What is an employer’s PAYE ref number?

An employer PAYE reference is a unique combination of letters and numbers that HMRC assigns to a business when it registers as an employer. HMRC uses this reference to identify the business for employer PAYE purposes.

It is sometimes called an ‘Employer Reference Number’ (ERN), an ‘employer PAYE reference number’, a ‘Pay As You Earn reference number’, or a ‘PAYE reference’.

An employer PAYE reference consists of:

  • a three-digit tax office number
  • a forward slash (/)
  • a tax office employer reference, which is a combination of characters (letters and/or numbers) unique to the business

It’ll usually look something like 123/A45678 or 123/AB45678 (though there can be exceptions).

The three numbers in the first part of the reference (before the forward slash) identify the specific regional tax office that deals with the employer’s PAYE affairs.

The second part of the reference (after the forward slash) identifies the particular business/employer.

Where can I find my employers PAYE ref number?

There are several places you can find your tax reference number. These include:




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