Pensions

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.

Budget 2016

Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver his annual budget to the Houses of Parliament. We have already heard about some possible announcements (such as the introduction of a scheme to help people increase their savings), and we have been told that there will be no changes to pension tax relief (which looked likely, for a while).

From 6th April, the new tax year means changes to tax-free personal allowances, tax thresholds and the like. The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest values so you can see what your payslip will look like from April onwards. The personal allowance has been increased to £11,000 per year, which will reduce the tax due for most people. There are changes to National Insurance this year, too – since it is no longer possible for a pension to be “contracted-out” (earning a reduction in NI contributions), those of you who had one of these pensions will be paying the full NI contributions from 6th April.

If you would like to see how these changes will affect you, head over to The Salary Calculator to see what difference it will make to your payslip!

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2016 Tax rates available!

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest tax rates, which take effect from 6th April 2016 – so you can now see how the changes will affect you. Just head over to The Salary Calculator – 2016 take home pay calculator, enter your details and remember to choose the “2016/17” tax year in the drop-down box.

The tax-free personal allowance has been increased by £400, which will reduce the amount of tax most people pay. However, from April 2016 those who have been paying into a pension scheme which is “contracted out” of the additional state pension will find that their National Insurance contributions go up. This is because from April it will no longer be possible to contract out of the pension, so the National Insurance reduction that this gave you no longer applies.

You can try out the 2015 and 2016 take home comparison calculator and see side-by-side how your payslip is likely to change in the new tax year.

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2014 Budget

Later today, the Chancellor will deliver his 2014 Budget to parliament, setting out his plans for the next few years. The Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to explain his policies and how they will affect the economy as a whole, and also what differences will be felt by ordinary members of the public.

He is likely to make much of the fact that the tax-free personal allowance (how much you can earn without paying income tax) has increased to £10,000 from April 2014, a coalition pledge delivered 1 year early. There is also talk that he might announce plans to raise the threshold for 40% tax (the amount at which you start paying income tax at 40% rather than 20%) in future years. This would probably lower the tax paid by those in middle management positions, say, and those in more senior roles.

The income tax and National Insurance rates which will take effect from 6th April 2014 have already been applied to The Salary Calculator, so you can easily see how your take home pay will be affected by the new tax year. You can also view a side-by-side comparison of 2013 and 2014 so you can see where the differences come from.

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Salary sacrifice and personal pensions

For many years, The Salary Calculator has allowed you to enter a percentage of your salary to be deducted as contributions to a pension. However, only employer (or occupational) pensions have been supported. Now, the calculator has been updated to allow you to specify whether your contributions are to an employer pension (as before), a salary sacrifice scheme, or a personal pension.

These three different types of pensions have different regulations applied to them, which means they affect your take-home pay in different ways. Your income tax, National Insurance contributions and even student loan deductions might be different depending on the type of pension scheme you are paying into. More information about the different pension types is on The Salary Calculator “About” page.

Choose the “Pension” tab on The Salary Calculator to see the new options and see how it affects your take-home pay!

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