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How to Check or Get a Copy of Your Tax Code Notice

Updated: May 31

Understanding Your UK Tax Code Notice

In the UK, understanding your tax code is crucial for ensuring you're paying the right amount of tax. A tax code is used by your employer or pension provider to determine how much Income Tax should be taken from your pay or pension. This article aims to guide UK taxpayers on how to get a copy of their tax code notice, understand its components, and ensure its accuracy.

How to Check or Get a Copy of Your Tax Code Notice

What is a Tax Code Notice?

A tax code notice, also known as a PAYE notice of coding or Form P2, is issued by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and outlines your current tax code. This notice is usually posted at the start of each tax year by HMRC. It provides a breakdown of your tax code, including explanations for any adjustments or changes. The tax code reflects your personal allowance, any additional income, and potential deductions or benefits that affect your tax calculation.

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Tax Code Notice

  1. Online through Personal Tax Account: The most convenient way to find your current tax code and previous year's code is by signing in to your Personal Tax Account on the HMRC website or app. If you haven't created an account, you can set one up using your Government Gateway ID, National Insurance number, and personal information for verification.

  2. On Your Payslip: Your tax code is displayed on your payslip. If you're employed, your employer will provide this.

  3. Tax Code Notice Letter: HMRC may send you a Tax Code Notice letter, especially if there have been changes in your tax situation.

  4. Contacting HMRC Directly: If you haven't received your notice or need further clarification, contacting HMRC directly is advisable. You can request a copy of your notice and ask any questions regarding your tax code.

Understanding Different Tax Codes

You should understand different tax codes and their meanings:

  • Standard Tax Codes: These include codes like 1257L, where the numbers indicate your personal allowance, and the letter reflects your situation (e.g., 'L' for those eligible for the basic Personal Allowance).

  • K Codes: Used when your untaxed income is more than your tax-free allowance, leading to 'minus allowances.'

  • Emergency Tax Codes: Codes like W1, M1, or X are used when HMRC doesn't have enough information about your income. It's temporary and should be updated once your information is complete.

  • Scottish and Welsh Tax Codes: These start with 'S' or 'C', respectively, reflecting the different tax rates in Scotland and Wales.

  • Other Codes: Codes like BR, D0, or NT are used in specific situations, like second jobs, pensions, or non-taxable income.

Checking and Updating Your Tax Code

It's crucial to ensure your tax code is correct. Discrepancies can lead to either overpaying or underpaying tax. If you believe your tax code is incorrect:

  • Review Your Tax Code Notice: Check all details, including your income, benefits, and deductions.

  • Report Changes to HMRC: Inform HMRC of any changes in your situation that might affect your tax code.

  • Seek Clarification: If you're unsure why your tax code is a certain way, contact HMRC for an explanation.

Importance of Accurate Tax Codes

Accurate tax codes ensure that you pay the correct amount of tax. Incorrect codes can result in unexpected tax bills or refunds at the end of the tax year. Regularly checking your tax code and keeping HMRC updated on any changes in your income or personal situation is essential for maintaining tax accuracy.

How UK Tax Codes are Calculated and Managed

Calculation of Tax Codes

In the UK, tax codes play a pivotal role in determining how much income tax is deducted from an individual's earnings. The core of tax code calculation lies in the Personal Allowance – the amount of income one can earn before paying income tax. For the tax year 2024/2025, the standard Personal Allowance is set at £12,570. This figure is adjusted based on various factors like income from other sources, untaxed income, benefits, or owing tax from previous years.

Components of Tax Codes

  1. Standard Tax Codes: For most taxpayers, the tax code starts with a number and ends with a letter. The number 1257, for instance, represents the Personal Allowance (£12,570), and the letter 'L' indicates the taxpayer is entitled to the standard tax-free Personal Allowance.

  2. Adjustments: If you owe tax or have untaxed income, your Personal Allowance might be reduced. This is reflected in your tax code. For example, if you owe tax, the amount you owe is subtracted from your Personal Allowance, and the resulting figure forms the first part of your tax code.

  3. Special Codes: Different letters in the code signify various situations. For example, ‘BR’ indicates all income is taxed at the basic rate, and ‘NT’ suggests no tax is to be deducted.

Factors Influencing Changes in Tax Codes

Your tax code can change due to several reasons:

  • Changes in Income: Any increase or decrease in your income can lead to a tax code change.

  • Changes in Benefits: If you start or stop receiving benefits like a company car, it impacts your tax code.

  • Owing or Repaying Tax: If you underpaid or overpaid tax in the previous year, HMRC adjusts your current year's tax code to account for this.

  • Changes in Personal Circumstances: Marriage, retirement, or changing jobs can lead to tax code adjustments.

Emergency Tax Codes

If HMRC doesn’t have all the information they need (like when you start a new job), they may use an emergency tax code like ‘1257L W1/M1/X’. It ensures you get the standard Personal Allowance but might not reflect your complete tax situation, leading to potential over or underpayment.

Checking and Updating Your Tax Code

  • Regular Checks: It’s important to regularly check your tax code for accuracy, especially after changes in your job or personal life.

  • Updating HMRC: If your circumstances change, informing HMRC promptly can help avoid wrong tax deductions.

  • Review P800 or Self-Assessment: At the end of the tax year, HMRC sends a P800 tax calculation if you've paid too much or too little tax. If you're self-employed or have multiple sources of income, completing a Self-Assessment tax return ensures correct tax payment.

Managing Wrong Tax Codes

If you believe your tax code is incorrect, you should:

  1. Contact HMRC: Explain the situation and provide relevant information.

  2. Check for HMRC Adjustments: HMRC may adjust your tax code during the year to correct any discrepancies.

Understanding and managing your tax code is essential for ensuring you pay the right amount of tax. Regular checks and communication with HMRC can help maintain accuracy in your tax deductions. In the next part, we will explore practical steps and scenarios to help you manage your tax code effectively, including what to do in case of discrepancies.

Correcting and Managing Your UK Tax Code

Correcting and Managing Your UK Tax Code

Importance of Accurate Tax Codes

An accurate tax code ensures the right amount of tax is deducted from your income. Errors in tax codes, whether due to outdated information or administrative mistakes, can lead to either overpaying or underpaying tax. It's crucial for taxpayers to understand how to check their tax code and rectify any inaccuracies.

Checking Your Tax Code

  1. Online Services: The most efficient way to check your tax code is through the 'Check your Income Tax' service on the website. This service allows you to view your current tax code, personal allowance, and an estimate of the tax payable for the year.

  2. Understanding Tax Code Components: Your tax code consists of numbers and a letter. The numbers represent your personal allowance, while the letter indicates your tax situation. For example, a tax code of '1257L' means a personal allowance of £12,570, with 'L' indicating eligibility for the standard tax-free Personal Allowance.

  3. Special Prefixes: A 'K' prefix indicates that the additional income to be taxed is higher than the Personal Allowance, often due to underpaid tax from previous years or certain benefits like an expensive company car.

Steps to Correct a Wrong Tax Code

  1. Contact HMRC: If you believe your tax code is incorrect, you should contact HMRC. This can be done online through your Personal Tax Account or by phone. When contacting HMRC, have your National Insurance number and relevant financial details ready.

  2. Update Income Details: Provide HMRC with updated information about your income, benefits, or any other changes affecting your tax situation.

  3. Employer or Pension Provider Notification: Once HMRC updates your tax code, they will notify your employer or pension provider. Your next payslip should reflect the changes.

  4. Tax Code Notice (P2): Ensure that the information on your Tax Code Notice (P2) is correct. It includes details about your tax code and how it was calculated.

Handling Tax Underpayments or Overpayments

  • P800 Tax Calculation: If you've overpaid or underpaid tax, HMRC will send a P800 tax calculation after the end of the tax year.

  • Refunds or Additional Payments: If you've paid too much tax, you'll receive a refund. If you've underpaid, HMRC will usually adjust your tax code to collect the owed tax in the next tax year.

Practical Tips

  1. Regular Checks: Regularly check your tax code, especially after changes in your income or personal circumstances.

  2. Clarify Doubts: If you're unsure about any aspect of your tax code, contact HMRC for clarification.

  3. Understand Code Changes: Be aware of how life events like marriage, changing jobs, or receiving a pension can affect your tax code.

  4. Keep Records Updated: Ensure HMRC has your current details, including address and income sources, to avoid incorrect tax codes.

Understanding and correctly managing your tax code is essential to ensure you are not overpaying or underpaying tax. Regular checks, timely updates to HMRC, and understanding how different income sources and personal allowances are reflected in your tax code can help maintain financial stability and avoid unexpected tax bills or refunds. Remember, your tax code directly influences your take-home income, so it's in your interest to ensure it's accurate.

A Real-Life Case Study: Accessing a Tax Code Notice

In this hypothetical case study, we explore how an individual, let's name him Elliot Harding, navigates the process of obtaining a copy of his Tax Code Notice in the UK for the tax year 2024-2025. This document is essential for ensuring the correct amount of tax is withheld from his income.


Elliot, a software developer based in Manchester, realizes he needs to verify his tax deductions due to a recent job change and potential discrepancies in his tax payments. He seeks to access his Tax Code Notice to ensure his tax code is correct and to prevent either underpaying or overpaying his taxes.

Step-by-Step Process

Understanding the Importance of the Tax Code Notice:

  • The Tax Code Notice (P2) details Elliot's current tax code, which his employer uses to determine the amount of income tax to deduct from his salary. The code reflects his personal allowance and any adjustments due to his previous year's over or underpayments or changes in benefits.

Initial Attempt to Access the Tax Code Notice:

  • Elliot first tries to find his paper copy of the Tax Code Notice but realizes he may have misplaced it during his recent move.

Accessing the Tax Code Online:

  • He remembers that he can view his current and past tax codes through his Personal Tax Account (PTA) online. The PTA is accessible via the GOV.UK website, where users can check their tax code, personal allowance, and estimated tax for the year.

  • To access this information, Elliot needs to log in to his account using his Government Gateway ID, which he already has. If he didn’t have one, he could create it by providing his National Insurance number and some personal information for identity verification.

Verifying and Updating the Tax Code:

  • After logging into his PTA, Elliot can view his tax code for the current year. He verifies that the code reflects his new salary and has not inadvertently carried over any incorrect adjustments from the previous job.

  • If Elliot had found any discrepancies, he could contact HMRC directly through the webchat or phone services to resolve issues or ask for a revised Tax Code Notice.

Receiving Professional Advice:

  • Given the complexities of his tax situation, including multiple income sources and recent employment change, Elliot decides to consult a tax professional. This ensures that all elements affecting his tax code are correctly accounted for in his Self-Assessment tax return.

Continuous Monitoring:

  • Elliot plans to regularly check his tax code via his PTA, especially after any significant life or employment changes. Regular monitoring helps avoid cumulative tax errors and simplifies future financial planning.

Elliot’s proactive steps to access and verify his Tax Code Notice allow him to manage his tax affairs effectively, ensuring he pays the correct amount of tax. This scenario underscores the importance of understanding one's tax code and taking advantage of online tools provided by HMRC to maintain tax accuracy.

This case study exemplifies the typical process and potential challenges UK taxpayers may face and illustrates effective strategies to manage and resolve tax code issues. It highlights the utility of the Personal Tax Account as a critical tool for personal tax management.

20 Most Important FAQs about Tax Code Notices in the UK

Q1: What is a Tax Code Notice in the UK?

A: A Tax Code Notice, also known as Form P2, is a document sent by HMRC that details your tax code and how it has been calculated. It reflects your Personal Allowance and any adjustments due to your income or benefits.

Q2: How often is a Tax Code Notice issued?

A: Typically, a Tax Code Notice is issued annually, usually at the start of the tax year. However, it can also be issued whenever there is a change in your tax situation.

Q3: What should I do if I haven't received my Tax Code Notice?

A: If you haven't received your Tax Code Notice, you should contact HMRC or check your tax code online through your Personal Tax Account.

Q4: How is the tax code calculated in the UK?

A: Your tax code is calculated based on your Personal Allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free), with adjustments for additional income, benefits, and any tax owed from previous years.

Q5: What does a 'BR' tax code signify?

A: 'BR' stands for Basic Rate, indicating that all your income from that source is taxed at the basic rate (currently 20%), with no tax-free Personal Allowance.

Q6: What does the '0T' tax code mean?

A: The '0T' tax code is used when your allowances have been used up or reduced to nil and your income is taxed at the prevailing rates.

Q7: What does a 'K' prefix in a tax code indicate?

A: A 'K' prefix indicates that you have income that needs to be taxed and is greater than your tax-free allowance, often due to taxable benefits like a company car.

Q8: Can I dispute my tax code?

A: Yes, if you believe your tax code is wrong, you can dispute it by contacting HMRC and providing relevant information.

Q9: How can changes in personal circumstances affect my tax code?

A: Changes like marriage, retirement, or starting a new job can affect your tax-free allowance and result in a change in your tax code.

Q10: What is an emergency tax code?

A: An emergency tax code, like '1257L W1/M1/X', is used when HMRC does not have all the necessary information. It typically assigns the standard Personal Allowance but may not reflect your complete tax situation.

Q11: How can I check my current tax code?

A: You can check your current tax code online through the HMRC website or app, on your payslip, or on the Tax Code Notice sent by HMRC.

Q12: What happens if I overpay tax due to a wrong tax code?

A: If you overpay tax due to a wrong tax code, HMRC will usually reconcile this at the end of the tax year and issue a refund if necessary.

Q13: What is a P800 tax calculation?

A: A P800 is a tax calculation summary sent by HMRC after the end of the tax year, showing if you’ve paid too much or too little tax.

Q14: Can I have different tax codes for different jobs?

A: Yes, if you have more than one job, you might have different tax codes for each job, depending on your earnings and allowance distribution.

Q15: How does a second job affect my tax code?

A: If you have a second job, your tax-free allowance is usually used against your first job, and the second job might have a different tax code, like 'BR', to tax all income at the basic rate.

Q16: What is the ‘L’ suffix in my tax code?

A: The 'L' suffix in a tax code signifies you are entitled to the standard tax-free Personal Allowance.

Q17: Can I have a 0% tax code?

A: A 0% tax code is rare and typically used in specific circumstances where your income is not subject to tax, like certain types of savings income.

Q18: What should I do if my tax code changes during the year?

A: If your tax code changes, ensure the new code reflects your current circumstances. Contact HMRC if there are any discrepancies.

Q19: How do benefits in kind affect my tax code?

A: Benefits in kind, like a company car or medical insurance, can reduce your Personal Allowance, resulting in a higher taxable income and a different tax code.

Q20: Can a tax code be backdated?

A: Yes, if HMRC finds that you have been on the wrong tax code, they can backdate adjustments to correct your tax payments.


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