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Why am I on emergency tax?

You may receive an emergency tax code when you start a new job or start getting benefits where you must pay tax on.

When you might get an emergency tax code

You will be put on an emergency tax code if you have started the following.

  • A new job.
  • Working for an employer after being self employed.
  • Getting company benefits or the State Pension.

While you are on an emergency tax code, you will pay tax on all your income above the basic Personal Allowance (£9,440 for the 2013 to 2014 tax year).

How to tell if you are on an emergency tax code

You will be on an emergency tax code if your payslip says your tax code is 944L W1 or 944L M1.

You might be on an emergency tax code if your tax code is 944L.

It is more likely that your tax will be right at the end of the tax year if your emergency tax code is 944L.

Getting the right tax code

HM Revenue & Customs will usually send you and your employer or pension provider the right tax code when they have been paid the tax from your previous job or pension. Your new employer or pension provider will adjust their next payment to you to: 

  • Repay your tax that you have overpaid.
  • Pay any tax that you owe.

If you think being on an emergency tax code means you’ve paid too much at the end of a tax year, you can claim a refund.  

Visit the HMRC website for information on the above items.

Reporting your tax code as wrong

Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your tax code is wrong. You’ll need your National Insurance number and your PAYE reference - you can find these on your payslip.  See Payroll Services Outsourced "Payslip Mandatory Information" page regarding PAYE and NI number.

Tell HMRC that your tax code is wrong at the HMRC website which is the 2014-15 PAYE Coding Notice query form. You’ll need your PAYE coding notice.

You can also telephone HMRC.

HMRC Income Tax enquiries
Telephone: 0300 200 3300
Textphone: 0300 200 3319
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Visit the HMRC website to find out about call charges for the numbers above.

You can also write to HMRC at the following address:

HM Revenue and Customs
Pay As You Earn
PO Box 1970
L75 1WX

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