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An Employer Reference Number (ERN), also known as a PAYE reference, is a unique reference number which identifies an employer and their PAYE scheme to HMRC.

Do I need an Employer Reference Number?

You’ll need to register if you take on staff for the first time and they’re paid more than the PAYE tax threshold, so that you can report their pay and any deductions you make. You won’t need to register if you don’t employ anyone, or if they’re paid less than the PAYE threshold.

Learn more about Setting Up Payroll if you’re just getting started.

How do I get an Employer Reference Number (ERN)?

HMRC will send you your Employer Reference Number (ERN) when you register as an employer for PAYE, along with your Accounts Office Reference Number.

What is an Accounts Office Reference Number (AORN)?

This 13 digit reference number will be shown as a series of letters and numbers, usually in the following format: 123PA12345678. You’ll need to use this reference when you make PAYE payments to HMRC as an employer.

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How do I check my Employer Reference Number?

Your ERN will be shown on any letters or emails between you and HMRC which relate to your registration as an employer. You might also see it called a PAYE reference number, because it’s used to identify you as an employer when processing payroll.

If you’re an employee then your employer’s PAYE number (or ERN as it might also be shown) might be included on your payslips, a P45, or a P60 from the employer it relates to. You can also ask your employer to provide this information to you.

Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses and employers. Call the team on 020 3355 4047, or get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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