Most of us know that income tax is charged at three main rates: 20%, 40% and 45%.
Unfortunately, there are certain levels of income that trigger a loss of benefits or allowances as well as a charge to income tax. Because of this, the percentage rate of tax charged can be higher than the underlying rate of income tax. For example:
Joe’s taxable earnings have always been under £100,000, however, for 2018-19 Joe estimates that his income will be £123,700. Bad news…
As soon as income for tax purposes exceeds £100,000 Joe loses part of his tax personal allowance (£11,850 for 2018-19). In fact, for every £2 that his income exceeds £100,000 he will lose £1 of this allowance. This means that as soon as income is equal to or higher than £123,700 the personal tax allowance is no longer available. Taking this into account, Joe’s tax bill on the top £23,700 of his income is 40% (£9,480) plus, 40% of the lost allowance - a further £4,600. In total, Joe retains just £9,200 of his £23,000 income (£23,000 - £9,200 - £4,740). His percentage tax charge is therefore 60% on this marginal band of income between £100,000 and £123,700.
Similar, marginal rates apply if:
- your income moves above the threshold where working tax or child tax credits cease to be available,
- a higher paid parent’s income tops £50,000 for the first time, at which point child benefits would be under threat, or
- those with incomes in excess of £150,000, paying income tax at 45%, will find the tax relief they can claim for pension contributions will be reduced.
To avoid or lessen the impact of these marginal rate charges you will need to discuss the possibility of reducing your income below the trigger points. There are various strategies that can be employed to achieve this, including the sacrifice of salary for non-tax benefits such as increased employer pension contributions or longer holidays.
Time to rethink your remuneration strategy?
If you are concerned that you may be drifting towards these higher marginal rates of income tax, now is the perfect time to reconsider the way you structure your remuneration package. Please call if you would like our help to do this.