Full Payment Submission: what is FPS payroll?

Successfully running a payroll system is an essential part of being an employer – and that includes ensuring your HMRC obligations are fulfilled.

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Submitting a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC is one of the most important obligations for a PAYE payroll system. This involves telling HMRC about payments made to your employees and what deductions you’ve made to their pay.

This guide will explore everything you need to know about an FPS payroll, including what it is, the information you need to complete it and how this is submitted to HMRC.

What is an FPS?

A Full Payment Submission – or FPS – is a monthly report every employer must send to HMRC detailing payments made to employees and any deductions made. 

If you run a PAYE payroll, the FPS must include every employee on this payroll, including those who earn less than £120 per week or are short-term employees. This allows HMRC to keep up to date with your payroll and your employees’ details and tax and National Insurance contributions.

What goes on an FPS?

Let’s breakdown exactly when you need to put on your FPS, including details of both the employer and employee information required.

Employee personal information: In your FPS submission, you must note the employees’ full name, date of birth, address, gender, National Insurance number, tax code and payroll ID.

Employee pay and deductions: An FPS must include details of an employee’s salary, taxable pay, National Insurance contribution, student loan repayments, and actual pay after deductions. You must also include additional information like pay dates, the frequency of pay and the tax month number.

Employer information: In addition to employee information, you must include details about your own operation in an FPS too. This includes your employer PAYE and Accounts Office references, HMRC office number and the tax year of when you’re making the report. 

An FPS will additionally include information of new employees joining the company, when employees leave and if you start paying someone a workplace pension. 

If applicable to your business, an FPS also needs to include your:

  • Employer Contracted Out Number (ECON) 
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) for Self Assessment if you are a sole trader
  • Partnership UTR if you are a partnership
  • Corporation Tax reference if you are a limited company.

Other rarer instances that must be included on an FPS submission include an employee becoming a director, reaching state pension age, turning 16 years old, changing gender, going on jury service or going to work abroad.

You can also split your FPS into different batches if it’s easier for you – for instance, one can complete one FPS submission for employees and a separate one for directors.

You can find a full list of every section featured on an FPS form on the HMRC website.

When should I submit an FPS?

An FPS must be submitted every time you pay employees as it is one of your Real-Time Information (RTI) obligations as an employer. 

You should submit the FPS on or before the date you pay your employees – if you submit the FPS after the payment date, you may have to pay a late fee. 

Employers with up to nine employees are charged a monthly penalty of £100, those with 10-49 employees are charged £200, and so on. This penalty also accrues daily interest if it’s not paid on time.

To avoid this, it’s best to submit your FPS a few days early if possible, just in case something crops up that limits your time.

Here are some important dates to remember:

  • UK tax months run from the 6th of the month to the 5th of the following month. Remember, you must submit the FPS via your HMRC account on or before your normal pay date. 
  • After making your submission, you can log in and see how much you as an employer owe in tax and National Insurance on the 10th of the next month.
  • Make a note in your diary to pay this balance before the 22nd of the month via your HMRC online portal. 
  • If you prefer, you can pay the balance via post – this should be done by the 19th of the month.

If you need to make an extra payment to your employee, you can send an additional FPS after payday. If you use payroll software and it allows you to do so, the extra FPS needs to be sent before your next regular report.

How do I send an FPS?

It’s important to choose an FPS submission method that works best for your business and also one suited to your operation size. The main three options are:

  1. Via a payment software: Payroll software that is compatible with HMRC’s RTI system can generate and submit an FPS form electronically. This is the most common method businesses use to submit their FPS.
  2. HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools (BPT): Small businesses with up to nine employees can use this tool to submit their FPS form online.
  3. Through an agent or payroll company: Employers can outsource support for submitting the FPS form to a qualified third party, who will complete and send it on their behalf.

Remember to double-check the information inputted on your FPS submission before sending it to HMRC to avoid making a mistake and having to redo it.

Are there any exceptions on when to submit an FPS?

There are a handful of scenarios where an employer can send an FPS after paying employees. These include when:

  • An employee hasn’t provided a P45 form and is either paid less than £123 a week or has worked with you for less than a week. An FPS must be submitted within seven days of the employee being paid.
  • Your employees’ payday is on a non-banking day like a weekend or bank holiday. The FPS should be submitted the next banking day.
  • You make an ad hoc payment outside of your regular payroll – like when you are told about a new starter or a missed overtime payment after sending the FPS. Here, this can be included in your next regular FPS or an additional FPS.
What about pay your staff early at Christmas?

Some employers choose to pay their staff early at Christmas. In this instance, you must still report the normal payment date on the FPS. 

For example, if you pay your employees on December 20th but the normal pay date at your business is December 30th, you need to set the payment date as December 30th on your FPS – and you would need to make your submission on or before this date. 

This is important because it protects your employee’s eligibility for Universal Credit – did you know reporting too early could affect further employee entitlements?

For more situations where late FPS submission is permitted without penalty, visit the HMRC website.

How can I view my FPS submissions?

If you sent your FPS submission in the same tax month as you paid your employees, you will be able to view the report in your HMRC online account from the 10th of the next tax month.

However, this is different if you submitted your FPS late. If submitted in the tax month after payday, these dates will change to the below.

  • If submitted between the 6th and 11th: your HMRC online account will update by the 14th.
  • If submitted between the 12th and 19th: your HMRC online account will update within two days.
  • When submitted on or after the 20th and you did not send a FPS the previous tax month: your HMRC online account will update within two days.
  • When submitted on or after the 20th and you sent a FPS the previous tax month: your HMRC online account will update by the 10th of the next tax month.

Final thoughts

HMRC obligations like FPS can seem like a lot of work – they can be time-intensive and a little tricky. However, as an employer, it is important to wrap your head around payroll processes that will eventually become instinctive over time. Read more about how to pay your employees and find the right payroll provider for your needs.

Mid shot of Kirstie Pickering freelance journalist.
Kirstie Pickering - business journalist

Kirstie is a freelance journalist writing in the tech, startup and business spaces for publications including Sifted, TNW, UKTN, The Business Magazine and Maddyness UK. She also works closely with agencies such as CEW Communications to develop content for their startup and scaleup clients.

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