Tax Glossary

Tax Code

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Last updated on:
March 17, 2024

A tax code is essentially a shorthand used by employers or pension providers to calculate the correct amount of Income Tax to deduct from an individual's pay or pension before passing it on to HMRC. This system ensures that the right amount of tax is collected through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system throughout the tax year.

Spotlight on the 2023/2024 Tax Code

For the tax year spanning 2023 to 2024, the tax code that many will find on their payslips is 1257L. This code signifies that you have the standard Personal Allowance of £12,570, which is the amount of income you can earn in a year without having to pay tax on it.

When Your Tax Code Might Differ

However, not everyone will have 1257L as their tax code, and that's perfectly normal. Tax codes can vary due to several factors such as unpaid taxes from previous years, benefits in kind (like a company car), or other allowances and deductions. Here are some additional tax codes you might encounter:

  • BR: Indicates all income is taxed at the basic rate – commonly used for second jobs or pensions.
  • D0: All income is taxed at the higher rate, which is usually used if you have more than one source of income.
  • NT: No tax is being deducted from this income.
  • W1/M1: These are emergency tax codes, meaning tax is calculated on what you are paid in the current period, not the whole year.

Taking Action if Your Tax Code Seems Incorrect

If you suspect your tax code is incorrect, which might lead you to pay more or less tax than you owe, it's crucial to contact HMRC. They can adjust your tax code, ensuring your tax deductions accurately reflect your personal circumstances.

In essence, your tax code plays a fundamental role in your financial life, influencing how much tax you pay directly from your income. Understanding your tax code and ensuring it accurately reflects your situation is key to managing your finances effectively.

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