A guide to ERN’s

Why am I being asked to provide an ERN?

An Employers Reference Number (ERN) is given to every business that registers with HM Revenue and Customs as an employer who intends to pay staff using PAYE.

Insurers require your ERN number as if there is an Employers’ Liability claim it helps the claimant trace the insurance company that provided insurance at the time, they suffered an injury, or the start of a long-term illness. It is a unique set of letters and numbers used by the taxman and others to identify your firm.

The following employers are exempt and do not need to provide an ERN:

  • If all employees are paid less than £192 per week / £833 per month / £10,000 per year AND the employees do not have another job.
  • If all personnel are labour only sub-contractors, or self-employed, and therefore no payments are made via PAYE.
  • If they are registered in the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands (these have no tax presence in the UK).

Where can I find my ERN?

ERNs will begin with three numbers (representing the tax office whose catchment area the employer falls into) followed by a forward slash and then a combination of letters and numbers. It is often referred to on tax forms as an employer PAYE reference.

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