How to create a payroll profile

This article explains how to create a payroll profile for an employee when setting up payroll in FreeAgent or adding a new employee to payroll.

Please note that FreeAgent's payroll functionality won't be available if you have an unincorporated landlord or non-UK account type, or if you're preparing your accounts using cash basis accounting.

When you’re setting up payroll in FreeAgent, you need to create a payroll profile for each employee that will be included on your payroll, as FreeAgent uses the information here to calculate the Tax and National Insurance for each employee. You’ll also need to create a payroll profile if you want to add a new employee to your existing payroll at a later date to avoid any duplicate information being sent to HMRC.  

Please note that you will need full (level 8) access to FreeAgent in order to create a payroll profile.

Before you start

Before you can create a payroll profile for an employee, you will need to add the employee as a user to your FreeAgent account.

Adding a new payroll profile

You will create your first payroll profile when you set up payroll in FreeAgent. To add further payroll profiles, navigate to the ‘My Money’ tab at the top of the screen and select ‘Payroll’ from the drop-down menu. Select ‘Add an Employee’ from the right-hand side of the ‘Employees’ section and select the employee’s name from the drop-down menu.


Completing a payroll profile

Payroll profiles contain information that’s required to file your payroll online with HMRC, including details of an individual's monthly pay, deductions, pension contributions and starting/leaving dates.

Some information will be filled in by FreeAgent automatically, based on the information that you provided in the employee's user profile, but you will need to complete the remaining sections as outlined below to create a payroll profile for the employee. 

Please note that each employee should have their own payroll profile. A profile for one employee should never be updated and used to enter the details for another employee.

Employee Details

Enter the employee’s personal details here. If the employee doesn't have a National Insurance (NI) number, please see this article


You only need to enter a passport number if you've collected this as part of any checks you've made as to whether the employee is entitled to work in the UK, otherwise you can leave this field blank.


Tick the ‘Enable payslip notifications’ checkbox if you want the employee to receive an email notification when their payslips are ready to be viewed in FreeAgent.

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The email address will be automatically populated from the employee’s user profile.

Please note that if you change the email address, it will update the email address that they use to log into FreeAgent in their user profile.

Employment Details

Select whether this employee is ‘An existing employee’ ( if it's a new tax year and the employee was paid the previous year in this employment, or the payroll was previously run outside of FreeAgent in the current tax year and is now going to be filed via FreeAgent) or ’A new employee’ (if the employee is new to the business). The remaining fields which you’re required to complete will change depending on which option you choose. If you’re creating a payroll profile for an existing employee, please see this article.


Starting declaration

For a new employee, enter a start date and select from the HMRC ‘Starting declaration’ options which provide information about any other work the employee has undertaken or benefits they have received during the current tax year. This information about a new employee will be sent to HMRC as part of your next RTI submission after you create their payroll profile.

If 'B' is selected, you'll need to enter their pay in previous employment in the 'Tax & NI' section.


Then choose a National Insurance contribution basis from the 'NICs calculated as' options. If the individual is an employee, select the ‘Employee’ option. However, if the individual is a director of the company, select from either the ‘Director’ or ‘Director (alternative arrangements)’ options. For more information on selecting the National Insurance contribution method for a director, please see this article.

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Select an option from ‘Normal Weekly Hours’ to indicate how many hours per week the employee will work for the business and whether or not they are paid hourly. FreeAgent will then display the hours worked on the monthly payslips. You can select whether or not they are paid irregularly and also add an optional unique employee ‘Payroll ID’ number if you'd like HMRC to reference the number in any correspondence with you. The payroll ID must be unique and if, at any point, you re-employ someone HMRC requires you to use a different ID.

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Tax & NI

Here you'll enter details such as tax code, National Insurance letter, pay in previous employment (if applicable) and student loan deductions.

Tax code

Next, enter a tax code. You should have received this from HMRC or you will find it on a new employee's P45. If your employee doesn’t have a P45, find out how to add a new employee with no P45 to payroll.

Tax codes should only be changed on receipt of a coding notice from HMRC. FreeAgent can handle BR, D0 (D-zero), D1 (D-one), K prefixes (like K495) or L, M, N, P, S, T or Y suffixes. 


If your employee has been given an emergency tax code by HMRC and has a ‘W1’, ‘M1’ or ‘X’ suffix, select ‘Yes’ for the ‘Make deductions on a Week 1/Month 1 basis?’ option. If your employee hasn’t been given an emergency tax code by HMRC, select ‘No’.


National Insurance

Next, you’ll need to select your employee’s National Insurance Category Letter. This is also known as the National Insurance contribution letter and is the same as the NIC Table Letter shown on a P60.


Pay in previous employment

If starting declaration ‘B’ was selected for the employee, you'll be prompted to enter the total pay and tax the employee has paid so far from their previous employment (i.e. since 06 Apr of the current payroll year).

This information can be found on the employee’s P45 and entering here will ensure the tax calculated moving forward for the employee in FreeAgent is correct based on their tax code.

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Student loan deductions

If the employee should be making student loan deductions, select the appropriate plan type from the ‘Deduct student loans?’ option. If you tick the ‘Undergraduate loan’ option, you'll be prompted to select which type of repayment plan applies to the loan.


FreeAgent will automatically deduct the appropriate amount from the employee’s payslip when you run payroll each month. Please note that once calculated, this figure cannot be overwritten and the deduction will occur when the employee’s total pay exceeds the threshold for the selected plan.

Leaving Details

Select ‘No’ for the ‘Employee leaving during the next pay run?’ option as you don't need to add a leaving date when first setting up a payroll profile. This is where to add a leaving date if the employee leaves the company in the future.


Monthly Pay

Enter details of the employee's monthly pay with any allowances or other payments. The figures here will be pre-populated on the payslips in FreeAgent each time payroll is run, but they can be edited before the payroll is filed. Alternatively, you can leave the figures here as 0.00 and edit each payslip to show the relevant pay amount for the month before you file the monthly RTI submission.


Monthly Statutory Pay

If the employee is currently receiving statutory payments, such as paternity or maternity payments, select ‘Yes’ for ‘Is this employee receiving statutory pay?’ and enter the relevant details.


Partner's Details

If the employee is claiming or planning to claim Shared Parental Leave, enter a value in the ‘Shared Parental Pay’ field and enter their partner’s details.


Monthly Deductions

Next, enter any regular monthly deductions such as trade union subscriptions and employee paid health cover, if applicable. 


Monthly Pension Contributions

Finally, enter details of any employer or employee monthly pension contributions, if they apply. To do this, select ‘Yes’ for ‘Is this employee making monthly pension contributions?’ and enter the relevant details.


Find out more about pay and deductions.

Once all the relevant information has been entered, select ‘Create Payroll Profile’ at the bottom of the screen to create the payroll profile for the new employee.

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