Pay As You Earn

Auto-enrolment pensions

I’ve been dragging my feet on this one (sorry), but I have finally added an option to the Salary Calculator for auto-enrolment pensions, which employers are obliged to offer to eligible employees if there is not already an employer pension scheme. These pensions involve a percentage being deducted from your pay, but only on what you earn over a certain threshold (£6,032 for the tax year from April 2018). There is also an upper threshold, above which deductions are not taken – £46,350 for the April 2018 tax year.

To use the new option, enter your details in to The Salary Calculator. On the Pension tab, select the “Auto-enrolment” option and enter the percentage of your salary that you will be contributing. Click “Go!” to see the results.

Auto-enrolment pensions also require your employer to contribute to your pension, but I have not yet added this to The Salary Calculator – so enter only the percentage that you will be contributing (your employer’s contribution does not affect your take-home pay).

From 6th April 2018 the minimum amount employees are required to pay into their auto-enrolment pension increases from 1% of their pay to 3% (and from April 2019 it increases further to 5%). This can make quite a difference to your take-home pay – try it out on the Salary Calculator and see what a difference it makes!

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None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

April 2018 tax rates

The Salary Calculator has been updated, and the new tax information which takes effect from 6th April 2018 has been applied. The personal allowance has been increased from £11,500 to £11,850, meaning you can earn an extra £350 tax-free per year. The thresholds between tax bands have also been increased.

In Scotland, new tax bands have been introduced, making income tax calculations quite different from in the rest of the UK. There are 5 tax rates, 19%, 20%, 21%, 41% and 46%, compared to just three in the rest of the UK (20%, 40% and 45%). The result of this difference is that lower earners North of the border can save as much as £20 per year compared to the rest of the UK, but with higher earners potentially paying quite a bit more in Scotland than they would if they were based elsewhere in the UK. The point at which Scottish earners go from paying less to paying more tax is a salary of about £26,000.

You can try out the April 2018 tax rates for yourself by choosing “2018 / 19” in the Tax Year drop-down on The Salary Calculator. You can also see a side-by-side comparison of 2017 and 2018 with the 2017 and 2018 income tax comparison page.

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New – Election Calculator 2017

With a General Election on the way, The Salary Calculator’s Election Calculator has been updated with the latest campaign proposals from the main parties. This allows you to see an estimate of how the different parties’ policies might affect you if they come to power. Right now, only the 3 parties Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats have produced their manifestos with details of their taxation plans. When other parties such as The Green Party and UKIP reveal their plans, the calculator will be updated.

As explained on the Election Calculator itself, this is a simplified version of The Salary Calculator, and some estimates and assumptions have had to be made. Also, of course, income tax and National Insurance are only some of the ways that governments can raise revenue, and other policy proposals may affect your financial situation. With that in mind, check out the 2017 Election Calculator.

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Spring Budget 2017

Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will deliver his Spring Budget. It is not expected that there will be any big surprises – no big changes in policy. However, he will be laying the groundwork for a further budget in the Autumn, which is likely to include more significant changes. This is the last Spring Budget, as future budget announcements will take place in the Autumn.

Changes to your take home pay from April 2017 have already been announced and you can compare 2016 and 2017 tax years on The Salary Calculator tax year comparison. The personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free) has been increased by £500 to £11,500 and the threshold for higher rate tax has increased by a further £1,500.

Perhaps the biggest change this year is the introduction of different income tax in Scotland – the Scottish Parliament’s budget controls the thresholds and rates for those who live North of the border, and from April 2017 different thresholds apply. The threshold for higher rate tax (£43,000 in the default case) is not increasing in Scotland, whereas in the rest of the UK it will be £45,000. This means that those earning over this threshold will pay more tax if they live in Scotland than if they live elsewhere. You can see this difference in The Salary Calculator if you enter a Scottish tax code or tick the box for Scottish residents (remember to choose the 2017/18 tax year in the drop down box!).

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April 2017 tax rates and Scottish income tax

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the new Income Tax and National Insurance rates which will apply from 6th April 2017. The tax-free personal allowance has been raised by £500 to £11,500, allowing you to take home more of your hard-earned cash without having to pay income tax. Income tax rates have stayed the same, but there is a change to the thresholds between the basic rate (20%) and higher rate (40%) tax bands.

For the first time, from April 2017, income tax will be different if you are resident in Scotland than if you live in the rest of the UK. The Scottish rates of income tax will be set by the Scottish Government rather than by the UK Government in Westminster. For UK income tax, the threshold to 40% tax has gone up to £45,000 (assuming you have the full personal allowance) – but in Scotland, the threshold stays where it was last year at £43,000. Since the increased personal allowance applies both sides of the border, almost everyone will be better off from April 2017 than they were this year – but those earning over £43,000 in Scotland could be as much as £400 worse off over the year compared to if they lived in the rest of the UK. More information about the introduction of the Scottish income tax is available from the Scottish Government.

Head over to The Salary Calculator and choose the 2017/18 tax year to see the difference to you – or try the side-by-side comparison of 2016 and 2017 take home.

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