Read 11 minutes
27 april 2023
Anyone who works or has a private pension should regularly check their tax code. And if you see any problems, it's best to contact Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue (HMRC) as soon as possible.
But how do you do that effectively?
HMRC is committed to making as many of its services available online as possible, including some tax related matters. You can notify HMRC of changes in your circumstances and check your income tax online through your personal tax account. But if you don't understand something or think you have the wrong tax code, you should contact HMRC directly.
The best advice is to think about how you can contact HMRC based on your specific enquiry, and gather all the information you need before taking the first step. This saves you valuable time by ensuring HMRC has all the details it needs to help you as quickly as possible.
You don't want an incorrect tax code to keep you away from your customers longer than necessary.
This is what we cover:
How do I know if my tax code is correct?
Checking the tax code
But why are HMRC's tax codes changing?
Details of the tax code you can find online
Can I contact HMRC by phone about my tax code?
Can I email HMRC about my tax code?
Can I talk live to HMRC?
How do I contact HMRC by letter?
How do I know if my tax code is correct?
Your tax code is issued by HMRC and tells your employer how much tax must be withheld from your pay before you receive it. It is also used by private pension providers to ensure they are applying the correct tax rate to your retirement savings.
It is very important to know that you are responsible for having the correct tax code. HMRC records and administers income tax collection, but each individual taxpayer must verify their own tax.
The bottom line is that if your tax code is incorrect, it means you're not paying the correct amount of tax. That's why it's so important. In the worst case, you don't pay enough and you owe HMRC. At best, you will overpay and be entitled to a refund from HMRC. But you must file such claims within a certain number of tax years; after this date the tax refund expires irrevocably.
Checking the tax code
All letters and numbers mean something. And they are not difficult to decipher.
The number refers to the amount of personal allowance that applies for the tax year. For the 2021-22 tax year, most standard rate HMRC payers have £1,250 asFiscal code number. This equates to £12,570 of tax-free income you can earn this tax year.
The letters in the HMRC tax codes relate to your specific situation. For example, the letter L at the end of your tax code means you are entitled to the full amount of personal allowance. 1250L is the correct tax code for anyone with a private pension or job in the current tax year.
Here is your decryption key for other HMRC tax code letter combinations:
- BR: You pay basic rate tax on all income from this job or pension (usually applied if you have more than one)
- C: You pay the rate of income tax in Wales
- C0T: You've used up all your personal credit or your new employer doesn't know which tax code to enter it into
- CBR - Welsh Standard Rate applies to this income (usually applied if you have more than one job or pension)
- CD0 - Income from work or retirement is taxed at the highest rate in Wales (again, usually only used if you have more than one)
- CD1 - you have more than one job or more than one pension, and if this code applies it means you pay tax at the Welsh Extra Rate
- D0: Income is taxed at the highest rate, more than one job or pension
- D1: Everything you earn with this income is taxed at the additional rate
- K: This income is not otherwise taxed and exceeds the amount of the personal allowance (generally applies to taxable benefits from the government or those who previously owe taxes)
- L: You can request the full amount of the personal allowance tax-free for that tax year
- M: You received 10% of your partner's personal allowance under the marriage allowance scheme
- N: You gave your partner 10% of your personal allowance as part of your marriage benefit
- NT: You don't pay taxes on this income
- S: you are liable to pay the rates of the Scottish Income Tax(s tax codes)
- SBR - All this income from work or retirement is taxed at the Scottish base rate (if you have more than one)
- SD0: More than one job or pension, all income is taxed at the Scottish mid-rate
- SD1: Higher Scottish rate applied to this income if you have more than one job or pension
- SD2 - Scotland's highest rate is paid on all this income, usually only if you have more than one pension or job
- T: There are other calculations involved when calculating your personal limit
- 0T: You have used up all your tax-free allowance or your new employer does not yet know which tax code to give you
- W1, M1, X: emergency tax code
First look for your HMRC tax code on your payslips (P45, P60) or in correspondence with HMRC. Then check whether the code you have is correct in your situation.
It can get even more complicated if you're part self-employed and part salaried, but at least you have thatFreshBooks to ease the pain of self-esteemyour account page.
But why are HMRC's tax codes changing?
There are several reasonschange tax code. HMRC usually changes the amount of the personal allowance at the start of the new tax year in April. So the number segment of your code will already be different.
HMRC also changes their tax code when they become aware of a change in circumstances. For example, you earn extra income, receive new benefits from your employer, apply for tax credits and expense allowances, receive spousal benefits, or receive taxable benefits from the government.
If your tax code changes, HMRC will contact you, your employer and insurance company. Then, your next paycheck should include the new tax code and any necessary payment adjustments that indicate an underpayment or overpayment. This is called a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) "encryption notice" and you should check the details just in case.
It is very important that you keep HMRC informed of all your current details and contact them if anything changes.
Details of the tax code you can find online
The online service is excellent - you can do many different things yourself through your personal tax account. Access via Government Gateway, GOV.UK Verify or a compatible European digital identity. Before you sign up, it's a good idea to at least have your social security number handy.
You cannot use this service if you also pay tax via the declaration scheme.
Without waiting in a phone line or online chat, you can do all of these things online:
- Check your tax code and the amount of personal credit you are entitled to
- Check if HMRC has changed your tax code
- View the total of estimated annual taxes for the current tax year
- Check the savings, pension and employment income estimates they are based on (and change if incorrect)
- Notify HMRC of any changes to your personal details and circumstances that may affect your tax code
There is a lot of personal information that needs to be kept up to date with HMRC. Obvious things like your name, address, and whether you've changed jobs. But there are also more delicate things. Things you might not feel comfortable talking to a stranger on the phone. For example, it is much easier to report the death of a spouse or civil partner online to HMRC. Discussions about a recent divorce are not easy. HMRC is usually informed when the package has been receivedcertificate of sex change,but you can report this change yourself.
Depending on your situation, HMRC may need more information from you or simply follow their procedures and post this new information where it belongs.
Yes, HMRC actually prefer telephone consultations. The number for income tax inquiries is 0300 200 3300 if calling from the UK. If you are calling from abroad, please dial +44 135 535 9022. If you cannot get through, you can use the NGT SMS relay by dialing 18001 and then 0300 200 3300.
The HMRC helpline is currently available on weekdays from 8am to 5pm. M. and 6:00 PM M. It is closed on public holidays and weekends. HMRC recommends calling before 10am. m., if possible, because then the lines are not so busy.
You must have your social security number to hand when you call.
Advisers on this HMRC number can help with questions about:
- Class 4 social security
- Income tax
- P800 tax data
- If you pay too little or too much tax
- fiscale codes
- Personal tax account verification and identification issues
To further filter out a large number of calls, HMRC uses speech recognition software on the first call. Many people can find this quite frustrating, especially if their accent is not recognized. But that's another way HMRC tries to reach the best person to help you as quickly as possible. His advice is: "Try to respond with short sentences and words, for example: "Change my address," "ask for my tax code," and "ask about taxable expenses."
Can I email HMRC about my tax code?
As an individual taxpayer, there is no direct HMRC email address for handling tax codes. You have several alternative options, which we describe below.
But if you want your accountant or tax advisor to contact HMRC on your behalf about tax code issues, they can use thisstructured email form.. This is for use by an "Authorized Agent" only. You can use HMRC's online authorization service or complete Form 64-8 to formally authorize your accountant or tax adviser to act on your behalf in HMRC business. There is no email address as such, they just fill out this online form and send it.
Can I talk live to HMRC?
HM Revenue and Customs offers an online chat facilitycontact details of the income tax department. This means you can ask a real human advisor questions about your tax code in live online chat.
Top tip for using their system: If you don't get in touch right away, wait for the "talk to an advisor" link to appear on your screen. Clicking on this link will open the chat. If you don't choose it, they move on to the next person and you get back in line.
If you prefer to write to HMRC with your inquiry or inform HMRC of a change in your circumstances affecting your tax code, the correct postal address is:
Pay as you earn and self-assessment
Her Majesty's Tax and Customs Office
The only reason you may need different contact details is if you wish to make a complaint about how HMRC has handled your self-assessment or income tax situation. In that case write to:
PAYE claims and self-assessment
Her Majesty's Tax and Customs Office
You should write "Complaint" on the first page of the letter. You should also quote the reference number included in your correspondence with HMRC.
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Yes, HMRC actually prefers queries on the phone. The income tax inquiries number is 0300 200 3300 if you're calling from inside the UK. If you're calling from abroad, call +44 135 535 9022. If you can't communicate by phone, you can use NGT text relay by calling 18001, then 0300 200 3300.How do I contact HMRC from outside UK? ›
- the official HMRC app.
- your personal tax account or business tax account using HMRC online services.
If you're resident in the UK, you may need to report foreign income in a Self Assessment tax return. If you do not report this, you may have to pay both: the undeclared tax. a penalty worth up to double the tax you owe.What happens if you don't pay tax UK? ›
It's rare to be prosecuted or sent to prison for tax evasion, but HMRC can: take your possessions, including vehicles, to sell at auction (called 'distraint') take money directly from your bank account, if your debt is £1,000 or more. take court action.What is the tax code 1257L? ›
Tax code 1257L
The most common tax code for tax year 2023 to 2024 is 1257L. It's used for most people with one job and no untaxed income, unpaid tax or taxable benefits (for example a company car). 1257L is an emergency tax code only if followed by 'W1', 'M1' or 'X'.
Dial 18001 0300 200 3300 to contact the 'Income Tax: general enquiries' helpline by text relay. HMRC also offers a textphone service for some of its helplines.Can you email HMRC UK? ›
If you would like to use email as one of the ways HMRC will contact you, we'll need you to confirm in writing by post or email: that you understand and accept the risks of using email. that you're content for financial information to be sent by email. that attachments can be used.How long do you have to stay out of the UK to avoid paying tax? ›
You can live abroad and still be a UK resident for tax, for example if you visit the UK for more than 183 days in a tax year. Pay tax on your income and profits from selling assets (such as shares) in the normal way.Is overseas income not liable to UK tax? ›
If you're not UK resident, you will not have to pay UK tax on your foreign income. If you're UK resident, you'll normally pay tax on your foreign income. But you may not have to if your permanent home ('domicile') is abroad.How do HMRC know about undeclared income UK? ›
All tax returns, including income tax, value added tax (VAT), corporation tax and PAYE. Financial records held by: Bank and building society accounts, online payment providers, debit and credit card accounts, credit reference agencies, crypto asset platforms and insurance companies.
You can go to jail for not filing taxes. The tax law provides for a year of imprisonment for every unfiled tax return. However, this harsh penalty is only sought for taxpayers who willfully fail to file returns and also decline every opportunity to resolve their tax issues.How does the government know if you don't pay taxes? ›
In order to convict you of a tax crime, the IRS does not have to prove the exact amount you owe. But such charges most often come after the agency conducts an audit of your income and financial situation. Sometimes they're filed after a tax collector detects evasion or fraud.Can you get in trouble if you don't pay your taxes? ›
We calculate the Failure to Pay Penalty based on how long your overdue taxes remain unpaid. Unpaid tax is the total tax required to be shown on your return minus amounts paid through withholding, estimated tax payments and allowed refundable credits. The Failure to Pay penalty will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.What does 1257L W1 mean? ›
Sometimes you may see something that looks like 1257L W1 or 1257L M1. This is an emergency tax code and means that only one week's or month's proportion of the allowances due for the tax year is given against each week's/month's pay so that the pay period is dealt with in isolation and not on a cumulative basis.What is tax threshold UK? ›
For the 2023/24 tax year, if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are three marginal income tax bands – the 20% basic rate, the 40% higher rate and the 45% additional rate (also remember your personal allowance starts to shrink once earnings hit £100,000).What is tax code 1060L? ›
1060L as 'emergency' tax code
If an individual has recently changed their job, or has multiple jobs at one time or haven't sent the current employer a copy of your P45 – in such cases HMRC may not have adequate information about the income of an individual to send an employer or pension contributor a correct tax code.
You can check if requests are genuine by asking the HMRC staff member to send an email while you are on the call to confirm their identity. Their email address should have their name and end in @hmrc.gov.uk.How do I email HMRC error correction? ›
You cannot save a partly completed form so we suggest you gather all your information together before you begin to fill it in. Once completed, print and post it to HMRC, using the postal address shown on the form or email it to email@example.com.How do I contact the UK customs? ›
0300 200 3719
You can also find out information in: the official HMRC app.
More In File
You meet the physical presence test if you are physically present in a foreign country or countries 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months including some part of the year at issue. The 330 qualifying days do not have to be consecutive.
An individual will be non-resident for a tax year if they are present in the UK at midnight at the end of the day for less than a specified number of days in the tax year in question, as follows: For an individual who was resident in the UK for one or more of the preceding three tax years the limit is 15 days or.How long can I stay in US without paying tax? ›
183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting: All the days you were present in the current year, and. 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and.Do I need to inform HMRC when I return to the UK? ›
Contact HMRC if your circumstances change when you're abroad - you move house or your marital status changes, for example. You'll need your National Insurance number. You also need to tell HMRC if you come back to live in the UK.Are British citizens taxed on worldwide income? ›
If you are resident and domiciled (or deemed domiciled) in the UK, you will pay UK tax on the arising basis. This means that you pay UK tax on your worldwide income and gains for the tax year in which they arise. It does not matter whether or not you bring the foreign income or proceeds from foreign gains to the UK.What is the tax rate for non residents in the UK? ›
The Basic Rate of Income Tax (20%) is payable on total taxable income between £12,571 and £37,700. The Higher Rate of Income Tax (40%) is payable on income between £37.701 and £135,140. The Additional Rate of Income Tax (45%) is payable on income of more than £125,140 (2023/24 for all figures).How many years can HMRC go back? ›
In normal cases, the HMRC tax investigation time limit is 4 years, in which they can go back to claim money from taxpayers. If someone has been visibly careless (submitting tax returns with mistakes), HMRC can journey back 6 years.Can HMRC check your bank account UK? ›
Some of our services perform a specific function within someone else's service. HMRC has a shared service to check bank account details are correct. Other government departments and local authorities could collect your bank details from you, then check them with our shared service.Can you go to jail for not paying taxes UK? ›
What are the penalties for tax evasion (UK)? Tax evasion carries serious penalties – those found guilty of tax evasion could face fines and prison sentences – from £5,000 and six months in jail to seven years in prison and unlimited fines.How far back can tax evasion be investigated? ›
The federal tax statute of limitations describes the time the IRS has to file charges against you if you are suspected of tax fraud. In most cases, the IRS can audit your tax returns up to three years after you file them, which means the tax return statute of limitations is three years.What happens if I don't file taxes for 5 years? ›
Penalties can include significant fines and even prison time. Luckily, the government has a limited amount of time in which it can file a criminal charge against you for tax evasion. If the IRS chooses to pursue charges, this must be done within six years after the date the tax return was due.
- Determine if the IRS Filed a Substitute Return.
- File the Missing Returns.
- Seek Assistance From an Experienced Tax Attorney or CPA.
- Negotiate the Tax Bill.
The only option to avoid submitting a US tax return and paying US taxes abroad under current US tax legislation is to renounce your US citizenship. If US citizens fail to file US taxes while living abroad, they may incur fines, interest charges, or possibly legal repercussions.How long can you file exempt without owing? ›
An exemption from withholding is only good for one year. Employees must give you a new W-4 each year to keep or end the exemption. If the exemption expires, withhold federal income tax according to the employee's Form W-4 information.What happens if you don't pay taxes for 3 years? ›
What Happens If You Don't File Your Taxes for Years? If you do not file your taxes for years, the IRS can take legal action against you. This can include filing a lien against your property or seizing your assets.Is there a one time tax forgiveness? ›
One-time forgiveness, otherwise known as penalty abatement, is an IRS program that waives any penalties facing taxpayers who have made an error in filing an income tax return or paying on time. This program isn't for you if you're notoriously late on filing taxes or have multiple unresolved penalties.How many people go to jail for tax evasion? ›
But here's the reality: Very few taxpayers go to jail for tax evasion. In 2015, the IRS indicted only 1,330 taxpayers out of 150 million for legal-source tax evasion (as opposed to illegal activity or narcotics).What if I owe the IRS but can't afford to pay? ›
You can use the Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov to request an installment agreement if you owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest and file all returns as required. An installment agreement allows you to make payments over time, rather than paying in one lump sum.How do I change my tax code UK? ›
If you believe your tax code is wrong you should contact HMRC who will issue your employer with a revised tax code as required. This can be done by phone – 0300 200 3300 – or on-line . Almost all employers will now be operating PAYE in Real Time.What does a tax code of K mean? ›
If your tax code has a 'K' at the beginning
For most people, this happens when you're: paying tax you owe from a previous year through your wages or pension. getting benefits you need to pay tax on - these can be state benefits or company benefits.
M1 is a kind of “emergency tax code”, meaning it's only supposed to be temporary until HMRC has enough information to issue you the right code. The big thing to know about the M1 tax code is that it's “non-cumulative”, so it doesn't take into account any tax you've already paid in the tax year.
Everyone, including students, has something called a Personal Allowance. This is the amount of money you're allowed to earn each tax year before you start paying Income Tax. For the 2023/24 tax year, the Personal Allowance is £12,570. If you earn less than this, you usually won't have to pay any income tax.What tax code is 1150L? ›
1150L is a cumulative tax code, which means that if you return to work after a break or if you start working part-way through the tax year, your tax-free personal allowance will have been building up and you may pay less tax for a while.What does tax code 840 mean? ›
A manual refund, transaction code (TC) 840, is a refund that is not generated through normal Master File processing (TC 846).What is tax code 1281? ›
26 U.S. Code § 1281 - Current inclusion in income of discount on certain short-term obligations. any interest payable on the obligation (other than interest taken into account in determining the amount of the acquisition discount) shall be included in gross income as it accrues.How do I claim my UK tax back from overseas? ›
If you leave the UK to live or work abroad, you may be able to claim back some of the income tax that you have paid. When you leave the UK, you must usually send form P85 'Leaving the UK – getting your tax right' to HMRC. You can find the form on GOV.UK. Alternatively, you can make a claim online.How do I submit my UK tax return from overseas? ›
- fill in a Self Assessment tax return and an SA109 form and send by post.
- use commercial Self Assessment software that supports SA109 reporting (this may appear as a 'residence, remittance basis etc' section)
- get a tax professional to report your UK income for you.
You're usually non-resident if either: you spent fewer than 16 days in the UK (or 46 days if you have not been a UK resident for the 3 previous tax years) you worked abroad full-time (averaging at least 35 hours a week), and spent fewer than 91 days in the UK, of which no more than 30 were spent working.What if I have not received my HMRC access code? ›
If you cannot find your activation code, you can get a new one within 28 days of enrolling. Sign in to HMRC online services and ask for a new code to be sent to you.Am I still a UK resident if I live abroad? ›
You can live abroad and still be a UK resident for tax, for example if you visit the UK for more than 183 days in a tax year. Pay tax on your income and profits from selling assets (such as shares) in the normal way. You usually have to pay tax on your income from outside the UK as well.
Tax Refunds UK Expats Can Claim
As an employed expat in the UK, you are obliged to file a UK tax return and also claim tax refunds UK taxpayers are entitled to. Not all taxpayers can claim a refund on tax, there are conditions when claiming a UK tax refund.
Do US expats living in the UK also have to file US taxes? Yes, due to the US's citizenship-based taxation system, all US citizens and permanent residents must report their worldwide income.Do expats file UK or US for tax? ›
The U.S. has tax rules for U.S. expats that state you have a U.S. tax filing obligation no matter when or where you lived or worked in the U.K. Even if you're only there a short time, working as an American in the U.K. can still affect your U.S. taxes.How do I claim my foreign withholding tax back? ›
File Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, to claim the foreign tax credit if you are an individual, estate or trust, and you paid or accrued certain foreign taxes to a foreign country or U.S. possession. Corporations file Form 1118, Foreign Tax Credit—Corporations, to claim a foreign tax credit.How long can I stay in the UK as a non tax resident? ›
182 Days - to stay in the UK up to 182 days you must have 1 or less tie to the UK. Avoid ties to the UK to remain non resident of worldwide UK tax on income. Expats who want to avoid liability to UK Tax under UK non resident tax rules must follow these regulations. Consider your ties to the UK.What are the temporary non residence rules for income tax UK? ›
If you are leaving the UK for fewer than 5 years, and before leaving you lived in the UK for at least 4 out of 7 of the most recent years, you should be deemed 'temporarily non resident' for the purposes of UK income tax.How do I get an Authorisation code from HMRC? ›
- Sign into your HMRC online services for agents account.
- Select 'Authorise client' in the left-hand menu.
- Select 'Request an authorisation'.
- Select the tax service that you need your client's authorisation for and enter their details.
HMRC online contact
There is no generally available facility to contact HMRC by email but it is possible to use structured or standard email, webchat and online forms for specific types of transactions and contact.
It is very important that you send us this code as soon as you receive it as it will expire after 30 days of being issued.