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Making the most of your pension contributions


Are you claiming higher rate pensions tax relief?


If you pay higher rate tax you will not receive tax relief automatically on your personal pension contributions unless you claim it. This means that someone earning more than £42,475 (higher rate income tax threshold plus the basic personal allowance) in the current financial year could potentially be losing a fifth of the contributions to their pension if they are not actively claiming back higher rate tax relief on their contributions.


Claiming tax back 


If you pay income tax on your earnings before any personal pension contributions, your pension provider claims tax back from the government at the basic rate of 20 per cent. In practice, this means that for every £80 you pay into your personal pension, you end up with £100 invested in your pension fund.


If you are a higher rate tax payer paying 40 per cent, you may able to claim an additional tax relief. Depending on how much you earn over the higher rate tax band, any additional tax relief could range from between a further 1 per cent up to a maximum of 20 per cent.


Additional rate tax payers


 From 6 April, if you are an additional rate tax payer and pay 50 per cent, you may also be able to claim additional tax relief at your highest rate. Depending on how much you earn over the higher rate tax band and your level of contribution, any additional rate tax relief could range from between a further 1 per cent up to a maximum of 30 per cent.


Claiming higher rate tax relief on personal pension contributions is for many people the single most important relief they can claim, yet hundreds of thousands could be missing out. To obtain your additional tax relief you must file a tax return or get HM Revenue & Customs to change your tax code. To do this, you have to contact your local tax office.


Full tax relief straight away 


If you are employed, usually your employer will take occupational pension contributions from your pay before deducting tax (but not National Insurance contributions). You only pay tax on what’s left. So whether you pay tax at basic, higher or additional rate you receive the full relief straight away.

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