You’re on an emergency tax code if your payslip says your tax code is 1000L W1, 1000L M1 or 1000L X.

Emergency tax codes are temporary. While you’re on an emergency tax code, you pay tax on all your income above the basic Personal Allowance (£10,000 for the 2014 to 2015 tax year).

If your tax code is just 1000L it’s not an emergency tax code.

Tax code 0T can also be used as a temporary code. It means you don’t get any Personal Allowance you’re entitled to until your tax code is updated.

When you might get an emergency tax code

You may be put on an emergency tax code if you’ve started:

  • a new job
  • working for an employer after being self employed
  • getting company benefits or the State Pension

Getting the right tax code

Your tax code is usually updated automatically after you’ve given your employer details of your previous income or pension. This is usually from your P45 - if you don’t have one, you may be asked by your employer to fill in a ‘new starter checklist’.

You’ll be sent your new tax code in a PAYE Coding Notice. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also tell your employer or pension provider. Your next payslip should show:

  • your new tax code
  • adjustments to your pay if you were paying the wrong amount of tax