UK new tax year start: full list of HMRC tax codes and what they mean explained

With a new UK tax year now only hours away, you may be wondering what your tax codes mean.

UK tax codes: A tax bill surrounded by UK pounds and notes (image: Getty Images)
UK tax codes often look complicated, but are simpler in reality (image: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In just a few hours’ time, a new tax year will begin. It means several personal finance changes will be coming in.

For starters, a new tax year means your ISA allowance is refreshed. Before it comes into effect on 6 April, you may also be able to take advantage of your allowance from the current financial year. At the same time, the tax-free threshold for Capital Gains Tax is set to be slashed again.

The beginning of the 2024/25 tax year will also be marked by increases to key household bills, including council tax, water and broadband. Energy prices have fallen 12%, but still remain well above their pre-energy crisis levels.

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Given there is so much change on the horizon, now might be the time for a financial health check too. A good place to start is to check your tax code. The numbers and letters you’ll find on your payslip or pension statement are important in that they tell you exactly what you’re paying to HM Treasury. Very occasionally, they can be wrong, which could leave you with either a big rebate or a hefty tax bill from HMRC.

So, what do the different tax codes mean? Here’s a full list, with each code explained.

What does my tax code mean?

Your tax code is basically a note from HMRC to you and your employer or pension provider that explains how much tax you’re due to pay on a monthly basis between April and March.

It always comes with a letter that describes your employment status and may have numbers, which usually reflect your tax-free allowance but can also refer to your tax band. 

For example, if you have one job or one pension, you’re likely to see ‘1257L’ on your payslip. This refers to the £12,570 tax-free allowance you get on your income tax.

Tax code letters explained

Of course, your employment or tax status may be a little more complicated. So, here is a full list of the letters you’ll normally see - and what they tell you about your tax status:

  • BR - It means all of the income from this job or pension is taxed at the basic rate. It’s usually used if you’ve got a second job or a pension.
  • D0 - All of your income from this job or pension is taxed at the higher rate. Again, this is most likely to appear on the payslips of those with a second job.
  • D1 - All of your income from this job or pension is taxed at the additional rate (if you’ve got a second job or pension pot).
  • L - This means you are getting the standard income tax-free personal allowance (£12,570).
  • M - This letter shows you’ve received a transfer of 10% of your partner’s personal allowance, as part of the Marriage Allowance tax break.
  • N - This letter means some of your personal allowance has been passed over to your partner as part of Marriage Allowance.
  • NT - This letter shows you are not paying any income tax on the money you’re getting (for example, if all of your income comes via capital gains).
  • T - This letter shows that other calculations are included in working out your personal allowance.
  • 0T - This code means your personal allowance has been used up, or that your new employer doesn’t have all of the details they need to give you a proper tax code.

Sometimes, you may see a different letter on your payslip. This is most likely to be an emergency tax code. These are temporary and usually only appear when you’ve: started a new job, become an employee after having been self-employed, started receiving company benefits or a state pension. The codes to look out for are: W1, M1 or X. They will normally follow the standard 1257L code.

Another possibility is that you’ll get a code beginning with ‘K’. You’ll see this if you’ve got an income that’s not being taxed in a different way and exceeds your income tax-free personal allowance. For example, you may be paying tax you owe from a previous financial year, or receiving taxable benefits from your company or the state.

What if I live in Scotland or Wales?

Income tax can be set differently by the devolved UK nations. As such, they have different codes to those you get in England. Here’s what the Scottish and Welsh codes look like:

Scotland

  • S - This letter shows your income or pension is being taxed using Scottish rates.
  • SBR - This code means all of your income from this job or pension is being taxed at the Scottish basic rate (20%).
  • SD0 - This code tells you that all of your income from this job or pension is being taxed at the intermediate rate in Scotland (21%).
  • SD1 - This code means all of your income from this job or pension is taxed at Scotland’s higher rate (42%).
  • SD2 - This shows that all of your income from this job or pension is being taxed at the top income tax rate in Scotland (45%).
  • S0T - This code means your personal allowance (£12,570) has been used up, or that your employer doesn’t have all of the details they need to provide you with a tax code.

Wales

  • C - This letter means your income or pension is being taxed using the rates in Wales (which are the same as they are in England).
  • CBR - This code shows all of your income from this job or pension is getting taxed at the Welsh basic rate (20%).
  • CD0 - This shows you that all of your income from this job or pension is being taxed at the higher rate for Wales (40%).
  • CD1 - This code means that all of your income from this job or pension is taxed at the additional rate in Wales (45%).
  • C0T - If you see this, it means your personal allowance has been used up, or your employer doesn’t have all of the details they need to provide you with a Welsh tax code.

Will income tax change in the Spring Budget?

There have been hopes that an income tax cut would be announced in the Spring Budget this week.

Tax bands and the personal allowance have been frozen since April 2021. Given wages and benefits have risen significantly (in numerical terms) during this period, it’s highly likely that millions more people are now either earning more than the personal allowance, or have been dragged into a higher tax band.

There have been suggestions that Hunt could increase the personal allowance. If it had tracked inflation since 2019, it would be about £16,000 compared to the current £12,570, Sian Steele, head of tax at Evelyn Partners, told MoneyWeek.

There has also been talk of a 1p or 2p cut in the basic rate - a move that would particularly benefit low- to middle-earners. Nothing has been confirmed yet by the government.

The chances of either scenario occurring appears to have diminished despite repeated calls for tax cuts from Conservative Party backbenchers. This is because inflation remains higher than expected, while the government’s self-imposed fiscal headroom has reduced.

Henry Sandercock

Henry Sandercock has spent more than eight years as a journalist covering a wide variety of beats. Having studied for an MA in journalism at the University of Kent, he started his career in the garden of England as a reporter for local TV channel KMTV. 


Henry then worked at the BBC for three years as a radio producer - mostly on BBC Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine, but also on major BBC Radio 4 programmes like The World at One, PM and Broadcasting House. Switching to print media, he covered fresh foods for respected magazine The Grocer for two years. 


After moving to NationalWorld.com - a national news site run by the publisher of The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post - Henry began reporting on the cost of living crisis, becoming the title’s money editor in early 2023. He covered everything from the energy crisis to scams, and inflation. You will now find him writing for MoneyWeek. Away from work, Henry lives in Edinburgh with his partner and their whippet Whisper.