HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needs to know your employee’s National Insurance number so that their National Insurance account can be kept up to date and their entitlement to state benefits like the State Pension can be protected.
National Insurance numbers consist of two letters, followed by six numbers, followed by one letter, A, B, C or D. No other format is acceptable. It will look something like this: QQ123456A. (This is an example only and should not be used where an employee does not provide their National Insurance number.)
You can carry on paying an employee even if you haven’t got their National Insurance number – but you must keep a record of their name, address, date of birth and gender. The guidance below tells you what to do next.
Employee has never had a National Insurance number
If your employee has never had a National Insurance number they must contact their Jobcentre Plus office on Tel 0845 600 0643 to arrange an interview to obtain one. If you’re based in Northern Ireland they need to contact their local Social Security or Job Benefits office.
P46 and no National Insurance number
If your employee has previously had a National Insurance number but doesn’t know what it is and you’re sending a P46 to your Tax Office, they’ll automatically trace the
number and let you know what it is.
P45 and no National Insurance number
If the P45 doesn’t show the National Insurance number, ask your employee to look on any other documentation they have, for example, their plastic National Insurance number card (RD3) or a form P60 from their previous employer.
If you can’t obtain your employee’s National Insurance number you’ll need to use the National Insurance number tracing service.
Using the National Insurance number tracing service
To use the National Insurance number tracing service you can either fill in form CA6855 ‘Employee’s National Insurance number trace’ or complete your own schedule. You then send the details to the National Insurance Contributions Office (contact details below).
You can either download a copy of form CA6855 below or print it from the Employer CD-ROM or order it through the Employer Orderline.
If completing your own schedule please set out the information in the following order:
- employee’s title
- first name(s)
- date of birth
- works/payroll number
- date employment started
- date employment ended (if applicable)
- employer’s PAYE reference
If you want HMRC to send the information to your company agent, please make sure form 64-8 (Authorising your agent) has been completed.
National Insurance Contributions Office contact details