HMRC Employment History: Importance, Access, and Its Role in Hiring

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HMRC’s 5-year employment history is an official document that may be requested by an employer from candidates during the hiring process. While it cannot replace thorough employment verification, the document can still be a valuable tool. 

What is HMRC Employment History?

HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) is the UK’s tax authority, responsible for collecting, paying, administering and enforcing taxes. They also collect and maintain a comprehensive record of a tax payer’s employment

As the country’s tax authority, HMRC requires employers to submit a report containing their employees’ pay, benefits, and deductions, particularly the taxes they paid. Subsequently, it’ll also contain work details, such as the name of the company and the employee’s start and end dates

When collated, HMRC captures an individual’s employment journey in a document called HMRC Employment History. The document often contains up to 5 years of an applicant’s work information. Here’s an example of the document


The Purpose of HMRC Employment History

There are several reasons why an individual may request for their HMRC employment history, including:

  • Visa renewal
  • Loan application 
  • Making a claim for compensation
  • Mortgage application

Although uncommon, there are cases when employers ask job applicants to submit their employment history from HMRC during hiring. 

Note that this document is free and can be requested by the candidate themselves online. They may also access the document through a tax agent or legal adviser. 

Why Employers Ask for a Candidate’s HMRC 5-Year Work History

A candidate’s employment history is one of the most important things hiring managers look into when looking for someone to fill in a role. It helps ensure they meet job requirements and assess their reliability and consistency in past roles.

In most cases, employers verify a candidate’s employment history manually - by contacting past employers and confirming job details. As the verification can be tedious, some employers decide to ask for HMRC work history to easily confirm simple details, like name of employer, start and end dates, salary


Employers may ask for HMRC work history because:

It’s reliable and accurate

The document containing HMRC work history is a reliable source of information because it’s a compiled official record submitted by employers to the HMRC. The details, therefore, are accurate and employers can confidently use it to verify information already provided in the applicant’s CV. 

For these reasons, too, HMRC’s 5-year employment history document can help prevent fraud

It’s a valuable tool to check consistency

The employment history from HMRC lists the job details in the order, year by year. Discrepancies between the information provided by the candidate and the HMRC records can raise red flags, prompting further investigation, such as reference checks, to ensure the accuracy and honesty of the candidate's claims. 

It can further confirm the candidate’s right to work

If an employer is hiring a foreign talent, it’s their legal responsibility to ensure that they are permitted to work in the UK. Failure to do so may result in huge fines and even imprisonment

By examining the HMRC work history, employers can confirm that the candidate has been legally employed in the country, which can further strengthen their right to work check

Despite this, remember that it’s no substitute to the proper right to work checks. Here’s more information on UK Right to Work Checks, and here’s a detailed discussion of the Right to Work Share Code to streamline the verification process. 

It can verify the candidate’s salary

HMRC work history contains the candidate’s salary (taxable income), an information employers can use to see if the compensation and benefits package they offer is competitive enough for the role. 

It can help check career progression and employment gap

Reviewing HMRC work history allows employers to assess a candidate's career progression and identify any gaps in employment. Understanding the candidate's career trajectory and the reasons for any gaps can provide valuable insights into their professional development and suitability for the role.

Still, remember that HMRC work history is not officially intended for employment verification. 


Helping Candidates Access their HMRC 5-Year Employment History

If your company decides to ask for a candidate’s HMRC work history document, it may be helpful to provide them with the guidance on how to obtain it. 

There are 3 ways: 

  • Via post
  • Via phone
  • Online 

Request via post

To request, the candidate has to complete and physically mail the request form to the address provided. The form can be accessed here

Request via phone

The candidate may also request via phone. Like requests via post, this method can take a long time, considering the HMRC has to release the documents via mail as well. To request for HMRC employment history via phone, candidates can call 0300 200 3300.  

Online request: A step-by-step guide

A faster way to obtain the employment history from HMRC is to request it online. To do this, advise the applicant of the following steps: 

Step 1: Sign in using Government Gateway 

If it’s their first time using the platform, instruct them to navigate to the “create sign in details.” They need to prove their identity through National Insurance number or UK postcode. If they don’t know or have lost their insurance number, they can find it here

They also need 2 of the following: 

  • A payslip from the last 3 months or a P60 from your employer for the last tax year
  • A UK biometric residence permit or card
  • Details from a Self Assessment tax return if you made one
  • A valid UK passport or non-UK passport with a biometric chip
  • Information held on your credit record if you have one (such as loans, credit cards, or mortgages)
  • Details of a tax credit claim if you made one
  • A UK photocard driving licence issued by the DVLA (or DVA in Northern Ireland)

Step 2: Choose Pay as You Earn (PAYE) 

Once signed in, click “Check current tax year” This directs to the employment details in the current tax year. 

Under each employer, click “View or update employment details.” This provides the summary of income and tax paid per employer. If a month-by-month information is needed, click “Check payments received from your employer.

Step 3: Print the Page

On the upper right, click Print this page. There’s also an option to save it as PDF. Alternatively, you may take a screenshot of the page. 

Step 4: Repeat with the Past Tax Years

Navigate back to the PAYE page and click “check previous years.” Repeat steps 2 and 3 for all the tax years you need

Ask about Veremark's Instant Employment Reports

Our Instant Employment Reports are work history checks available to view straightaway. Gathering UK information from HMRC, they are also available in Canada, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia and India. These are incredibly useful to hiring managers and HR professionals who need to speed up the hiring process for their candidates, and provide insights including name, companies worked at and tenures - as well as periods of unemployment and gaps. They're also known as a moonlighting check.

Important Points for Employers on HMRC Employment History

If at any point during the hiring process you decide to request a candidate’s employment history from HMRC, please take note of the following points:

It has limited information

HMRC employment history provides a record of an individual’s tax and National Insurance contributions but offers limited details about their actual employment. It primarily includes dates of employment, employers' names, and income information.

As such, it cannot replace proper employment background checks

While HMRC records can confirm basic employment dates and income, they lack critical details such as job titles, responsibilities, performance, and reasons for leaving a job. Employers should still conduct comprehensive employment verification to get a full picture of a candidate's work history.

Remember that it contains personal information

HMRC employment history contains sensitive personal information, including an individual's tax and National Insurance records, income details, and employment periods. Employers must handle this information with the utmost confidentiality to protect the candidate's privacy and comply with data protection laws.

Beyond HMRC Records: Ensuring Comprehensive Employment Checks

To ensure you are hiring the right person for the role, it’s important to conduct a comprehensive employment history check. 

Traditionally, this verification involves manual methods, such as calling previous employers, checking references, and reviewing employment records. While effective, this approach can be time-consuming and prone to human error.

In contrast, partnering with a reliable background check provider streamlines the process, resulting in more comprehensive, accurate checks and faster turnaround times. Platforms, such as Veremark leverage on advanced technology and databases to deliver the information you need for a more informed hiring decision

Partner with Veremark for Your Employment Check Needs

Veremark conducts background checks you need to ensure you’re hiring the right people. Our employment verification provides information on the past roles the candidate held, duration of employment, awards, and recognitions, and even reason for leaving. We also offer instant employment verification if you need to quickly verify work details. 

At Veremark, you can order more checks without the hassle of lock-in periods and long-term contracts. From criminal records checks to promote workplace safety to professional qualifications checks to verify credentials, Veremark ensures compliance with the law and delivers user-friendly reports. 

With award-winning software, 24/7 customer support, and seamless integration into your existing workflow, Veremark can be your reliable partner for all your background screening needs.

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What is HMRC Employment History?

HMRC Employment History is a record of an individual's employment details maintained by HM Revenue and Customs for tax purposes. It includes information such as employment periods, income, and employers' details.

When is HMRC Work History Used?

HMRC work history is used for tax purposes, benefits claims, and verifying employment details by government agencies. Individuals can also use it to support job applications or verify their employment history for personal records.

Can HMRC Employment History Replace Employment Verification?

HMRC employment history provides a basic overview but should not replace comprehensive employment verification. Detailed employment verification includes job performance, reasons for leaving, and additional checks such as references and criminal records.

How Can Candidates Obtain Their HMRC Work History?

Candidates can obtain their HMRC work history via phone, post, or online. They can contact the HMRC helpline, send the completed form to HMRC, or access their personal tax account on the HMRC website.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

The Need for Periodically Screening and Re-Screening Your Existing Employees with Background Checks

For a positive future of work, it is important that all organisations ensure that every employee is privately and professionally positive in their life behaviour, both now and over the months and years ahead. If an existing employee commits a criminal offence, it can significantly and negatively impact their organisation. Hence, it's crucial today to perform ongoing periodic checks throughout their employment.

Companies need to be more alert about this during their hiring process. Candidates must be screened thoroughly, and all information related to their backgrounds, professional experience, and educational qualifications must be verified. Failure to do so can cost the hiring company months in lost productivity, thousands of dollars in salary and hiring costs, and may damage the company's culture, brand, and reputation.

Employee screening is the practice of investigating talent for any misconduct or changes in their circumstances. On one hand, this may be considered invasive; however, it may also be prioritised as an important part of the ongoing health of the workforce checking and verification process. Employee screening is something that, first and foremost, any employer needs to do. A business needs to plan justified ongoing screening of its employees in order to mitigate and minimise risk.

In this report, we discuss:

- How widespread is employee screening?

- How does talent screening during the course of employment work?

- Criminal record checks

- Ensure the greater safety of your business after hiring a new employee

- Can Employers Re-screen Employees?

- What employers should follow while conducting checks during the course of employment

- How to conduct ongoing background rescreening?

- What may an employer expect to find when a check is done during employment?

- Consent regarding the continuous screening of employees

- Employers are increasingly running social media check

- Reduction in time required for employee screening

- Veremark candidate & employee screening

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