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Are bonuses taxed within the UK?

Bonuses – a loaded phrase, if ever there was one. All of us love a bonus; simply ask the blokes on Wall Avenue or at Canary Wharf – they will’t get sufficient of them.

Joking apart, in case you’re fortunate sufficient to be the recipient of 1, it’s essential to know the fundamentals round their taxation.

Right here’s what that you must know to make sure that your bonus doesn’t in the end develop into the taxman’s bonus.

Is a bonus fee topic to earnings tax?

It’s possible you’ll be pondering that this isn’t an easy sure or no reply – and also you’d be proper! Nonetheless, there are some normal guidelines round bonuses, which can make this query a bit of simpler to reply.

Other than just a few exceptions (which we’ll go into), many bonuses are obligated to pay earnings tax and NICs (Nationwide Insurance coverage Contributions). This may usually – however not at all times – be according to the remainder of your contracted common earnings inside any given tax 12 months.

Bonuses are classed as supplemental earnings. You may get money funds, non-cash compensation or non-financial bonuses. And, the taxation on every of them can differ – and a few are even tax-exempt.

It’s necessary to notice that non-cash/monetary bonuses can take many kinds with completely different guidelines for every – listed here are a few of the key ones so that you can look out for.


Medical insurance coverage and remedy plans supplied by employers to their workers can typically be exempt from taxation. All of it depends upon the well being and security laws that the employer is topic to inside their trade. The exemption may also lengthen to workers’ insurance coverage and remedy whereas working abroad for his or her employer.

Medical remedy prices of as much as £500 paid by an employer as a part of a return-to-work plan for an worker can be tax-free, offering that the worker meets the standards of being medically ‘unfit for work’.

Yearly medical checks, eye assessments and glasses (for show display screen use) are additionally normally tax-free.

Some kinds of medical insurance coverage and dental insurance coverage supplied by employers to workers would require sure tax obligations to be met by the employer.

Examples of those are when the employer pays the supplier of the remedy or insurance coverage straight or when the worker seeks both of those providers themselves, and the employer covers the fee or reimburses their worker.

Firm vehicles

An employer can also be required to pay earnings tax on the traditional perk of the corporate automotive. Shared firm vehicles, vehicles used for enterprise journeys solely, and vehicles tailored for workers with disabilities are sometimes exempt.

Nonetheless, there are completely different guidelines surrounding this profit – you may work out the taxable worth on firm autos right here.

If you happen to’re a enterprise proprietor with a perks and rewards scheme, then it’s important to request recommendation on this space in case you’re not sure. It’s additionally simply as important, significantly in case you’re self-employed, to make sure that you’re absolutely compliant when finishing your individual tax return.

How a lot tax will it’s important to pay on a bonus?

stressed man, holding his head while looking at paperwork

Most bonuses normally come within the type of an annual money lump sum, rewarding good efficiency all year long. The much-loved Christmas bonus is the one some folks know effectively. They’re normally taxed according to the related taxation bracket your complete earnings falls into.

With this in thoughts, let’s have a look at this instance. In case your regular wage is £25,000 yearly, minus your private tax-free allowance of £12,570, your taxable earnings might be £12,430. Of which, 20% might be deducted for earnings tax.

As well as (as of April 2022), a 13.25% nationwide insurance coverage deduction might be utilized to any earnings over £9,880. So, on this case, the deduction might be utilized to £15,120 of the earnings.

So, an end-of-year Yuletide bonus of £2,000, as an illustration, might be taxed at those self same charges because it’s added on prime. This implies your complete bonus is inside the taxable threshold. Not together with some other deductions resembling pupil loans, you’ll be left with a grand complete of £1,335.

As already touched upon with non-cash/monetary bonuses, there are a great deal of choices, with many guidelines round them dictating how a lot, and if, tax is required to be paid. As an employer, it’s extremely advisable that you just view the great checklist on the GOV.UK web site.

Can a bonus push you into the next tax bracket?

In case your gross earnings falls near the boundary of the following tax bracket, you then is likely to be in for a festive shock when that Yuletide bonus pushes you into the following bracket!

For instance – in case your common earnings is £50,000 yearly (slightly below the upper tax bracket of £50,270) and also you obtain a festive money lump sum of £3,000, nearly all of that bonus will spill over into the greater fee tax bracket.

Which means £2,730 of the bonus might be taxed on the 40% earnings tax fee slightly than 20%, and that’s not together with some other deductions, resembling NICs and pupil mortgage repayments.

It’s vitally necessary, due to this fact, to concentrate on the completely different taxation brackets. As soon as acquainted, you may then gauge what your optimum bonus quantity ought to be.

Do I’ve to pay tax on my bonus?

Woman smiling and clenching her fist while looking at a letter

Other than the exemptions already coated, there are another circumstances the place you may cut back the taxable quantity in your bonus and even keep away from paying tax fully – right here’s probably the most well-known methods.

Bonus sacrifice

A preferred choice to keep away from paying tax on supplemental earnings is the sinisterly named bonus sacrifice. Sounds scary, however it might probably truly be a savvy transfer to stop your rewards from falling prey to the jaws of the taxman.

Easy methods to make bonus sacrifice – pensions

Right here’s the way it works – as a substitute of a money reward within the right here and now, an employer sacrifices all the bonus, or a part of it, and pays it straight into their worker’s pension scheme.

Whether or not it’s a full or half sacrifice, the quantity you place ahead for the scheme not solely turns into tax-free but in addition turns into exempt from NICs.

Fairly merely, the extra of your bonus you sacrifice, the much less tax you’ll have to pay on it. Not solely that, however your as soon as humble bonus is now reincarnated as a savvy funding in your future ‘state-pension-age’ self – or presumably earlier.

Even in case you don’t have one of many jobs with the very best pensions, it makes simply as a lot sense to get as a lot of the profit as potential.

You could keep in mind that the earliest age this cash turns into accessible is 10 years earlier than the official state retirement age, which at the moment varies relying on while you had been born.

How does paying bonuses have an effect on an employer’s tax invoice?

man doodling the word bonus and money symbols in a note book

It goes with out saying that as an employer, it is important you notify HMRC of your workers’ bonuses – in any other case, the taxman will come knocking.

As soon as the bonus has been added to your worker’s common earnings, it’s essential to deduct earnings tax on that quantity by PAYE; the identical goes for nationwide insurance coverage. Additionally, you will should pay employer’s nationwide insurance coverage on the bonus.


Why do I get taxed extra on my bonus within the UK?

Within the US as an illustration, supplemental earnings resembling bonuses, don’t get added on prime.

As a substitute, they’re topic to a separate flat fee of twenty-two%. So sure, this usually means excessive earners within the UK are taxed lots heavier on their bonuses than their neighbours throughout the pond.

Does a bonus have an effect on my nationwide insurance coverage contribution obligations?

Sure – it can usually improve your contributions, particularly if it’s a money bonus. This might be taken at supply both by PAYE or, if self-employed, by self-assessment after being added on prime of your different earnings.

Is a bonus sacrifice tax-efficient?

Employers and workers usually favour the bonus sacrifice scheme. Not solely does the worker keep away from taxation altogether and is awarded an funding in the direction of their future, however the employer can also be exempt from paying NICs on the quantity.

The quantity saved in NICs is then typically handed on to the worker as a ‘secondary bonus’ – a win-win!

Are non-cash bonuses topic to taxation?

Sure, usually they’re. To get right down to the true nitty-gritty on this, the complete employment earnings handbook from HMRC provides you with all the recommendation you want.

Ricky Willis
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