The free payroll software solutions below will allow you to pay your employees for less.
We’ve broken them down into 3 categories.
- The first are free payroll software solutions recognised by HMRC
- The second are HMRC approved companies that offer free software solutions but aren’t listed as offering them on the HMRC website.
- Finally we list cheap payroll software companies that offer a free trial
Free Payroll Software As Recognised By HMRC
The following software programs are all listed by HMRC as offering free plans or tiers.
However be warned, when we looked at the websites of each company the free option was not always obvious.
|Software Name||Company Name||Trustpilot Review Score||Number of Trustpilot Reviews|
|Basic PAYE Tools||HMRC||1.3||312|
|1 2 Cloud payroll||1 2 Cloud Payroll||No Rating||No Reviews|
|12Pay||IRIS Software||No Rating||No Reviews|
|1st FREE Payroll & HR||1st Money||No Rating||No Reviews|
|ANNA Free PayRoll||#1 ANNA PayRoll||4.5||2516|
|Capium Payroll (up to 3 employees)||Capium||4.4||27|
|EnrolPay||EnrolPay||No Rating||No Reviews|
|Free Payroll||Collegia Partners Limited||No Rating||No Reviews|
|Hartigan RTI Payroll||Hartigan Software Design||No Rating||No Reviews|
|IRIS Payroll||IRIS Software||3.6||1532|
|Primo Payroll||Accentra Technologies||No Rating||No Reviews|
|Shape Payroll||Shape Payroll||4.1||5|
|ShiftAI||ShiftAI||No Rating||No Reviews|
|Stansoft Payroll||Stansoft||No Rating||No Reviews|
HMRC Basic PAYE Tools
HMRC Basic PAYE Tools Features
- Payroll tasks
- Working out the tax
- National Insurance for your employees
- Sending information to HMRC
- Check a new employee’s National Insurance number (NVR)
- Send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS)
- Send an Earlier Year Update (EYU) – for the 2019 to 2020 tax year and earlier
1 2 Cloud payroll
1 2 Cloud payroll Features
- RTI Payroll
- Fixed monthly fee / Leavers e-Filed FPS
- Recognised by HMRC
- Limit to the number of companies that can be managed on one licence
- Maximum number of employees per company (Including leavers)
- Monthly payrolls, weekly payrolls, 2 weekly payrolls, and 4 weekly payrolls
- Print payslips on blank paper
- P11, P60 and Pay Statements can be printed en masse
- Payroll summary report, list of total payments and deductions this period
- Reconciliation report, Net Pay, Department summary, Annual summary
- Live submission of RTI by internet to HMRC
1st FREE Payroll & HR
1st FREE Payroll & HR Features
- HR, people management, & org charts
- Self onboarding & completion tracking
- Onboarding docs & sigs
- Paid & unpaid time off requests & approval
- Salaried & hourly paid employees
- Employee time tracking & timesheets
- Expense claim requests & approval
- Payday expense reimbursement
- Doc signature requests & tracking
- Paystub PDF emailing & printing
- Unlimited P60s, P45s & P11Ds
ANNA Free PayRoll
ANNA Free PayRoll Features
- Free business bank account
- Local transfers in and out – 20p per bank transfer
- ATM withdrawals – £1 per ATM withdrawal
- International payments – £5 per SWIFT payment
- Currency conversion fee for transfers – 1%
- Personal payment link for accepting payments – Payment link with 1% commission
- Additional debit cards – 1 debit card included, £3 per extra card
- Pay cash in – Pay cash in with 1% commission
- Pots – £1 per pot monthly
- Cashback on purchases – 1% on select categories
Capium Payroll (up to 3 employees)
Capium Payroll Features
Note these are some of the features of their paid plans.
- Up to 100 clients
- Unlimited User Licences
- Unlimited E-Sign
- Unlimited SMS
- Unlimited Storage
- MTD and GDPR compliant
- *Excludes Capium Hub & Company Secretarial
- Job Retention Scheme (Coronavirus)
- Payslips, P45s, P60s
- Real Time Information (RTI) to HMRC
- SSP/SMP/SAP etc
- Multiple Payment & Deduction Categories
- Workplace Pensions
- Attachment of Earnings function
- Payroll Processing
- Pay Run Frequency
Free Payroll Features
- Run Payroll
- Submit FPS
- Submit EPS
- Download P6/P9 & Student Loan notifications
- Close Period
- Track and complete all Auto Enrolment tasks
Hartigan RTI Payroll
Hartigan RTI Payroll Features
- Full Payment Submission (FPS)
- Employer Payment Summary (EPS)
- Import of RTI data from Microsoft Excel
IRIS Payroll Features
- Auto Enrolment and Payment Calculations
- Processing and Printing
- Free Payroll Software Updates
- HMRC Recognised
Primo Payroll Features
- AUTO ENROLMENT MODULE
- SOFTWARE SUPPORT – Email only
- RIGHT TO ADVERTISEMENT BY ACCENTRA
Shape Payroll Features
- For small businesses who have a single small payroll
- Pay with up to 3 payslips per month
- Community support only
Shift AI Features
- £5 per month base fee includes:
- FREE for first user and no base fee
- RTI payroll submission
- Employee directory
- Pension contributions
- Part-time/full time employees
- Payroll periods (month/week)
- P45, P60, CSV downloads
Stansoft Payroll Features
- RTI PAYE Payroll HMRC-recognised
- Auto Enrolment
- Student Loan Deductions
- Unlimited employees and companies
Other Free Payroll Software Options
The following companies are listed on the HMRC website as offering payroll software, but are not listed as having a free plan.
However, their websites do list a free plan, so might be worth a look if none of the companies above have the right solution for you.
|Software Name||Company Name||Trustpilot Review Score||Number of Trustpilot Reviews|
Qtac Payroll Features
- Quickly check your P45
- Online access 24/7
- Completely free to use
Cheap Payroll Software With A Free Trial
The final group of companies offer cheap payroll software with a free trial option.
Therefore, for these companies we’ve listed how long the free trial lasts, how much the cheapest plan is and their overall Trustpilot review score.
|Software Name||Free Trial Length||Trustpilot Rating||Cheapest Paid Plan Per Month|
|QuickBooks Payroll||1 month||4.6||£16.00|
|Sage 50 Payroll||30 days||4.4||£33.00|
|Sage Business Cloud Payroll||3 months||4.4||£10.00|
|Xero Payroll||30 days||4.2||£7.50|
|Employment Hero Payroll||Not Specified||4.2||£1.00|
|Able Internet Payroll||6 months||No Rating||£120.00|
|Acting Office||30 days||No Rating||Pricing Not On Website|
|Citrus HR||14 days||No Rating||£2.50|
|FreshPay||Not Specified||No Rating||£5.00|
|hardhatadmin||60 days||No Rating||£5.00|
|Liberty Accounts||30 days||No Rating||£12.95|
|TaxShield P11D Manager||Not Specified||No Rating||Pricing Not On Website|
|HealthBoxHR||Not Specified||4.4||Pricing Not On Website|
|The Payroll Site||Not Specified||3.8||£6.50|
|KashFlow Payroll||14 days||3.6||£8.12|
|MyPAYE Online Payroll||30 days||2.9||Pricing Not On Website|
|Staffology Payroll||Not Specified||2.9||£10.00|
|Moneysoft Payroll Manager||Not Specified||2||£6.83|
Does HMRC offer any free payroll software?
Yes HMRC does offer free payroll software. It’s called HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools and is designed for companies with fewer than 10 employees.
The software allows you to perform most payroll tasks, including working out the tax and National Insurance for your employees and sending this information to HMRC.
If you have payroll software that cannot do certain tasks, you can use Basic PAYE Tools alongside it to:
- check a new employee’s National Insurance number (NVR)
- send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS)
- send an Earlier Year Update (EYU) – for the 2019 to 2020 tax year and earlier
However, be aware that: Basic PAYE Tools has some limitations. It is not designed for agents or bookkeepers with more than 3 clients.
You can learn more about it here.
What is the best free payroll software?
There is no single best free payroll software solution out there. However, based on real Trustpilot reviews the following companies are among the best:
- ANNA Free PayRoll: Top rated Free option as recognised by HMRC
- Qtac Payroll: Top rated other free option
- QuickBooks Payroll: Top rated cheap payroll software with a free trial
How can companies offer free payroll software?
Companies have to make money right? So how can they offer their software for free?
There are in fact a few reasons why companies are willing to give away their software now and it all has to do with how they make money.
Here are 5 of the most common:
- The most obvious one is the companies offering free trials. They hope that once you try their software you’ll like it and start to pay for it.
- The second are companies that offer limited features on their free plans. The hope is that as your business grows you’ll need the additional features and they can start charging for them.
- The third reason is that many companies have limits of how many employees you can have on the free plan (typically no more than 10 but sometimes as few as 3 or even 1). Again the hope is that as you grow and hire you’ll start making use of the higher cost paid tiers.
- A fourth reason is that the software is a loss leader for another more profitable bit of the business. For example, ANNA offers a business bank account and the payroll solution is a way to get you to sign-up with them.
- Finally, some companies earn fees in other ways. For example, Freepayroll states that they: “earn a portion of the fees from investment managers when they handle pension contributions.”
Nevertheless, depending on your needs these free options remain a good way to get started so long as you have relatively simple payroll requirements.