Free Payroll Software UK: HMRC-recognized

Remay Villaester (May)

Plenty of modern software paved the way to a more convenient and accurate payroll system. Considering the amount of time and staff resources it saves, it's undoubtedly worth paying for a payroll software to simplify this process.

However, if you’re a small business with less than ten employees, you might be able to get away with a free payroll software or an alternative like Wise batch payment tool.

Let's have a look at these free and most importantly, HMRC-recognized payroll software

1 2 Cloud Payroll

Provides comprehensive payroll functions that you need for your payroll and workplace pensions. The package is intuitive to use and cloud based. Payroll novices or payroll professionals can quickly master the package to complete their tasks at work or in the comfort of their own homes. Its free to:

  • E-file the complete statutory required returns to HMRC Including FPS, EPS, NVR and EYU,
  • Process your complete pay run, based on a HMRC RTI PAYE recognised standard securely over the https with 128 bit data encryption, 24 x 7 wherever you are
  • eReceipts of P6, P9, SL1, NINO from the HMRC and further auto updates of these notices into your account
  • Allow employees to view / print their own ePayslips, P60 up to 6 years old and update their own personal data (optional) at any time, securely over the https
  • View / print payslips, P45, P60 and various reports in hard copy
  • email the given PDF payslips you have downloaded
  • Appoint additional users to manage the payroll system
  • Appoint an auditor to securely audit the payroll over the https
  • Free for employers with 1 to 9 employees
  • Trial/Test use with 10 - 5,000 employees (Final FPS / Final EPS not included)²

12 Pay

Free software which does all of your pay calculations and handles all of your HMRC filing (such as RTI). Perfect for a company with up to 9 employees where payslips and management reports are not required.³

Primo Payroll

As you carry out your usual PAYE processes, Primo Payroll runs the Auto-Enrolment compliance processes in the background, communicates with your pension provider, completes all the assessment and communication responsibilities, automatically classifies and enrols the employees, and calculates the contributions. It's free for up to 10 employees.⁴


Comprehensive payroll module that allows you to have multiple companies within the same portal. All payroll calculations are automatic and performed in real-time allowing you to quickly view or process your pay runs. Corrections are also easy to make, and they validate all RTI submissions before they are submitted to HMRC. They currently support all major UK bank BACS file formats allowing you to pay staff quickly and efficiently.⁵

Hartigan Software

It's free for up to 9 employees under the RTI lite package. The version offers Full Payment Submission (FPS), Employer Payment Summary (EPS) and import of RTI data from Microsoft Excel. ⁶

HMRC’s Basic PAYE tool

It’s a free payroll software from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for businesses with less 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.⁷

IRIS Payroll basics

It's free for companies with less than 10 employees. It provides Auto enrolment and PAYE calculations, National Insurance and all statutory payments. It also generates and manages mandatory employee forms as and when you need them, and prints payslips and reports for free for 30 days.⁸

Shape Payroll

Free for up to 3 employees. A modern cloud-based system that allows you to access your payroll 24 hours a day from anywhere. It shows clear indicators when you need to submit RTI records to keep you in control.⁹

What does HMRC recognized mean?

HMRC-recognized means that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tests the payroll software to check if it can report PAYE information online and in real time (RTI). There is a long list of paid payroll software but there are a few free versions for a certain number of employees.

A cost effective way to pay overseas employees

The above mentioned payroll software mostly operate within the UK. If you outsource some of your business processes overseas, you’d have to find a way to pay your employees in their local currency. Unfortunately, this type of transaction can be quite expensive using traditional banks due to their poor exchange rate and high international transfer fee.

To save some money on your international payments, use Wise batch payment tool to take advantage of the real exchange rate without any mark-up. You can run payroll in over 40 currencies across the globe and make up to 1000 payments in one go.

Wise is a groundbreaking company with over 5 million customers globally taking an innovative, fresh approach to financial services.

Wise is known for offering one of the fairest exchange rates in the business instead of inflating their exchange rates with hidden fees.

You can also take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Payroll to overseas contractors
  • Payments to vendors and suppliers in over 40 currencies
  • Receive local transfers in EUR, USD, GBP, AUD and NZD for free
  • A unique integration with Xerofor multi-currency accounting
  • Multi-currency debit card attached to the account
  • Automated batch payments through open API to save you time and streamline the process

Start saving today with Wise


  1. article
  2. 12 cloud payrollprice page
  3. 12 Pay price page
  4. Primo Payroll pricing page
  5. Enrol Pay website
  6. Hartigan Software price page
  7. Basic PAYE tool
  8. IRIS payroll BasicsPricing
  9. Shape Payroll website

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location