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Your tax reference number indicates which employer you are working for, and appears on your payslip or letters from HMRC. Though they sound the same, a tax reference number shouldn’t be confused with a Unique Taxpayer Reference. They are separate numbers, relating to different things.

Where does a tax reference number come from?

Employers register for Pay As You Earn so that they can deduct National Insurance and income tax from employees each time they pay them. Registering for the PAYE scheme generates a PAYE reference number (also known as an employer reference).

It’s this number that employers give to their employees, so they can identify their employer if they talk to HMRC. Employers also refer to it in their own dealings with HMRC.

Where can I find my tax reference number?

There are several places you can find your tax reference number. These include:


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What will the tax reference look like?

The tax reference shown on your paperwork starts with three numbers. These are followed by numbers, letters, or a combination of both.

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About The Author

Beth-Anne Karellen

I'm an experienced and fully AAT and ACCA qualified accountant, who is enthusiastic about helping business owners succeed. I also love cooking and needlepoint (at different times!). Learn more about Beth.

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lynn Holmes
lynn Holmes
16th November 2015 12:36 pm

How can I find my tax Referance No I havnt worked for a No of years now and have lost all No .

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