Earning over £100k: how to avoid the 60% Tax Trap

A pay rise or bonus that takes one’s annual income above £100,000 is cause for celebration. Tread though carefully these muddy waters, for additional income earnt up to £125,140 attracts the highest rate of marginal tax across all other taxpayers, including those richer than you. Read on for tax-saving tips on how to navigate the 60% Tax Trap…

One’s Personal Allowance goes down by £1 for every £2 earnt over £100,000, increasing the amount of income that is taxed at the higher rate of 40%. One loses their Personal Allowance in full when their income reaches £125,140. The graph below illustrates how tax payable accelerates as income increases in the Tax Trap Band. Note the steepest gradient for income earnt in this range.

Avoiding the 60% Tax Trap
The incentive effect, or disincentive effect rather, of working to receive income in the Tax Trap Band, is punitive. For every £1 earnt, 60 pence are paid to the exchequer. Fortunately, there are several ways of avoiding or mitigating the 60% Tax Trap Band:

  1. Increase the amount paid into your pension
    • You can receive tax relief on money saved into a private pension scheme, up to an annual allowance of £40,000. The allowance is reduced to a minimum of £4,000 if you earn high income or have flexibly accessed your pension.
  2. Ask for a non-cash bonus
    • If you are not in need of liquidity immediately, then rather than receiving a cash bonus, you can ask for a non-cash bonus provided at low or no tax if received through a salary sacrifice scheme. Consider a company car with low emissions, childcare or private medical insurance.
  3. Invest in start-up investment schemes 
    • There are three start-up schemes you can invest in which give you a percentage of your investment back as tax relief: Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) – 50%, Venture Capital Trust (VCT) – 30% and Enterprise Investment Scheme – 30%. Speak to your adviser about building a portfolio which balances your appetite for risk and reward.
  4. Donate to charity and claim Gift Aid Tax Relief

If you anticipate that your income will exceed £100,000, talk to your employer about strategies to manage your tax position. As ever, Contact Mouktaris & Co Chartered Accountants for expert advice or click here to subscribe to our Newsletter.

Scroll to top