Emergency Tax Rate

If the company you work for does not know what tax code to put you on, you may be placed on an emergency tax code. Often, if you are put on an emergency tax code you overpay tax. If you overpay tax you can claim a tax rebate.

What is the Emergency Tax Rate?

If you are an on an emergency tax rate you will be paying 20% tax. This may sound the same as the basic tax rate but the difference is, that on an emergency tax code you are not given a personal allowance.

Everyone that works in the UK is given a tax free allowance, this is the amount that you can earn before you need to pay any tax. The current tax free allowance is £6,475 for the 2010/11 tax year and your tax code is used to allocate your personal allowance in each pay packet that you receive. If you are paying the emergency tax rate this allowance will not be allocated and you will pay 20% on all your wages.

How to Ensure you are not paying the Emergency Tax Rate

If you have second job, you should normally be put on an emergency tax code. Often people are incorrectly put on an emergency tax code if they only have one job and they end up overpaying tax.

One way to try and avoid paying emergency tax is to ensure that you give any new employers your P45 as soon as you start working. This will enable them to put you on the correct tax code, taking into account your previous job.

If you have any questions about emergency tax, please leave them in the comments below.


  1. RiZ says:

    Hi, I have two jobs one is a part time one where I am doing 15 1/2 hours a week over sat n sun and the other is a 40 hours per week over Monday to Friday I am currently paying BR TAX on my full time job and no tax on my part time one I wanted to know if I am able to claim back the BR TAX from my full time job?? Thanks

    • TaxFix says:

      RiZ: Normally your second job should be the one that would be on the BR tax code. As a result you may be overpaying tax. You can contact your tax office and ask them to change your tax code. You may have overpaid tax in the last tax year and as a result you can make a claim for any repayment due.

  2. Fearghal says:

    Hi I leave my current job on 3rd June and get my final pay from this job on 28th June. I start my new job on 10th June. How do I avoid paying emergency tax on commencement of my new job?

  3. Amanda says:

    Hi there,

    I have just moved and started a job in London, I am earning £500 (before tax) per pay period (a week) and my payslips are saying £149 earned for that pay period… this seems like an awful amount of money lost, even if I am being charged emergency tax and minus my agency fees.

    Any help will be appreciated


    • TaxFix says:

      Amanda: As the tax year is now over, you can claim any overpayment of tax that you might be due. You should be given a P60 shortly, if not already. When you have this you can make a claim.

  4. Smith says:

    I work at Sainsbury’s on a temporary night shift role until January 5th 2013. I haven’t had a current job so I wasn’t able to supply them with a P45. On the other hand I filled out a P46 and that got sent off to the tax man. I am 19 years of age, will I definitely get taxed?

  5. Angela says:

    I worked overseas until last summer. I have been resident and working as a supply teacher in UK since September 2012 and I’m on tax code OT, which seems an excessive amount to be paying. I understand that this means that I don’t have any tax allowances. Is this correct, and can I get a refund? If so, how do I do this? Any help appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Richard S says:

    If this thread is still going, my new job starts on May 1st, until then I am on £53.something Job Seekers Allowance. The new salary is 15k, so my income is pretty modest and I can’t really afford to be on emergency rates. Since I’ve been on JSA for a while I have no P45, will the P46 cover me?

  7. John Pitt says:

    My daughter is a university student and works two nights a week in a public house and is paid cash each week. She has also just started a three week contract as a dresser on a theatre production. I presume the pub will have her P45 and she will be taxed (emergency) on the theatre work. How does she reclaim her tax as she will not earn anywhere near the annual tax free allowance

  8. Carlos Loff says:

    Im a EU Portuguese citizen – In my case I worked on the UK 3 years ago, with Nat Ins Nr and remember at certain time I managed to stop paying emergency tax

    But I went back to Portugal for 3 years and just returned and got myself a job again on the UK, nevertheless being away prevented me from receiving a copy of my previous P45

    What can i do now to avoid paying emergency tax ???

    Many thanks

  9. Sandi says:

    I am a pensioner living in Spain and am now Tax Fiscal in Spain. I am about to cash-in my small personal pensions under the triviality rules in Uk. The companies say they will be taxing me on the emergency tax code. What can i do?
    Everything seems very complicated when you have money in both countries. Any advise would be appreciated.

  10. l_tahon@hotmail.com says:

    my son just started a new job last monday.He had to work a week in hand and this friday he will be payed for the first time as hes getting payed weekly but hes been put on emergency tax and will only bring home £170 .That is absolutely ridicoulous.Hes only on £6.25 an hour.He was working for Homebase before contracted for 12 hrs a week so hes hardly earned any money this year.How can this be allowed?Luc Tahon

  11. kieron holt says:

    i have given my employer my p46 and p45 but i am still paying emergency tax why?

  12. Mick Stephens says:

    My company payroll has misplaced my p45 and as a result i’ve been overtaxed (on a BR tax code) for the 3 months since i started my job. when its found and my tax code is applied can i claim back the whole ammount? and is it my works responsibility or HMRevenues sort me a rebate?

  13. Stephanie says:


    i have 2 jobs, my main one is full time and i am on tax code 647L. My second job is only 4-8 hours per week and i am on a BR tax code. is this right? and can i claim this back?


  14. jayne duggan says:

    my daughter is working 35 -40 hrs per week at 5.90 ph she only brings home £130 per week and it says br on her wage slip does that mean shes paying emergency tax

    • TaxFix says:

      jayne duggan: BR means that she is being taxed at the ‘basic rate’, often referred to as ’emergency tax’. Is this her only job? If so, I would contact her tax office and ask them to change her tax code. At the end of the tax year in April she would be able to claim back any overpayment of tax.

  15. Steve says:

    I’ve been pestering my work place for months that my tax code has to be changed from br to 647L but no one at pay roll seem to want to do anything. Can anyone else like the tax office change it for me?

    • TaxFix says:

      Steve: Yes, call your local tax office and tell them the situation, they can change your tax code with your employer. Remember to make a claim for any overpayment of emergency tax at the end of the tax year (April 5th) when you get your P60.

  16. Bren Blair says:

    Hi my daughter is 17 and had a christmas temp job lasting almost 2 weeks and to be paid the minimum wage per hour — I think about £4.91 – and she has been told she has had emergency tax taken out of her wages – is this right and can she claim it back? She hasn’t been employed by anyone before

    • TaxFix says:

      Bren Blair: Will she have earned less than £6,475 between April 6th 2010 and April 5th 2011? If so she can claim all her tax back at the end of the tax year. Was she given a P45 when she finished working? She will need this to make a claim.

  17. Zoe says:

    How much will i pay emergency tax on about 1100 for one month?

  18. Lara Betts says:

    My partner and I both worked a job in 2010 and have either miss placed our p45 ‘s p60 ‘s or they didn’t send them to us.

    We both need one of them for when we start back there. Is there anything we can do so that we are not put on an emergancy tax code when we start again?

    Will the company have a copy of p60 they can send to us?

    Will we need to re-fill all tax code info in? its the same situation as last year?

    PLEASE help , im going out of my mind with frustration of what i need to do…

    Thank you

  19. Ashleyne says:

    Hi i am on BR tax code and only have one job and did not have a p45 to give to my empployer so i filled out a p46 (dont know if employer sent it)
    I am only working part time of 12hrs so should be allowed personal allowance no tax?

    How do i change my tax code? Help!

    • TaxFix says:

      Ashleyne: At the end of the tax year in April you will be able to claim back any overpayment of tax. You can make your claim once you have your P60.

  20. Paul Hawkes says:

    Hi, I am working for a new employer.

    My last pay packet for my previous employer will be on the 22nd September for 3 days of September and my new company will pay me on the 25th September. This will not give me adequate time to get across my P45 to my new employer. My gross monthly salary will be £3041.66. How much tax will I pay on this on an emergency code?

    Many thanks


  21. Dominic Woods says:

    I worked on a Sunday in a pub for a few months and although this was a weekend job on minimum wage I still paid tax on it. ( I have subsequently managed to claim this back.)Despite repeated requests from myself to my previous employer they still have not provided me with a P45.
    Please can you advise me on how to avoid paying emergency tax again should I secure another job( if I cannot ever obtain the P45 from the first job)Thanking you in anticipation.

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