be with HMRC (note that 19 July is the deadline if not using digital systems).

See? Payroll year end doesn’t need to be stressful.

With a bit of forward planning, you can get your processing done with ease before you put preparations in place for the new tax year.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for relevance.

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Comments (59)

  • I have completed my year end and there was a message at the end telling me to install updates after completion and before processing month 1, how do I do this as I can not find any way, I thought we had an email sent from Sage during the year end time with a link to install ?

  • 1. An employee who left 2 weeks into the tax year 2020/2021, he left on 17 April 2020. He appeared on my list of employees when I was processing the year end for 2020/2021, but when it went to print the P60’s his was not printed. I realise perhaps by issuing him with a P45 all the information was on that, but I thought it is a legal requirement for him to have a P60 even if it was for 2 weeks worked in the tax year 2020. Please can someone advise if I need to re-run the payroll as perhaps there is an error somewhere.

    2. In all the sage payroll videos for 2021 it does not now show you to back up to archive as it did in previous years and it is only after I completed the 2020/2021 year end I realised that whilst I just backed up in the Sage year end as one does normally when doing a payroll it did not seem to recommend to archive it. Can I go back in and archive it to my hard drive or after it has processed is that now not possible.
    Many thanks.

  • It really is so easy to complete the year end process for payroll and your instructions are very easy to follow so thank you. I do have one question and that is, do we have to print off any reports as part of the year end process?

  • Are the tax code changing from April 2021

  • my month 12 payroll was a run on 25th March and I submitted an FPS as per normal. Do I need to do another one before the 19th April?

  • Please advise. we pay everyone monthly so I ran the payroll at the end of March and submitted it to HMRC as normal. do I still have to submit to HMRC before 19th April if I did it end of March?
    One chap left us on 5th April 2021 but hasnt been paid yet-due end of April for his last wages from us for the few days in April. Does this make a difference please?

  • My Month 12 payroll was up to 26.03.2021 but I have leavers between this date and the 05.04.2021.

    Do I process them as a leaver after running year end? I can’t work out how to do their final pay without going into the next payroll year.

    Thanks
    Rebecca

  • Can you do new tax code changes for 2021/2022 before payroll year end?
    Also, do you remove all week 1 / month 1 from all employees that have for the new tax year?

  • Hi

    Cam you please confirm the changes I need to include to the new tax year 2021/22 after completing the year end 2020/21?

    For example the “Global changes” on the tax code for wk1 basis?

    Kind regards

    Osman
    Chartwell Press

  • My Month 12 payroll was up to 25.03.2021 but I have leavers between this date and the 05.04.2021.

    What date would I process the leavers?
    Thank you Sam