What is PAYE?

Definition of PAYE

PAYE is short for Pay As You Earn. It's not a tax in its own right, it's a system that HMRC use to collect income tax.

The PAYE system is used to collect tax from certain sources of income, such as wages, and private pensions.

Most UK taxpayers are entitled to receive a certain amount of income tax-free each year. This is called the Personal Allowance. If your income is over a certain level, your Personal Allowance is reduced proportionately. HMRC will take your Personal Allowance into account when they work out how much of your income to tax.

How PAYE works:

If your only income is a salary of £26,000 a year, and you are entitled to a Personal Allowance of £12,570, then HMRC will collect tax on the remaining £13,430 of your salary under the PAYE system.

Your employer must deduct this tax from your monthly wages and pay it over to HMRC.

At the same time your employer must also deduct employee's National Insurance from your wages and pay that over to HMRC too.

Submitting PAYE to HMRC

You can run your monthly payroll through FreeAgent's online accounting software and file your PAYE and NI to HMRC in real time.

Disclaimer: The content included in this glossary is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this glossary. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.

Bookkeeping and tax tips

If you check this box, we’ll send you business tips tailored for landlords. If you’d like more general small business tips, leave it unchecked.

We are committed to keeping your information safe. Read our Privacy Policy to find out more.

Are you an accountant or bookkeeper?

Find out more about FreeAgent for your practice.