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State Pension

State Pension age

Historically the State Pension age was 60 for women and 65 for men. This has changed.

It’s now between 65 and 66 for everyone, rising to 66 by 2020.

The State Pension age is due to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and to 68 between 2044 and 2046, however the government has announced that the increase towards 68 will be brought forward to include those born on or after 6 April 1970.

Basic State Pension rate

For those who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, the maximum in 2020/21 is £134.25 per week.

In addition, there may be entitlement to earnings related State Second Pension (S2P) formerly State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).

You needed 30 qualifying years for a full basic State Pension. A qualifying year is one where either sufficient national insurance was paid or was deemed to have been paid.

New State Pension rate

For those who reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, the maximum in 2020/21 is £175.20 per week.

This figure will be reduced for those who have contracted out of the State Second Pension (S2P), formerly State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS), before 6 April 2016.

35 qualifying years are needed to receive the full New State Pension. A qualifying year is one where either sufficient national insurance has been paid (on earnings above a lower limit of £6,240 for this tax year) or deemed to have been paid.

Transitional rules apply for those who accrued State Pension before 6 April 2016.


Tax relief on pension contributions

Tax relief 2020/21*

Net cost of £1,000 gross contribution 2020/21

Non-taxpayer (including children) and Scottish Starter rate



Scottish intermediate rate



Scottish higher rate



Scottish additional rate



Basic rate taxpayer



Higher rate taxpayer



Additional rate taxpayer



* Any tax relief above basic rate is restricted to the amount of tax paid at that rate. This assumes no other taxable income.

Pension contribution limits

Relevant UK earnings (usually earnings from employment or self-employment)

Maximum personal or employee contribution for tax relief

£0 - £3,600

£3,600 £3,601 and over 100% of earnings

Annual allowance: £40,000.

A £4,000 money purchase annual allowance will apply for those who have flexibly accessed their pensions.

Tapered annual allowance: If your threshold income is over £200,000 then your annual allowance will be reduced by £1 for every £2 that your adjusted income is over £240,000; to a minimum annual allowance of £4,000.

Threshold income is, broadly, all taxable income plus salary sacrificed for pension contributions on or after 9 July 2015 minus personal or employee (not via salary sacrifice) pension contributions.

Adjusted income is, broadly, all taxable income plus employer pension contributions (including via salary sacrifice) plus some benefit accrual in defined benefit, e.g. final salary, pension schemes.

Lifetime Allowance is currently £1,073,100 in the 2020/21 tax year. If the value of pension rights exceeds the Lifetime Allowance on death, at retirement or at age 75, the excess could be taxed at up to 55%.

National Insurance contributions

Class 1 employed (2020/21)

Earnings per week Employee rate

£0 to £183 Nil

£183 to £962 12%

£962 and over 2%

Earnings per week

Employer rate

£0 to £183 Nil

£183 and over 13.8%

National Insurance applies to most earned income or benefits in kind. National Insurance rates may be different for certain employees, e.g. if employee is over the State Pension age.

No National Insurance paid by employers up to £962 for employees under 21 or apprentices under 25.

Self-employed and voluntary

Type of National Insurance contribution Tax rate 2020/21

Class 2 self-employed £3.05 per week

Class 2 small profits threshold £6,475 per annum

Class 3 voluntary £15.30 per week

Class 4 lower profits limit £9,500 per annum

Class 4 upper profits limit £50,000 per year

Class 4 rate between lower profits limit and upper profits limit 9%

Class 4 rate above upper profits limit 2%

Income tax allowances and bands

Please note it is taxable income which applies in this assessment, including earnings, pensions in payment, cash interest, fixed interest income, dividends and rent. ISA income is not included.

Income tax - main personal allowances



Personal Allowance


Transferable tax allowance for married couples/civil partners


Personal Savings Allowance (PSA)

£1,000 for Basic rate taxpayers £500 for Higher rate taxpayers Not available for Additional rate taxpayers

Dividend Allowance


A Married Couple’s allowance (born pre 6/4/35) or Blind Person’s allowance may also apply.

The transferrable tax allowance only applies where neither individual is a higher or additional rate tax payer. The maximum tax reduction available is £250.

The personal allowance reduces by £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. The personal allowance is lost if taxable income exceeds £125,000 (2020/21).

The dividend and personal savings allowance apply after the personal allowance and are calculated using UK, not Scottish, rates. Anything within these allowances still count towards the basic and/or higher rate tax bands.

Income tax - bands (after any personal allowance)

UK excluding Scottish Earned or Pension Income

Tax Band Income tax rate

Dividend tax rate

Starting Rate for Savings

£1 - £5,000



Basic rate

£1 - £37,500



Higher Rate

£37,501 - £150,000



Additional Rate




Higher rate threshold (standard personal allowance + basic rate band) is £50,000.

Non-savings income uses up the starting rate for savings.

Scotland only

Scottish tax bands only apply to earned or pension income. The rates above apply to savings or dividend income.

Tax Band income tax rate

Starter Rate

£12,500 - £14,585


Basic rate

£14,585 - £25,158


Intermediate Rate

£25,158 - £43,430


Higher Rate

£43,430 - £150,000


Additional Rate



Higher rate threshold (Standard personal allowance + starter rate band + basic rate band + intermediate rate band) is £43,430.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

CGT is charged on any profits (the 'gains') you make when you sell (or transfer) shares and unit trusts or other assets such as a second home. If the total of any gains realised in the year, minus any losses, exceeds your annual allowance the excess is liable to CGT.

CGT has a different tax rate depending upon whether it applies to business assets or non-business assets.

Annual capital gains tax allowance: £12,300 2020/21

2020/21 Capital gains tax rates (non-business assets)

Capital gains Tax rate

Gains which when added to taxable income fall in the UK basic rate tax band


Gains which when added to taxable income fall in the UK higher or UK additional rate tax band


Capital gains on residential property which is not a main residence will be taxed at 18% and 28% instead of 10% and 20%.

Entrepreneurs' Relief (Business assets)

Business assets are generally a share (or interest) in the company or firm you work for. Entrepreneurs' Relief is subject to meeting certain criteria

Inheritance tax (IHT)

Value of estate Tax rate

£1 - £325,000 (known as IHT threshold or nil rate band)


Over £325,000


Tax year Residence nil rate band









Stamp duty

Stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT)

0.5% rounded up to the nearest penny when you buy shares that settled via electronic paperless system.

Standard stamp duty

When you buy shares worth over £1,000 that settle via a paper system the tax charge is 0.5% rounded up to the nearest penny. There is no charge if the shares are worth less than £1,000.

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) - residential

Charged when you buy residential land or property.

Purchase price or value

Tax rate paid on portion of purchase price

Tax rate paid on second and subsequent houses

Up to £125,000



£125,001 to £250,000



£250,001 to £925,000



£925,001 to £1,500,000



Over £1,500,000



Please note Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is not charged in Scotland. A Land and Buildings Transaction tax (LBTT) will be applied instead. Please view here for more details.

Discretionary trusts

Tax rate

Capital gains tax allowance £6,150 (divided by the number of trusts settled subject to a minimum of £1,230 per trust)

Capital gains tax rate 20% / 28% for residential property

Inheritance tax (transfers into discretionary trusts)


Income tax rate (up to £1,000 per annum)


Income tax rate (above £1,000 per annum)


Dividend tax rate (up to £1,000 per annum)


Dividend tax rate (above £1,000 per annum)



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