How to Pay Less Taxes | 33 Tax-Saving Tips UK
Updated: Aug 18
There are many ways to legally lower your tax bill, whether you are an employee, business owner, homeowner, investor, or retired person. All you have to do is to check these boxes and with these simple checks, you can reduce your tax payable amount 100% legally and legitimately. We will guide you on how to take advantage of tax breaks for government programs. Here are 34 simple tips and tricks that can help you cut your tax bill you can spend the money, so saved, elsewhere. Not all the points may be applicable to your particular circumstances. So choose the ones which apply to you.
1. Verify Your Tax Code
The tax code is a crucial element that determines the amount of tax HMRC will deduct from your salary. It's available on your payslip and should be reviewed annually or whenever you switch jobs. Ensuring that your tax code aligns with your current financial situation can lead to significant savings. If you discover that you've been using an incorrect code, you can either pay less tax in the upcoming months or even claim a refund for previous years. For the tax year 2023-2024, the standard Personal Allowance is £12,570, and the tax bands are as follows:
Personal Allowance: Up to £12,570 - 0%
Basic rate: £12,571 to £50,270 - 20%
Higher rate: £50,271 to £125,140 - 40%
Additional rate: over £125,140 - 45%
2. Explore Tax Exemptions
Tax exemptions are vital tools for reducing your tax liability. They include tax credits for caregivers, disabled workers, and low-income earners. The main types are income tax deductions and child allowances. However, if you've already received public credit, you may not qualify for these tax credits. In addition to these, you may also have tax-free allowances for savings interest, dividend income, income from self-employment (up to £1,000), and income from property you rent.
3. Contribute to Retirement Provisions
Investing in your employer's company pension scheme can lead to significant tax savings. Contributions, including additional voluntary contributions, can be deducted from your gross wage before tax is applied. The government further encourages retirement savings by adding a tax break to your pension. Utilizing a pension tax credit calculator can help you determine the exact amount you can save. Remember, the more you contribute, the more you save on taxes.
4. Utilize Marriage Benefits
The marriage allowance is a unique tax advantage for couples where one spouse earns less than the personal benefit. If you're married or in a civil partnership, you can transfer the unused personal benefits of the low-income partner to the higher-income individual. For the 2023 tax year, this can be particularly beneficial if the higher-earning spouse falls within the basic rate tax band. If you don't claim the Marriage Allowance and you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935, you may be eligible for the Married Couple's Allowance.
5. Note the Deadline for the Tax Return
Tax return deadlines are non-negotiable, and missing them can lead to unnecessary penalties. For the tax year that started on 6 April 2022 and ended on 5 April 2023, the deadlines are as follows:
Paper Tax Return: Must be submitted by midnight 31 October 2023.
Online Tax Return: Must be submitted by midnight 31 January 2024.
These deadlines are crucial for the 12 million people who are responsible for their own tax returns. Missing the deadline will result in an automatic £100 penalty, regardless of whether you owe any tax. Special deadlines also apply in certain situations, such as if you want to automatically collect tax from your wages and pension (submit by 30 December) or if you're a trustee of a registered pension scheme or a non-resident company (submit by 31 January). Being aware of these deadlines and planning accordingly can save you from unnecessary financial stress.
6. Collecting Over-Paid Tax
Overpaying tax is a common issue, especially if you're not a regular taxpayer or if your income fluctuates. HMRC's assumption that your personal allowance is used evenly every month can lead to overpayment. If this happens, you can apply for a refund by filling out the HMRC R40 form or contacting them directly. The process is relatively straightforward, and it's essential to ensure that you're not paying more tax than you should. If you've overpaid, you'll receive interest on the amount, so it's in your best interest to address this issue promptly.
7. Get a Subscription Loan
Subscription loans are a lesser-known but valuable way to save on taxes. Some employers offer tax-free loans to purchase memberships, such as for public transportation or professional organizations. These loans can save you hundreds on travel or other expenses, and they're entirely legal. It's worth asking your employer if this benefit is available, as it can make a significant difference in your monthly budget. Even if it's not a standard offering, expressing interest may encourage your employer to consider implementing this benefit.
8. Tax-free for Childcare
Childcare costs can be a significant burden for families, but the UK offers a tax-deductible childcare plan to alleviate some of this expense. You can claim 25% of your childcare costs, up to £500 every three months, provided you meet specific criteria. The child must be under 11 years old, and your income must be less than £100,000. This benefit can lead to substantial savings over the course of a year, and it's worth investigating to see if you qualify.
9. Get a Company Car
If you're entitled to a company car, this benefit can lead to substantial tax savings for the 2023-2024 tax year. The expenses related to the car, including not only fuel but also maintenance, insurance, and other related costs, can be claimed from your tax bill. This legal method of reducing your taxable income can save you a significant amount over the course of the year. The type of car, its fuel efficiency, and how it's used for business purposes can all affect the amount you can claim. It's essential to keep detailed records of all related expenses to maximize this benefit.
10. Switch to a Low-Emission Vehicle
The UK government continues to incentivize the use of low-emission vehicles for the 2023-2024 tax year. Cars with lower CO2 emissions are taxed at a reduced rate, encouraging businesses and individuals to choose more environmentally friendly options. For example, vehicles with 0g/km emissions are taxed at £0, while those with 1 to 50g/km are taxed at £10 for standard and petrol cars and £30 for other diesel cars. The rates continue to rise with higher emissions, reaching up to £2,595 for vehicles emitting over 255g/km. Choosing a low-emission model when replacing your company's car can lead to significant tax savings. This initiative aligns with the UK's broader goals of reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation solutions.
11. Maximize Your Personal Savings
The Personal Savings Allowance in the UK allows you to earn interest on savings without paying tax. For the 2023-2024 tax year, the allowances are:
Basic rate taxpayers: £1,000
Higher rate taxpayers: £500
Additional rate taxpayers: £0
Understanding these thresholds and managing your savings accordingly can maximize your interest income without incurring additional tax liability. If you're a basic rate taxpayer, you can earn up to £1,000 in interest without paying any tax on it. If you're a higher rate taxpayer, the limit is £500. Additional rate taxpayers do not receive this allowance. By strategically managing your savings accounts and being aware of these thresholds, you can earn interest income more efficiently. It's a valuable benefit that can make a real difference in your overall financial picture.
12. Make the Most of the ISA Allowance
Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) provide significant tax advantages. For the Fiscal Year 2023-2024, you can deposit up to £20,000 into ISA accounts, and all interest, dividends, or capital gains from money inside an ISA are tax-free. There are different types of ISAs, including Cash ISAs, Stocks and Shares ISAs, and Innovative Finance ISAs, each with its own rules and benefits. By utilizing your full ISA allowance, you can grow your savings without worrying about tax implications. It's a flexible and attractive option for savers at all income levels. Whether you're saving for a specific goal, building an emergency fund, or investing for the future, ISAs offer a tax-efficient way to achieve your financial objectives.
13. Use the Opening Rates on Savings
If your other income is less than £17,570 for the 2023-2024 tax year, you may be eligible for a starting rate for savings. This allows you to get up to £5,000 of interest without paying tax on it. This is in addition to your Personal Savings Allowance, meaning you can earn up to £18,570 before taxes are paid. Understanding this allowance and planning your savings strategy around it can lead to significant tax savings. It's an often-overlooked benefit that can provide additional financial flexibility, especially for those with lower incomes. By combining this with other savings strategies, such as maximizing your ISA allowance, you can create a comprehensive and tax-efficient savings plan.
14. Tax Deducted Expenses
Running a business involves various expenses, many of which can be deducted from your income to lower your overall tax for the 2023-2024 tax year. These expenses can include fuel, phone bills, managing your home office, and more. Understanding what types of expenses you can claim is essential for maximizing your tax deductions. Keeping detailed records of all business-related expenses and consulting with a tax professional can lead to significant tax savings. This strategy requires careful planning and organization but can provide substantial financial benefits.
15. Spending on Your Vehicles
If you use a vehicle for your business, you can usually claim the running costs (excluding the cost of buying the vehicle) as a tax deduction. If the same vehicle is used for private purposes, you can still claim part of the total costs. To do this, you must collect all annual car expenses and calculate the percentage of business kilometers traveled or claim a fixed mileage allowance for business trips. Understanding these rules for the 2023-2024 tax year can lead to substantial savings. It's a complex area that may require professional guidance, but the potential savings make it worth exploring.
16. Increase Self-Employed Cash Flow
For self-employed individuals, choosing the end date of your fiscal year is a strategic decision for the 2023-2024 tax year. If you end the tax year early, you'll have more time to tax your income, meaning the higher your income, the slower your tax burden will increase. This additional time can make it easier to pay your tax bill on time. Careful consideration of your fiscal year's timing can provide financial flexibility and help you manage your tax obligations more effectively. It's a nuanced strategy that can have a significant impact on your cash flow.
17. Annual Losses
Experiencing a loss in a financial year is never ideal, but you can carry forward the loss and offset it against a more successful annual profit in the future. This strategy can reduce your taxable income for subsequent years, including the 2023-2024 tax year. Understanding how to apply this rule can be a valuable tool in managing your business's taxes. It's a way to turn a negative situation into a future advantage, and it's worth exploring if you find yourself in this position. Utilizing annual losses requires a deep understanding of tax laws and may require professional assistance to implement effectively.
18. Advance Payments
For self-employed individuals in the UK, taxes are typically paid in two advance payments: one in January and another in July. These payments are calculated based on the tax invoice from the previous year. If your earnings for the 2022/23 tax year are less than the previous year, you can request a reduction in your advance payments. To do this, you must submit the SA303 form to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) either online or by mail. This strategy requires careful planning and understanding of your projected income. It can be a valuable way to manage your cash flow and ensure that your tax payments align with your actual income, potentially saving you from overpaying.
19. Dividend Support
Each year, individuals in the UK can earn a certain amount of dividend income before paying taxes on it. For the 2023 tax year, you can earn up to £2,000 tax-free in dividends. This allowance is separate from your personal allowance and does not reduce it. If you have investments that pay dividends, understanding this rule and planning accordingly can provide tax savings. It's essential to monitor your dividend income and ensure that it stays within the allowance to take full advantage of this benefit. This rule applies to all taxpayers, regardless of their income level, and can be a valuable part of a diversified investment strategy.
20. Exemption on Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Married couples and domestic partners who share property can apply for a double allowance on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for the 2023 tax year. The total allowance is £24,600, allowing couples to realize capital gains up to this amount without paying CGT. If you do not take advantage of this allowance during the fiscal year, it will be lost forever. This rule provides a valuable opportunity for couples to manage their investments and other assets in a tax-efficient manner. Careful planning and understanding of the rules can lead to significant tax savings. It's a benefit that requires attention to detail and may require professional guidance to maximize.
21. Transfer Assets to Your Spouse
Transferring assets to a low-income spouse or partner can provide tax advantages in the UK. If you transfer property to your spouse or partner who pays a lower tax rate than you, you will not be subject to capital gains tax on the transfer. This strategy can be particularly helpful for couples where one partner has a significantly lower income than the other. By transferring savings and investments to the lower-income partner, you can reduce the overall tax liability for the couple. It's a legal and effective way to manage your family's finances and take advantage of more favorable tax rates. This approach requires careful consideration of both partners' financial situations and may involve complex legal and financial planning.
22. Issa Junior
In the UK, Junior Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) provide a way to save for children under 18. By contributing to a Junior ISA, you can avoid paying taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains. For the 2023 tax year, the annual allowance for Junior ISAs is £9,000. This means you can contribute up to this amount without any tax implications. It's a valuable way to build savings for your children's future, and the funds are locked away until the child turns 18, ensuring that the money is used responsibly.
23. Change to Participations
For taxpayers with higher and additional tax rates, shifting investments outside of an ISA towards capital growth can reduce tax bills. In addition to the annual capital gains exemption, which is £12,300 for the 2023 tax year, you can benefit from reduced tax rates. Higher-rate taxpayers pay 20% on capital gains but 32.5% on dividend income. By focusing on investments that generate capital gains rather than dividends, you can take advantage of these lower tax rates. It's a strategy that requires careful consideration of your investment portfolio and may require professional guidance.
24. Reduce the Inheritance Tax Bill in the Future with Gifts
In the UK, gifts can be a strategic way to reduce future inheritance tax bills. If you live for seven years after making a gift, it does not count against your inheritance tax liability. Additionally, you can give away up to £3,000 a year without worrying about taxes, and you can make multiple gifts of under £250 as long as they're not for the same person. This rule allows you to provide financial support to loved ones without incurring tax liability. It's a way to pass on wealth to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner.
25. Investing in Institutional Investment Programs
The UK government offers additional tax breaks to encourage investment in early-stage companies. When you buy shares in a qualifying company, you can deduct 30% of your investment from your income tax bill for the year. The amount you can invest each year is £1 million, potentially saving you up to £300,000 in income taxes. This incentive is designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship, and it provides significant tax benefits for investors. Understanding the rules and finding qualifying investments can be complex, but the potential tax savings make it an attractive option for eligible investors.
26. Maximizing Benefits from Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)
Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) are specialized investment trusts approved by HMRC, designed to encourage investments in unlisted companies. By investing in VCTs, individuals can claim various tax reliefs, including Income Tax relief and Capital Gains Tax relief.
Income Tax Relief
Investors can claim Income Tax relief on investments made in VCTs up to £200,000. The relief is available at a rate of 30% for investments made on or before 5 April 2023. This means that for every £100 invested in a VCT, you can reduce your Income Tax liability by £30.
Capital Gains Tax Relief
Investing in VCTs also provides benefits related to Capital Gains Tax. If you invest in a VCT, you will not have to pay any Capital Gains Tax on profits when you sell your shares. This applies to both newly issued and previously owned shares.
It's essential to note that the shares must be newly issued, paid for in full, and carry no special rights to a company's assets if it closes down. Investors must also be over 18 years old to invest in a VCT.
27. Acquiring Shares in Your Employer's Company
Many employers offer opportunities to acquire shares in the company, either for free or at preferential prices through government-approved programs. These shares can provide significant tax advantages.
Income Tax Exemption
Shares acquired through such programs are exempted from Income Tax. This means that the value of the shares is not considered part of your taxable income.
Capital Gains Tax Considerations
While the shares are exempt from Income Tax, you may still have to pay Capital Gains Tax if you sell the stocks. However, if you invest in shares through certain venture capital schemes, you may be eligible for Capital Gains Tax relief on 100% of the investment.
28. Utilizing the "Rent a Room" Scheme
The Rent-a-Room scheme is a tax-efficient way to earn rental income from a furnished room in your own home. This scheme allows you to receive up to £7,500 in annual rent from a lodger, duty-free. If two people share the property and benefit from this plan, they can claim only £3,750 each.
The scheme only applies if you rent a furnished place in your own apartment where you are living. It does not apply to homes that are rented out entirely or to unfurnished rooms.
29. Deducting Property Owner's Expenses
If you rent a property, you can deduct various expenses from your taxable income, reducing your overall tax liability.
These expenses include salaries for gardeners and cleaners, rental fees, basic rents and utilities, accountant fees, and home insurance. By carefully tracking and claiming these expenses, property owners can significantly reduce their taxable income.
Compliance and Documentation
It's essential to maintain proper records and documentation for all deductible expenses. Ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations can help you maximize your deductions and avoid potential legal issues.
By understanding and utilizing these four strategies, individuals in the UK can take advantage of legal methods to reduce their tax liability. It's always advisable to consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to ensure that these strategies align with your specific financial situation and goals.
30. Replacement of Local Items by Landlord
Landlords in the UK can claim tax credits for funds spent on replacing "local items" in their furnished rental properties. This provision allows landlords to maintain the quality and comfort of their properties without bearing the full financial burden.
The types of items eligible for this exemption include beds, carpets, dishes or cutlery, sofas, curtains, refrigerators, and other appliances. These are considered essential for the functionality and appeal of a rental property.
In 2023, the focus on sustainable living and energy efficiency may also influence the types of replacements landlords choose. Opting for energy-efficient appliances could further reduce costs and align with environmental goals.
31. Tax Credit on Your Installment Mortgage
Owning a rental property often involves taking out a mortgage. In the UK, you can claim a 20% tax deduction on mortgage interest, reducing the overall cost of the investment.
Mortgage Interest Relief
This relief applies to the interest portion of your mortgage payments, not the principal. It's a significant benefit for landlords, especially in the early years of a mortgage when interest payments are typically higher.
As of 2023, the housing market and interest rates may fluctuate, so understanding how this tax credit applies to your specific mortgage can be crucial for maximizing savings.
32. Reduce the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for Rental Properties
Capital gains tax applies to profits made from the sale of a rented property. However, there are ways to reduce this tax liability.
Primary Residence Relief
If the property has been your primary residence in the past, you can apply for a tax credit for the last nine months of ownership. This relief recognizes the personal connection to the property and can significantly reduce the CGT owed.
In 2023, property values and market conditions may influence the capital gains realized from property sales. Being aware of the available reliefs and how to apply them can be essential for financial planning.
33. Social Security Considerations
In the UK, you no longer have to pay social security contributions if you continue to work after the legal retirement age, currently 65.
It's essential to ensure that your employer is aware of this change and adjusts your salary accordingly. This adjustment can result in increased take-home pay and financial flexibility during retirement.
National Insurance and State Pensions
Understanding the relationship between social security contributions, national insurance, and state pensions is vital. In 2023, the regulations and thresholds may change, so staying informed and consulting with a financial professional can be beneficial.
How Can a Tax Accountant Help You Reduce Tax Burden in the UK?
In the complex world of taxation, understanding and navigating the myriad of rules, regulations, and opportunities for savings can be a daunting task. This is where the expertise of a tax accountant comes into play. A tax accountant can be an invaluable asset in reducing your tax burden in the UK. Here's how:
1. Comprehensive Understanding of Tax Laws
Tax laws in the UK are intricate and ever-changing. A tax accountant is well-versed in these laws and stays up-to-date with the latest changes. Whether it's understanding the nuances of Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, or Inheritance Tax, a tax accountant can guide you through the complexities, ensuring compliance and identifying opportunities for savings.
2. Personalised Tax Planning
Every individual or business has unique financial circumstances. A tax accountant can provide personalised tax planning tailored to your specific situation. By understanding your income, expenses, investments, and financial goals, they can develop a strategic tax plan that aligns with your needs.
3. Maximising Allowances and Reliefs
The UK tax system offers various allowances and reliefs that can reduce your tax liability. From personal allowances to pension contributions, gift aid donations to Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), a tax accountant knows how to maximise these benefits. They can identify the most suitable options for you, ensuring that you take full advantage of what's available.
4. Assistance with Property Taxes
If you own property, either as a homeowner or a landlord, the tax implications can be significant. A tax accountant can help you navigate property taxes, including Stamp Duty Land Tax, Capital Gains Tax on property sales, and deductions for landlords. They can advise on the most tax-efficient way to buy, sell, or rent property, potentially saving you thousands of pounds.
5. Support for Business Owners
For business owners, the tax landscape is even more complex. Corporate Tax, VAT, PAYE, and other business-related taxes require careful management. A tax accountant can assist with business structure, tax-efficient profit extraction, R&D tax credits, and more. They can help you align your business strategy with tax efficiency, supporting growth and sustainability.
6. Handling Tax Investigations
Should you ever face a tax investigation by HMRC, having a tax accountant by your side can be crucial. They can liaise with HMRC on your behalf, provide the necessary documentation, and negotiate if needed. Their expertise can make the process less stressful and more favourable.
7. Retirement Planning
Planning for retirement involves careful consideration of pensions, investments, and other financial factors. A tax accountant can help you develop a retirement plan that maximises tax efficiency, ensuring that you have a comfortable and financially secure retirement.
8. Inheritance Tax Planning
Inheritance Tax can take a significant portion of the wealth you wish to pass on to your loved ones. A tax accountant can assist with estate planning, utilising gifts, trusts, and other legal means to minimise Inheritance Tax. This planning can preserve your legacy and provide peace of mind.
9. International Tax Considerations
If you have financial interests outside the UK, international tax rules come into play. A tax accountant with expertise in international taxation can guide you through the complexities, ensuring compliance with both UK and foreign tax laws, and identifying opportunities for savings.
10. Ongoing Support and Advice
Taxation is not a once-a-year concern. A tax accountant can provide ongoing support and advice, helping you make informed financial decisions throughout the year. Whether it's a change in income, a significant purchase, or a new investment opportunity, having a tax accountant to consult with can make a difference.
A tax accountant is more than just a number cruncher. They are a strategic partner in your financial wellbeing, offering expertise, personalised service, and proactive planning. By engaging a tax accountant, you can navigate the complexities of the UK tax system with confidence, reduce your tax burden, and achieve your financial goals. Whether you're an individual, a property owner, a business owner, or someone with international interests, a tax accountant can provide the insights and support you need. In a world where every penny counts, the investment in professional tax accounting services can pay dividends in savings, peace of mind, and financial success.