personal allowance

Our guide to unpacking tax jargon

by Madaline Dunn

When it comes to tax, many people often feel intimidated and confused by the jargon used to explain certain terms and concepts. Of course, people must understand the ins and outs of tax jargon themselves because their personal finances can be affected by tax changes.

At The Salary Calculator, we’re here to make sure that you’re all clued up on the meanings behind complex tax jargon.

This article will go through some of the most common words and phrases used when discussing personal tax. So, don’t sweat it; you’ll know the score in no time at all.

Tax terms explained

Agent: This term refers to, usually, an accountant or advisor, who an individual appoints to take care of issues and processes related to HMRC on their behalf.

Annuity: This is a type of retirement income product that pays an individual a fixed payment stream.

Capital Gains Tax: This is a type of tax that is applied to the profits an individual earns in the sale of an asset. It is charged at a flat rate of 18%.

Defined Benefit Pension: Otherwise known as a “final salary” pension, this is the traditional pension plan that pays out a retirement income, calculated based on one’s salary and the number of years they’ve worked.

Defined Contribution Pension: Also referred to as a “money purchase” pension, this is a pension savings product that allows employers and employees to contribute and invest funds to build the pension money pot. 

Earned Income: This refers to the income that an individual receives from employment, self-employment or directorships. This includes wages, salary, tips, bonuses, and commissions.

Foreign Income: This is the income an individual receives from work or services performed outside of the UK. Income received from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is also classified as foreign income.

Individuals must pay income tax on foreign income if it comes from:

  • Wages earned abroad
  • Foreign investment
  • Overseas properties
  • Overseas pensions

HMRC: This is an abbreviation that stands for HM Revenue & Customs and is a non-ministerial department responsible for dealing with tax and financial obligations.

Income Tax: This refers to the tax that the government levies on an individual’s personal income. Once income exceeds the personal allowance, an individual will pay tax. The amount of tax they pay will vary depending on earnings. 

Inflation: This is an economic term that refers to the rate at which goods and services rise.

Inheritance Tax: This is the tax an individual pays when they have inherited money or property from someone who has died. The standard inheritance tax rate is 40%. However, this is only charged once an individual’s estate exceeds £325000.

IR35: This is a piece of UK tax legislation that exists to identify contractors and businesses that avoid tax by working as “disguised” employees.

Minimum Wage: The National Minimum Wage is the minimum amount of money an employer must pay an employee per hour. These rates vary depending on age and role. The current rates are:

  • National living wage for employees aged 23 and over: £8.91
  • Age 21-22: £8.36
  • Age 18-20: £6.56
  • Under 16-17: £4.62
  • Apprentices: £4.30

National Insurance (NI) Contributions: Employees and self-employed workers must make National Insurance (NI) contributions if they are over 16-years-old. The amount of NI contributions you make impact your entitlement to state benefits. Individuals must complete at least 35 years of NI contributions to get the full new state pension.

There are a few different types of NI contributions, this includes:

  • Class 1 contributions are made by employees who earn £183 a week, who are below the State Pension age
  • Class 2 contributions are made by self-employed workers who earn £6,515 or more per year
  • Class 3 contributions are voluntary contributions made by individuals to fill in contribution gaps
  • Class 4 contributions are made by self-employed workers who earn £9,569 or more per year

PAYE – “Pay As You Earn”: This was introduced way back in 1944 refers to the system through which employers deduct income tax and National Insurance contributions from employees’ salary and send it to HMRC. It’s calculated based on earnings and eligibility for personal allowance.

Personal Allowance: This is the amount of money an individual can earn before they are taxed. The personal allowance amount for 2021/22 is £12,570. It will be frozen at this amount until 5 April 2026.

P45: When an individual stops working for their employer, their employer must give them a P45. This outlines the amount of tax an individual paid on their earnings in the tax year and their tax code.

A P45 is made up of 4 different sections:

  • Part 1, an employer must send to HMRC
  • Part 1A is given to the former employee for their records
  • Part 2 and 3 are for the individuals’ new employer

P60: This is the form that a worker receives each year, outlining the amount of money earned in a year. It also states the amount of National Insurance contributions made and the amount of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax. 

Self Assessment: This is the system used by HMRC to calculate and collect income tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions. Self-employed and freelance workers must submit a self-assessment form for each tax year.

Starter checklist (formerly the P46 form): This is the form that replaces the P45 form in cases where their former employer did not give an individual one.

Take-home Pay: Take-home pay, otherwise known as net pay, is the amount of money an individual receives per month after tax and any other deductions have been made.

Tax Code: In the UK, everyone paid via the PAYE scheme is allotted a tax code from HMRC, which indicates how much tax must be deducted. The most common tax code appears as a set of numbers followed by a suffix. 

Tax Credits: This is a type of government benefit payout given to individuals who receive lower incomes. This benefit comes in two forms, working tax credits and child tax credits.

Tax Rebate: This is a refund of tax given to an individual when they have overpaid tax.

Tax Year: This is the time period covered by a tax return. It begins on 6 April and ends the following 5 April.

Unique Taxpayer Reference: This is a 10-digit number issued to every taxpayer in the UK.

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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.

Changes to pensions in 2021

by Madaline Dunn

The new tax year brings with it some significant changes to finances. One area affected is pensions. 

It’s important to keep in the loop about pension changes because it can mean that either your finances take a hit or you potentially see a boost!

At The Salary Calculator, we’ll make sure you’re up to date with all the latest information. In this article we’ll explore:

  • What annual allowance is
  • Whether any changes have been made to pension tax relief
  • What changes have been made to lifetime allowance (LTA)
  • Whether state pensions have been boosted
  • How employer contributions work

What is Annual Allowance?

Annual allowance refers to the total amount of pension contributions an individual can make each year while receiving tax relief. This includes contributions made by the individual, employer, and any other third party.

The annual allowance is capped at £40,000. If you exceed this amount, you will be taxed at the highest rate of income tax that you pay.

The Tapered Annual Allowance (TAA) was introduced back in 2016 and applies to high earners. For the tax year 2021/2022, the limit for threshold income and adjusted income is being increased to £200,000 and £240,000, respectively.

Are there any changes to pension tax relief?

Pension tax relief is applied to any governmental top-up contributions made to your pension.

If you are eligible for pension tax relief, the amount of relief you will receive is determined by the highest rate of income tax that you pay. So:

  • Those who are basic-rate taxpayers receive 20% pension tax relief
  • Those who are higher-rate taxpayers receive 40% pension tax relief
  • Those who are additional-rate taxpayers receive 45% pension tax relief

Those who earn under the Personal Tax Allowance (£12,570) are not eligible for pension tax relief.

No changes have been made to pension tax relief.

What are the changes to Lifetime Allowance (LTA)?

When it comes to pensions, the good news is that you can save as much as you want for your golden days. 

The amount of money you accumulate from all pension schemes in a lifetime before taxation is called your pension lifetime allowance (LTA). This was introduced back in 2006, and from 2021 through 2022, the LTA is £1,073,100.

In March, it was announced that LTA would be frozen at this limit until 2026, and it is estimated that the Treasury will generate £990m from this freeze.

Of course, LTA does not apply to everyone. An individual can work out whether or not it is relevant to them by calculating the expected value of their pension payout. To make this calculation, head over here.

If your pension pot exceeds the LTA, you will be charged 25% if it’s withdrawn as income. Alternatively, if it is withdrawn as a cash lump sum, it will be taxed at 55%.

Have state pensions been boosted?

In line with the triple lock ruling, state pensions have been boosted. On 6 April 2021, the state pension increased by 2.5%. That’s an increase of £4.40, bringing the weekly total to £179.60. Annually this works out as £9,339.20.

That said, you will only receive the full state pension amount if you have 35 years of National Insurance (NI) contributions.

Those who reached the state pension age before 2016 will receive the basic state pension, which is slightly less and boosted from £134.25 a week to £137.60.

How do employer pension contributions work?

In line with the Pensions Act 2008, an employer must offer a pension scheme to eligible employees and automatically enroll them once they have commenced employment. Employers must also make contributions to their employees’ pension scheme.

Currently, the minimum amount that an employer must contribute is 3%, and this has remained unchanged.

 

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Monday, May 10th, 2021 Pensions No Comments

What you need to know about the new 1257L tax code

by Madaline Dunn

The world of tax can sometimes feel confusing. That said, it’s essential to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest tax changes. 

At The Salary Calculator, we’re here to help you every step of the way. So, there’s no need to worry.

One of the recent tax changes is the introduction of the new 1257L tax code. In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What the 1257L tax code is
  • What the numbers and letters mean
  • Who the tax code applies to 
  • The amount of tax you must pay under the 1257L tax code
  • What to do if you think you have the wrong tax code

What is the 1257L tax code?

The 1257L tax code informs employers or pension providers how much tax you owe the government each month. It’s the most common tax code for 2021/22 and can be found on your payslip.

In line with finance minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement in March 2021, this tax code is expected to stay the same until 2026.

The tax code for the previous year was 1250L.

What do the numbers and letters mean?

Understanding the numbers and letters within the tax code is pretty straightforward. They indicate:

  • The amount of tax-free income you are entitled to
  • The amount of tax you must pay above the personal allowance
  • Whether other circumstances must be considered

The number 1257 refers to the £12,570 personal allowance, and the letter L entitles you to a standard tax-exempt personal allowance.

An emergency tax code is indicated by the letters “W1”, “M1”, or “X” and is used in a number of situations. 

If an individual begins a new job, starts receiving a state pension, or begins working for an employer after a stint of self-employment, these letters will be attached to their tax code.

Who does the tax code apply to?

The 1257L tax code is typically used for individuals who have one registered employment, with no unpaid tax, tax-exempt income or taxable benefits.

How much tax must I pay under the 1257L tax code?

If an individual has the 1257L tax code, they can earn £12,570 before they are taxed. Per month this allowance works out as £1,047.

Above this threshold, individuals will be taxed on income earned. So, if you earn between £12,571 and £50,270, you will be taxed at the basic rate of 20%. 

Meanwhile, earnings within the bracket of £50,271 and £150,000 are taxed at the higher rate of 40%.  If you earn over £150,000, you’ll be taxed the additional rate of 45%.

What if I think I have the wrong tax code?

There are a number of legitimate reasons why your tax code may not be 1257L. That said, sometimes mix-ups happen, and you can end up with the wrong tax code. This can happen if you’ve recently changed jobs or if you’ve started a new job while receiving your pension.

Whatever the reason, if you think your tax code is wrong, it’s easy to fix. All you need to do is reach out to HMRC and tell them as soon as you spot the mistake. 

Contact HMRC either by phone on 0300 200 3300 or speak to an adviser via the HMRC Webchat.

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Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 Income Tax No Comments

Self-Employed Sole Traders in the new tax year – where do you start?

by Admin

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The new tax year started on the 6th April – that we do know for sure.

At times it felt like everything else changed and at a very quick pace. Our world slowed down – working from home where possible, home schooling our children the #StayHomeSaveLives were on windows with rainbows.

People settled into ways of working from home with daily routines including video calls to keep connected with fellow employees, following pop quizzes on the radio or simply taking time to reflect. Kids following PE lessons, craft tutorials and Disney princesses via online platforms while parents worked.

As this way of life continues for the foreseeable how can you be more productive?

One main cause for concern is money, knowing your financial stance helps you plan for the future. By getting ready to calculate your 2019-20 tax return – you will have your income and tax liability ready.

Digital copies of receipts and paperwork can be saved allowing for a clear out of the home office.

Whilst you do not have to submit right now, being safe in the knowledge of your outgoings for tax means you can then focus on sales and plan for the future.

The government stepped up and offered financial support

As the pandemic picked up pace and businesses were restricted by the Government the self-employed sat waiting and hoping they would be thrown a life-line. Chancellor Rishi Sunak gave them the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The scheme is open to self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership who:

  • Have submitted their Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19.
  • Traded in the year 2019-20
  • Are trading when they apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • They intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • They have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

For a further in-depth review of the scheme please follow the link above or visit www.gov.uk

Please note you had until 23rd April 2020 to file your 2018-19 self-assessment tax return to be eligible for this scheme.

A further helping hand was offered for anyone who uses Payments on Account, they will have their normal payment due on 31st July deferred –  this payment won’t be due until 31st January 2021.

Another deferral was that of the VAT payments due before 30th June 2020, these will now not need to be made until 31st March 2021. However you will be required to file your VAT return.

There were earlier announcements made by the Chancellor in March 2020 with an emergency £330bn financial package to bolster the UK economy. These included a business rates holiday and for struggling firms, loans.

There were postponements too for the controversial tax reforms to off-payroll working rules, more commonly known as IR35 – these have been postponed until April 2021 to help ease some strain from the pandemic and the effect it is having on businesses and individuals.

In 2019, it was announced that the Personal Allowance would be increasing from £11,850 to £12,500. Thanks to the increase, the tax brackets in the UK were also to be pushed back. Specifically, the basic rate limit was increased to £37,500 and the higher rate threshold was set at £50,000.

In April 2020 the Capital Gains Tax allowance increased to £12,300. Anything above the allowance, though, will be taxed at 18% for basic-rate taxpayers and 28% for additional-rate taxpayers. The Capital Gains Tax Allowance is the amount you can make from the increased value of your possessions tax-free.

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With GoSimpleTax software, filing has never been easier as it does all the calculations for you and thanks to features that allow you to take a picture of expenditure and upload it to your records, as well as log all forms of income.

With the documentation you need in one place and learning resources to help minimise your tax liability further, all that’s left for you to do is press submit.

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 Income Tax, Jobs, National Insurance No Comments

April 2020 calculations

by Admin

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the tax rates which currently stand to take effect from 6th April 2020. I say “currently”, because there is a Budget taking place on Wednesday 11th March and it is possible that some changes to tax rates or allowances will be announced. If this is the case, the calculator will be updated with the latest values as soon as possible following the Budget.

At the moment, no changes to the tax-free personal allowance or income tax rates have been announced (apart from in Scotland, where some tax thresholds have been increased slightly). However, the threshold for when you start paying National Insurance has increased, meaning that National Insurance contributions will be reduced by up to £104 per year.

Those repaying their undergraduate student loans will also find that the repayment threshold has increased – for Plan 1 it will be £19,390, and Plan 2 £26,575 per year. Although this increase will reduce the payments you make in each payslip, it will of course mean that it takes longer to repay your loan.

If you’d like to see how the changes will affect you, head over to The Salary Calculator and remember to choose 2020/21 from the Tax Year drop-down box.

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