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Fraud potential of new plain paper P45s

HMRC’s new look P45s, introduced to accompany the shift to online filing that begins in April, could increase the potential for fraud.

The new forms P45 are A4 sized, and come in the same four parts, but also include fields for the employee’s date of birth and gender.

The new forms and data fields will have to be completed from 6 April (though employers who employ fewer than 50 people may still submit old-style paper P45s that are given to them by new employees).

Pre-printed P45s can be ordered from HMRC’s Employer Orderline. However, employers will have the ability to print copies on plain white paper (from HMRC Online or payroll software). This has raised concerns that the forms may be confused with photocopies.

HMRC has not publicised the arrival of plain paper, black-and-white P45 printouts. On this basis payroll officers may not be aware of the changes and so may be reluctant to accept them.

However, once the initial confusion is over there is a concern that the new forms may be open to manipulation. In theory, P45s could be mocked up in Word and printed out with a high previous tax paid figure. The fraudster could then obtain a false tax rebate.

You should be aware that it is the employer’s responsibility to check the tax figures are correct. If the numbers do look odd you should verify that the tax and NIC paid are correct before you start paying out any rebates.



Date: 1st April, 2009
Author: Cathy Corns


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