Check my tax code: Am I paying too much UK tax?

Check my tax code: Am I paying too much UK tax? Image credit: AdobeStock

Check my tax code: Am I paying too much UK tax?

(Partner Content) If you’re new to the UK, the tax code on your payslip may look like a random assortment of numbers and letters, but it is key in determining how much of your earnings you have to hand over to HMRC. Here’s how to check your tax code correctly.

Check my tax code: Am I paying too much UK tax?

Check my tax code: Am I paying too much UK tax? Image credit: AdobeStock

What does my tax code mean?

To know whether you’re on the right tax code, you need to understand what all the numbers and letters mean. 


The numbers represent your Personal Allowance figure. This is how much you can earn before you need to start paying income tax. For example, someone with a tax code of 12500L can earn £12,500 before having to pay tax.

The Personal Allowance figure usually changes on 6 April, at the start of each financial year, so it’s a good idea to check it every year at this time. For the current tax year, the Personal Allowance is £12,500.


The letters in your tax code follow the number and all have their own meaning:

LettersTax code meaningReasoning
BRTaxed at the Basic Rate of 20%.All your income from this job or pension is taxed at the basic rate (usually used if you’ve got more than one job or pension).
D0Taxed at the Higher Rate of 40%.When you have one income stream at a normal tax code and a second salary that pushes you over into the Higher Rate tax band.
D1Income is taxed at the Additional Rate of 45%.You earn over £150,000 per year and have a pension or other income source.
LYou receive the full Personal Allowance.Your tax situation is standard.
MYou’ve received a transfer of 10% of your partner’s Personal Allowance.Your partner has not used up their Personal Allowance entitlement.
NYou’ve transferred 10% of your Personal Allowance to your partner.You have not used your full Personal Allowance amount.
NTYou’re not paying tax on this income.
0TYou have been taxed on all your income.This could be because your Personal Allowance has been used up or if you’ve started a new job and don’t have a P45.
SYou pay the Scottish rate of income tax.You live and work in Scotland.
TYour tax code includes other calculations to work out your Personal Allowance.Your tax position is “not settled”.

Tax-free Personal Allowance: How is this calculated

South Africans and some other expats will be accustomed to a fixed tax threshold, but in the UK things work a little differently.

HMRC starts with the basic tax-free allowance of £12,500 and adds or deducts anything that could affect this total. For example, a Personal Savings Allowance and tax-deductible work expenses could increase this amount, while outstanding tax bills and a state pension could decrease it.

Once this has been calculated, your tax code is given to your pension provider and employer to determine how much tax should be deducted from your income.

Why you might be on the wrong tax code 

Any situation where you receive more than one source of income could result in the allocation of the incorrect tax code. This could include:

  • State and private pension plans
  • Having more than one job at the same time
  • Short-term contracts

A rise or fall in income could also result in a change of tax code. The most common reason for a change in tax code is when employees receive benefits from their employers.

Claim tax back

Should you find that you’ve paid too much tax because you were on the wrong tax code, all you need to do is claim your tax refund. You can also check if you are due a refund by using a tax return calculator. Claiming back from HMRC can be a simple process with the right help. 

We’ve lodged more than 250,000 successful claims for over 200,000 people. We work on a no refund, no fee policy, so you really have nothing to lose, and possibly a substantial sum of money to gain. Get in touch on +44 (0) 20 7759 7560 or at