Tax Glossary

Basic Tax Rate

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Last updated on:
March 17, 2024

The basic tax rate (BR) is a fundamental component of the UK's Income Tax system, applicable to earnings within a specific bracket. This guide delves into the intricacies of the BR for the tax year 2023/24.

Understanding the Basic Tax Rate

In England and Wales, the basic tax rate stands at 20%. This rate applies to annual income ranging from £12,571 to £50,270. The structure of Income Tax rates is designed to ensure fairness, with tax obligations increasing progressively with income.

Taxable Income Explained

Your taxable income is what remains after deducting the Personal Allowance and any other tax-free income. The concept might seem straightforward, yet it's crucial for accurately determining your tax liabilities. The current Income Tax rates are as follows:

  • Up to £12,570: 0% (Personal Allowance)
  • £12,571 to £50,270: 20% (Basic rate)
  • £50,271 to £125,140: 40% (Higher rate)
  • Over £125,141: 45% (Additional rate)

Practical Examples

  • Earning £30,000: You're taxed at 20% on £17,429 of your income, which is the amount after the Personal Allowance.
  • Earning £55,000: 20% tax applies to £37,699 of your income, with the remaining £4,730 (up to £50,270) taxed at 40%.

It's essential to recognize that you're not taxed at a uniform rate across your entire income. Instead, different portions of your earnings are taxed at corresponding rates.

High Earnings and Taxation

For an income of £155,000, taxation is applied as follows:

  • £50,270 at 20%
  • £74,870 (up to £125,140) at 40%
  • The remaining £29,860 at 45%

The Role of Personal Allowance

The Personal Allowance, set at £12,570, represents the amount of income exempt from tax. However, this benefit diminishes for high earners. Specifically, individuals earning over £100,000 begin to lose their Personal Allowance incrementally, and it phases out entirely for those earning above £125,140.

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