Tax code and wages

Making the most of your Tax Code & Wages

If you're working, you don’t have to pay income tax on everything you earn. You can earn an amount called your “personal allowance” which is tax-free. 

You can read our advice on the different forms of Income Tax from Pay As You Earn to Self-Assessment.

To work out how much you pay in income tax, HMRC applies a tax code to your pay. HMRC are part of the UK Government. 

Check your tax code

It's important to check your tax code, especially if you've recently started a new job. That's because if you're on the wrong tax code, you can end up paying more in tax and taking home less pay.

You can check your tax code on GOV.UK's checker. You can also use this checker to tell HMRC about any changes that might affect your tax code. If you can't use the online system, you can find out other ways to contact HMRC.

Check your tax code
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Check if you can pay less tax

You might be able to pay less tax by increasing your personal allowance if you're

  • married, 
  • in a civil partnership 
  • registered blind. 

You can find out more about Marriage Allowance and Blind Person’s Allowance on GOV.UK, including who is eligible and how to apply.

Marriage Allowance
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Blind Person's Allowance
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Check if you are eligible for tax relief

You might be able to use tax reliefs to pay less tax.  Tax reliefs allow certain things that you spend money on to be taken off your total income, so you pay less tax. 

You can claim tax reliefs alongside personal tax allowances and you can backdate them for up to four years.

Tax reliefs can include essential items for your job such as a uniform, membership fees or tools. You should read more about tax reliefs on check out GOV.UK’s website.

Tax Reliefs
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Check you’re being paid the right wage

You're entitled to be paid national minimum wage. 

You can check if you are being paid the right amount using GOV.UK’s National Minimum Wage calculator. This also tells you what to do if you aren’t being paid the right amount.

National Minimum Wage calculator
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You can check our advice on what to do if you're getting paid less than minimum wage.

You can also get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.