1250L Tax Code Meaning

If your payslip shows the 1250L tax code, then you’re on one of the most commonly used tax codes for 2020. In this guide, I’ll explain more about this code, including what it means, why it’s used and how to check it’s right for you.

About Tax Codes

A tax code is a numerical number, followed by a letter, that is issued by HMRC to your employer so they know how much tax they need to deduct from your salary.

HMRC have to issue it because they have all the information on your personal income and any deductions they need to take from you, meaning you can keep things confidential from your employer.

Your tax code lasts for one tax year* so both you and your employer will most likely receive a coding notice before the start of a new tax year.

* A tax year runs from the 6 April to 5 April each year

1250l Tax Code

Each code tells your employer how much tax to deduct and the 1250L tax code is used by people with one job and no work benefits like a company car or have one pension.

Every year, all UK residents are entitled to earn an amount tax-free known as a personal allowance. For both the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 tax years, this is £12,500. After this, you’ll pay income tax at 20% on your earnings up to £50,000 and 40% over that amount, until you reach £150,000 and have to pay 45%.

 2020/20212019/2020
Personal allowance 0%£12,500£12,500
Basic rate 20%£12,501 to £50,000£12,501 to £50,000
Higher rate 40%£50,001 and £150,000£50,001 and £150,000
Additional rate 45%over £150,000over £150,000

For the purposes of tax coding, HMRC removes the last digit and replaces it with a letter. In this case, the letter “L” has been used which means you’re entitled to the standard tax-free Personal Allowance

The 1250L tax code is a cumulative code. That means you’ll receive a portion of your personal allowance every time you get paid.

For example, if you are paid monthly, you’ll receive £1,041,67 (£12,500 ÷ 12) tax-free each month you get paid. That way by the end of the tax year, you’ll have received your personal allowance in full.

Or if you took a few months of work and had no other job during the tax year, you’ll receive all the personal allowance you are owed in your first payslip.

If your tax code ends W1 (week 1), M1 (month 1) or X, then you have been put on a non-cumulative or emergency tax code.

1250 W1, 1250 M1, 1250 X

If your tax code ends with the letter W1, M1 or X, then you’ve been put on an emergency tax code. This normally happens if you:

  • start a new job and not provided a P45
  • begin working for an employer after you’ve stopped self-employment
  • receive company benefits, like a company car
  • receiving the State Pension

Although emergency tax codes are temporary while the necessary information is put together, it does mean you’ll pay tax on all your income above the personal allowance and not receive any backlog of personal allowance you may be entitled to but haven’t used.

If you end the tax year on an emergency tax code, HMRC will add up how much tax you have paid and work out whether you owe anything at the end of the tax year.

They will then send you a notification letter called a P800 detailing what you are owed and how you’ll be repaid.

If you are registered for self-assessment, any money you are owed will be credited to your tax account.

How to Check If Your Tax Code Is Correct

If you think that you shouldn’t be on the 1250L tax code, then you can contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300. Alternatively, you can use the HMRC online checker, by logging into your Personal Tax Account.

Unfortunately, your employer may not be able to help you because they can only act on the information sent to them in the HMRC coding notice.

Tax Code 1250L and Self Employment

If you are employed with this tax code, your employer is giving you your personal allowance. That means all the profit you earn from your business will be taxed at your highest rate of tax.

When you complete your tax return, you’ll have to declare all your employment and self-employment income. But you’ll get credit for any tax you’ve paid in your employment.

Guide to Self Assessment

Why Did Your Tax Code Change from 1185L to 1250L?

The personal allowance in the tax year 2018/2019 was £11,850 and it has since changed to £12,500.

It means you are entitled to more tax-free pay and this change to your tax code ensures your employer passes that onto you.


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Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of www.goselfemployed.co - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.