The 5 Best Free Payroll Software in 2022

They say they best things in life are free – does that include payroll software?

We've made it easy for you to browse the best free payroll software available and find out if it's a good fit for your business.

Compare and save on payroll software

We've done all the hard work so you don't have to, and found the best free payroll software on the market.

  1. IRIS – Best all-around
  2. HMRC Basic PAYE Tools – Best for checking employee's NI number
  3. Shape Payroll – Best for ease of use
  4. Primo Payroll – Best for auto-enrolment
  5. Enrol Payroll – Best for self-service
iris logo
IRIS Payroll Basics
Pricing Free
Quick overview

IRIS Payroll Basics is an easy and free way to pay your employees if you have less then 10. This software is HMRC-recognised and RTI and Automatic Enrolment-compliant. Integration with HMRC means you don't have to worry about submitting your Year End and in-year forms. The software generates and manages mandatory employee forms and prints payslips and reports for free for 30 days.

Any legislation or business software updates are included with the platform, all for free!

Strengths

HMRC compliant

Used by over 40,000 businesses

Simple and easy-to-use

Weaknesses

Only free for very small businesses

Fairly basic

HMRC Basic PAYE Tools
Pricing Free
Quick overview

Basic PAYE Tools is HMRC'S free payroll software for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. This software allows you to check a new employees NI number, send an Employment Payment Summary and send an Earlier Year Update. The system is fairly basic and straightforward and doesn't include features that other providers offer.

BPT does not allow for auto-enrolment or supply information to your pension provider. These are drawbacks unless you're happy to carry out these tasks yourself.

Strengths

Check a new employee's NI number

Can send an Employment Payment Summary (EPS)

Weaknesses

No auto-enrolment

shape payroll logo
Shape Payroll
Pricing Free
Quick overview

Shape Payroll allows you to pay up to 3 employees for free. This package includes all their core features, such as generating payroll documents and payslips. You can easily set up and edit employee records and ensure that they're on the correct tax code. This platform is HMRC compliant and gives you the ability to automate your payroll.

Strengths

Auto-enrolment

HMRC compliant

Weaknesses

Only free for businesses with up to 3 employees

Compare and save on payroll software

Primo Payroll
Pricing Free
Quick overview

Primo is a cloud-based payroll provider for those with up to 10 employees. Primo's free version includes core features such as auto-enrolment. Support-wise, there is less when compared to its paid versions but you still get email support although your emails are low priority, so don't expect swift replies.

 

Strengths

Auto-enrolment

Weaknesses

Very limited features

Enrol Payroll
Pricing Free
Quick overview

Enrol's self-service small payroll software is perfect if you have up to 9 active employees. Of course, the self-service aspect might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you want to save your coins and don't mind the manual tasks, this could be the right platform for you.

The platform is intuitive and easy to use, great for if you don't want anything too tech-complicated.

Strengths

Intuitive

Easy to use

Weaknesses

Lots of manual tasks

Is Free Payroll Software Worth It?

Free software gives businesses the ability to run payroll without any overhead fees. This is super helpful at the beginning stages of a business when you might not have the funds to invest.

There are limitations with free software, as most of them only offer basic features. Paid software provides automation, comprehensive reporting and employee access. These features take away the effort and stress of manual tasks and ensure you stay compliant. Your employees are able to access their own portal and request holiday, check payslips and update their personal details.

We recommend free payroll software for micro-businesses because most providers offer free software for three to 10 employees, and you don't need a lot of the features paid software has at this stage of your business.

As your business grows, you might find that it's no longer sustainable to manually carry out payroll tasks or you have too many employees to qualify for free software, you can often easily scale up to a paid version.

How much does payroll software typically cost?

Paid payroll software typically costs around £10 for a basic package.

Paid payroll services are usually either fully managed or part-managed. A fully managed service tends to cost around £4–£6 per employee, per month, and pension plan auto-enrolment costs around £1.50–£2 per employee, per month. If you want HR tools, this will cost you £10–£25 per employee, per month.

Part-managed payroll services are harder to price, as this cost depends on which services you want to outsource. You can expect to pay around £2–£3 per employee, per month.

Verdict

There are some great options out there if you want free payroll software, although free software has a lot of limitations. Most free payroll solutions don't offer automation, employee access or reporting.

Micro-businesses are best suited to free payroll software, while larger businesses may find it difficult to stay on top manual tasks that need to be carried out for a higher number of employees.

If you want to compare payroll quotes to find the best provider for you, you can use our free comparison tool. Just give us a few brief details and we'll do the rest. You'll then be contacted by trusted suppliers with no-obligation quotes.

FAQs

Which is the best free payroll software in the UK?
The best free payroll software in the UK is IRIS. IRIS is an old-timer in the payroll industry and provides all the necessities for running payroll.

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.