There are many reasons why your employer might not know your tax code. It could be because you have been unable to submit your most recent P45 when you started your job; it could even be because an employer has failed to submit their copy of your P45 to HMRC when you left. If you have complicated tax affairs, such as several jobs or being self employed, this can also result in you being put on an emergency tax code.
An emergency tax code is represented by the letters BR on your payslip from your employer and on your tax code notice from HMRC. However, having a BR tax code doesn’t necessarily mean you are entitled to an emergency tax refund. Every worker is entitled to a tax-free personal allowance (£8105 for 2012-13 for workers under 65), which is either allocated to one job or split across several. It is this allowance which affects your tax code, and if it is allocated entirely to one job but you have another one, this will be taxed (correctly) using the BR tax code.
If your affairs are simpler, or you feel that you have been put on a BR tax code incorrectly however, you will be entitled to claim back the money overpaid through an emergency tax refund. As tax affairs can be notoriously complicated, you may need the help of professional tax agents to do this, which means you can leave them to do the hard part while you just wait to receive the money back. It can be surprising just how much you could have overpaid and most people find a tax rebate most welcome indeed – particularly at this time of year! A third of the UK’s population are entitled to a tax rebate – check your tax code today!