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Tax code- was 850L CUMUL- now suddenly 'BR'..Why?

(28 Posts)
Erebus Sat 19-Jan-13 19:24:20

Boring Q, sorry! I am an NHS worker and have been for years. My tax code changed a few years back as I routinely claim pre-agreed allowances like professional society membership, uniform washing etc, so I gather they changed my code to allow me a higher 'tax free' allowance to take thsi into account so I don't have to individually claim any more..

Suddenly today I got a letter today saying: Your new tax code for the year April '13 to '14 is "BR" '.

Wot? Doesn't that stand for Basic Rate? And is 'BR' an entire code or is something, like a number missing from it?

Surely this is a mistake?!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 19-Jan-13 19:26:41

Do you have a second job?

Snowballed Sat 19-Jan-13 21:19:40

If your circumstances haven't changed recently and you don't owe HMRC a large amount of money - then it is more than likely wrong.

You will be paying a lot more tax on the BR coding as it means you effectively have no tax free allowance.

You need to contact your HR department and/or your payroll team. As Snowballed said, if your circumstances haven't changed and you don't owe a lot, it doesn't sound right at all. We get this sometimes at work when someone has started with us recently and we haven't had their P45 yet. If that's the case you should be able to complete a P46 to speed the process up.

coolkat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:29:24

Contact hmrc - payroll can't change anything without notification from them. smile

MrAnchovy Sun 20-Jan-13 01:10:53

I presume this letter is from HMRC (a "notice of coding"). BR is an entire code, it means that the employer named on the form will have to deduct tax at the Basic Rate from everything they pay you from April.

Only HMRC can explain why they have done this, they usually provide some information on the notice, otherwise you need to ring them on the number provided on the notice.

AmandinePoulain Sun 20-Jan-13 01:16:11

I had this a few years ago - I'm also employed by the NHS. I phoned my tax office who for some unknown reason had decided that I had 2 jobs - in fact that I was doing my actual job, but twice. No one questioned why I was doing the same number if hours for the same employer for the same salary when they entered all this in their computer hmm; it was sorted with one phone call though.

Erebus Sun 20-Jan-13 11:52:19

OK, thanks all.

My employment circumstances haven't changed on iota, still doing just the one part time job (though it often feels like more grin).

I will give the tax office and payroll a ring tomorrow. I note that due to a merger of two hospitals into one Trust our payroll has also amalgamated. The balls up could be there.

But, deep in my soul, I do wonder how hard it can be to just do your job properly. I mean, check someone's code for the last 7 years, look to see if you have any documentation whatsoever that implies this person has changed their job/hours/taken on another job/stopped working before arbitrarily reassigning a tax-code that will do them over if they hadn't spotted it!

As it is when I started with them, 10 years ago, recently arrived from abroad they gave me a BR tax code, which was fair enough, but I notified them and they changed it to a 'proper' code- then several months later I noted it had mysteriously reverted to BR- and had been so for 6 months! They owed me quite a lot of back tax.

Erebus Sun 20-Jan-13 11:54:18

Amusingly, the 'explanation' letter with my new coding says:

"Why do I need a new tax code?"
You need a tax code so your employer or pension provider can take the right amount of tax from your income.

Um- do they think that actually answered the posed question??!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jan-13 15:31:02

Tax Codes are one of the Dark Arts as far as I'm concerned. It's because HMRC managed to mess mine around so spectacularly a few years ago that I stopped trying to challenge them, went self-assessment and have never regretted it!

Hope you get it sorted out between your payroll team and HMRC.

Erebus Sun 20-Jan-13 16:01:34

Cogito- can I opt to go 'self-assessment'? Or am I bound by being in the NHS behemoth? PAYE, I think it's called.

If I can, how do I tell them? How does the process 'work'? I tell HMRC that I'll self assess, and do so, then do they tell my payroll how much to tax me? Or does my payroll tax me anyway (at BR if I let this one go!) and get a rebate (or a bill!- not very likely) to make up the difference of what they reckon and what I tell them?

As I mentioned, I was recoded as a result of sending in 4 or 5 years worth of 'what I can claim' notices (my union sends them to us) to the taxman 2 or 3 years ago, so I don't claim these allowances now but, tbh, they may well have gone up, I wouldn't know if my tax code reflects that.

Thanks.

BillyBollyDandy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:04:45

Speak to your payroll. If they have told HMRC that you have another job, or they have included you as an employee twice (on both payrolls for the amalgamated hospital for example, it is not uncommon to have 2 payrolls still) then they are operating on the information given.

You are an employee I assume so will pay PAYE. You can't opt or SA. You come under SA if you are self employed or have other income to declare generally.

OneHandFlapping Sun 20-Jan-13 16:06:39

Even if you do self assessment, you are still subject to PAYE on your earnings, using whichever tax code HMRC have supplied.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 20-Jan-13 16:42:13

A tax-code is still issued but, after you complete your self-assessment, you either get a rebate or you have to pay the shortfall. Anyone can opt to self-assess but most people don't if their taxes are PAYE, basic rate and generally uncomplicated.

BillyBollyDandy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:47:55

Sorry what I mean is that you would still pay PAYE even if you went into SA.

specialsubject Sun 20-Jan-13 18:08:41

'I note that due to a merger of two hospitals into one Trust our payroll has also amalgamated. The balls up could be there.'

make that WILL BE. Someone in the admin dept has fouled up and put you on emergency tax code. They may have lost your records or marked you as 'new starter with no P45/P46'. Contact them and explain in nice simple terms.

you will get the overpayment back but it can take a while.

Erebus Mon 21-Jan-13 18:24:30

Thanks, all. I will be contacting payroll tomorrow to see what explanation they've come up with!

Erebus Fri 25-Jan-13 09:25:50

special- correct.

The tax office are using my old NHS Trust as being my employer and the new (amalgamated) one as my second job....

Put them straight this morning! And will contact our Trust 'Communications' (weekly e-newsletter) to ask them to get everyone to check their new tax code!

Erebus Fri 25-Jan-13 11:11:21

Now I just need the 'User ID' and 'password' as set and sent to me by The Government Gateway to actually work on the Government Gateways' own Log In page and I shall be set. God only KNOWS how an elderly person could access these offices online. There are so far 3 different 'codes' and IDs, all of which are at least 12 numbers and digits long. And they don't work.

MrAnchovy Fri 25-Jan-13 20:02:03

"Now I just need the 'User ID' and 'password' as set and sent to me by The Government Gateway to actually work on the Government Gateways' own Log In page and I shall be set."

I wouldn't hold your breath. Nothing will appear there for anything that happened since March 2012 until May at the earliest.

Erebus Fri 25-Jan-13 21:35:00

Couldn't even log on. Someone is allegedly calling me at home next Tuesday but without the ability to 'remote' to my PC, I can't see what they can do!

I want to look at my Pension forecast but it's too complex for me to do myself as I can't remember which complete tax years I paid NI in the UK and when I was abroad. I was rather hoping they'd know.

MrAnchovy Fri 25-Jan-13 23:15:12

Beware that the code they sent you is an "activation code", not your password. You enter the activation code after you have logged in using the User ID they sent you and the password you chose when you signed up.

Yes you can get a pension forecast which will be based on HMRC records of your contributions.

SanityClause Fri 25-Jan-13 23:23:43

Even "going self assessment" doesn't work IME.

Recently a client of mine received a tax bill based on an estimated tax Shortfall, even though he had completed a tax return showing that the estimate was incorrect. HMRC have so far refused to alter the tax bill, as apparently the actual information does not override the estimate by HMRC! confused

Erebus Sat 26-Jan-13 08:48:01

Anchovy- yes, the activation code was one of many I had to enter. I was so full of hope when it worked and I appeared to be ready to go - but then the username I chose (which seems originally to have been accepted) or my password wasn't OK so I went through the shenanigan to get a new password, one they set- and lo. No chance.

And yes, sanity it is actually rather chilling how these government agencies are legally allowed to work. Obviously someone, somewhere decided that anarchy might ensue unless their word was always final, however wrong. I recall, for instance, when you couldn't dispute a parking fine unless you paid it first, and, possession being 9/10ths of the law etc...

And the final, big one- if you are found guilty of a crime, locked away- then new evidence proves that it couldn't have been you and you're released, apparently your criminal record doesn't get wiped! You have to go through a lengthy, expensive process for that to happen! And the prisons 'service' can charge you board and lodging for the time you were inside! So it hardly comes as a surprise that their guess at your tax liability trumps the actual facts of it.

MrAnchovy Sat 26-Jan-13 12:41:53

"the username I chose (which seems originally to have been accepted"

But you don't choose your user name - they issue you with a User ID and you have to use that. Getting a new password won't work because whatever you are entering as the User ID is not the User ID they sent you.

Erebus Sat 26-Jan-13 15:17:51

Surely the user ID they sent is the umpteen number one?

I am using the 12 digit number on a credit card like thing that came through the post a couple of days ago complete with a separate 'activation code' which I activated.

I reset my password as I couldn't believe the log in wasn't accepting my ID, seeing as it's on a bit of plastic from them, they chose my new password (6 numbers/digits given on the site, 6 more emailed to me- you combine them...) but the screen is still telling me 'there is one or more errors in your user ID or password.

So I dunno!

MrAnchovy Sun 27-Jan-13 01:34:03

"I am using the 12 digit number on a credit card like thing that came through the post a couple of days ago complete with a separate 'activation code' which I activated."

Yes, that's the one.

"I reset my password as I couldn't believe the log in wasn't accepting my ID, seeing as it's on a bit of plastic from them, they chose my new password (6 numbers/digits given on the site, 6 more emailed to me- you combine them...) but the screen is still telling me 'there is one or more errors in your user ID or password."

Sounds like it is really broken then sad You could take up their offer of a 'phone call from wherever they have their support centre these days or use a different email account and start again.

Erebus Sun 27-Jan-13 10:38:06

Yes, I'm thinking of starting from scratch as what I've 'achieved' so far has been a big, fat, fail! I can't see how anyone calling me can sort it out, tbh.

As I've said, I would be happy to do a DIY forecast but I don't have the necessary accurate records of when I paid NI and how much; I'd've assumed the tax and pensions people do have those records filed under my NI number!

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