Our previous government enacted legislation that removed the personal allowance for certain high income earners. The present government has made no change to this process. Basically, for every £2 your income exceeds £100,000, your personal allowance is reduced by £1.
Take, for example, the case of Joe Smith who has income for 2014-15 of £100,000 and a personal tax allowance of £10,000 – this leaves income subject to tax of £90,000 and a tax bill of £29,627.
Joe’s best friend, Charlie, has income of £120,000. Based on the £1 reduction for every £2 of income over £100,000, Charlie has lost entitlement to his personal allowance of £10,000 and his tax bill amounts to £41,627.
Charlie’s extra tax, compared to Joe’s, is £12,000. His income is £20,000 higher than Joe’s and accordingly, his marginal rate of tax on this amount is 60% (£12,000/£20,000).
This 60% Income Tax rate can be avoided. For instance, Charlie could pay a net contribution into his pension of £16,000 (gross premium £20,000) and this will reduce his taxable earnings to £100,000 saving him £8,000 in Income Tax – Charlie also receives 20% tax relief at source of £4,000 – the combined tax saved is therefore £12,000.
There are other strategies that can be employed to similar effect. If your income is likely to exceed £100,000 for the first time this tax year please call so we can discuss your options in more detail.