UK TAX, how does it work? London & UK Economy

In the UK the main taxes are: Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax etc. For the employee, the ones that interest the most are the Income Tax .

INCOME TAX / Your employer is responsible for deducting contributions from your salary. This system is called PAYE (pay as you earn). The deductions from the paycheck are the Income Tax, taxes paid to the government for health, transport, education, etc.

Each individual is assigned a Tax Code , an identification code of the income bracket above which the Income Tax begins to be paid. There are different tax codes, so it is advisable to consult the link for more information

Tax codes counts!

IT TAX CODE / Each employee is assigned a Tax Code made up of numbers – which represent what is due “tax free” or the “tax free allowance” – and letters – which represent, among other things, the age of the worker, his tax situation and other factors such as for example if you have two occupations. Example: In the 2015-2016 tax year up to £10,600 you pay no tax and if you qualify for this exemption and are a regular single occupation employee, the letter will be L. The Tax Code was therefore 1060L .

When you start a job in the UK for the first time or if you switch from self-employed to dependent employment, the tax agency is unaware of your previous earnings or tax history. For this reason it can automatically consider you subject to the higher tax band. It is likely that you have been assigned an EMERGENCY TAX CODE .

The  emergency codes  are:

  • 1060L W1
  • 1060L M1
  • 1060L X

If you find one of these emergency codes on your pay  slip,  you must first contact your employer. If they cannot help you by updating your status, then you will need to apply for a refund online using these links: and -taken-from-your-pay . 

Salary brackets

Or you can contact HMRC (the revenue agency) directly on the following numbers:

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3300
  • Textphone: 0300 200 3319
  • Outside UK: +44 135 535 9022

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm.

It is advisable to call before 10am.

Generally the repayment takes place in a very short time (1-2 months) and can be either through a bank check or through the next paycheck. 

The following link instead contains useful information and income brackets

For the 2016/2017 tax year – the tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April of the following year – EARNINGS OF UP TO £11,000  GROSS A YEAR ARE FULLY TAX FREE ! Anything earned over this threshold is subject to tax:

  • from £11,000 up to £43,000 tax is 20%
  • £43,001 to £150,000 gross tax is 40%
  • over £150,000 gross tax is 45%

For example, Mr Smith has an annual gross salary of £45,000. After deducting the first £11,000 which is tax free, there will be £34,000 left to be taxed. Total taxes are 0% tax on the first £11,000, 20% on the next £32,000 and 40% on earnings from £43,001 to £45,000.

Your tax free excess may change – any changes can be found at .

National Insurance Number (NIN)

National Insurance cannot properly be considered a tax, it is in fact social security contributions that finance the payment of social security benefits such as pension, sickness, unemployment, etc.

The NI is calculated on the gross weekly salary:

  • up to £155 a week (approximately £8060 a year) you pay no NI
  • for wages of £155 to £827 per week (£672 to £3,583 per month) NI is 12%
  • for wages over £827 per week ( £3,583 per month) the NI is 2%.


Your employer will issue you the payslip each month , which will indicate the gross salary , the net salary and the various deductions made. You can also be paid weekly.


P45 summarizes taxes and contributions paid. It is issued by the employer when an employment contract ends. It is divided into three parts: the first part is sent by the employer to HMRC (the revenue agency), part 1A is for the employee, part 2 and 3 must be delivered to the new employer.

The P46 , if you are at your first job you will not have a P45 to deliver as soon as you are hired. In this case your employer will give you the P46 to fill out.

The P60 annually summarizes the salaries received and the taxes paid and the contributions paid, it is delivered at the end of the fiscal year (5 April). It should be kept as it may be required in the future.

Self Employed

If you are self-employed, it will be your responsibility to file your Self-Assessment . Again, information on this is available on the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs website: .

An ON-LINE form Tax Return ) must be completed. The deadline is January 31st of the year following the end of the fiscal year.

Example: fiscal year from 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017, the return must be completed and sent by 31 January 2018.

For information (on deadlines, assistance, etc.): .

Council Tax

The Council Tax is the municipal tax. Police finance, waste collection, libraries, etc.

In some cases the Council Tax will be included in your rent, and paid by the landlord. If you want to check the amount of the fee check the following link .

It is important to know the amount of the Council Tax when deciding to rent a house. Some discounts can be obtained: for example, if you live alone in a house, you can ask for a 25% discount on the value of the Council Tax. There are also some exemptions; children under the age of 18 are not considered as occupants under the Council Tax; 18- and 19-year-old students or full-time college or university students ; caregivers for the elderly or sick who live in the home; etc.

For more information: