Last updated January 2023

A tax code is a string of numbers and letters that tells your employer how your earnings should be taxed. You get one for each Pay As You Earn (PAYE) job you have, and it’s important to keep track of them. Any time your tax code changes, HMRC will alter the Income Tax you’re paying each year.

If you’ve got a 1257L tax code for your job, you’re in good company. This is the basic code that most people paying tax through the PAYE system will have. It breaks down like this:

  • The number 1257 means that you have the normal tax-free Personal Allowance of £12,570 attached to this job.
  • The letter L just means there are no special circumstances affecting the tax you pay for this job.