What Is Marginal Tax Rate? How It Works?

Marginal Tax Rate

Are you a UK taxpayer experiencing difficulty in navigating the complex tax landscape? Are you engaging in frequent tax discussions with your friends and colleagues? If yes, you may have already experienced that one specific term often pops up during these discussions. This is the marginal tax rate. Believe it or not, you must understand this concept for successful financial planning and tax optimization. So, let us develop some understanding of the same and how it works.

Understanding the Marginal Tax Rate

Imagine you have a stack of money whose each layer gets taxed at a different tax rate. The more money you make, the higher the stack grows, but then the top layers of your stack will get taxed at higher rates. This is because the tax system is progressive in the United Kingdom. The rate of tax increases as your income increases and this increasing tax rate is called the marginal tax rate. In short, it is the tax you pay on the next pound you earn.

It is specifically designed with the sole objective of ensuring fairness. As a result, those who earn less need to pay a smaller percentage of income as tax. However, this concept of the marginal tax rate appears highly confusing to some people because it significantly impacts the overall tax liability when they experience a salary hike or receive a bonus or dividends.

How It Works

Now, let us understand how the marginal tax rate works by breaking it down using the UK tax brackets. So, following are the rates that apply to different segments of your taxable income:

  • Basic Rate: £12,571 to £50,270 – 20%
  • Higher Rate: £50,271 to £125,140 – 40%
  • Additional Rate: Over £125,140 – 45%

An Example Scenario

Let us imagine a scenario where, as a UK resident, you earn £80,000. Now, how your income would be taxed is as follows:

Personal Allowance

You are not required to pay any taxes on first £12,570 of your income because of personal allowance. So, you will have a remaining taxable income of (£80,000 – £12,570) i.e. £67,430.

Basic Rate (20%)

The next £50,270 of your taxable income will be taxed at 20% which means the overall tax on your next £50,270 will be (£50,270 * 0.20) i.e. £10,054. After paying this tax, you will be left with a remaining taxable income of (£67,430 – £50,270) i.e. £17,160.

Higher Rate (40%)

The remaining £17,160 of your taxable income will be taxed at 40% which means you will have to pay a tax of (£17,160 * 0.40) i.e. £6,864 on this income portion.

So total tax paid by you will be £10,054(Basic Rate Tax) and £6,864(Higher Rate Tax). So, on an income of £80,000, you would pay a total of £16,918 in taxes. This marginal tax rate system ensures that the tax burden is not much on those earning a low income.

After all, those with higher incomes can easily contribute a considerable share of their income to nation-building. However, your marginal rates can be higher under some circumstances. For example, if your earnings are more than £100,000, you may have to pay a marginal tax rate that will be more than what you had expected. Even worse, you can also lose your entire personal allowance which means a significant rise in your marginal tax rate.

So, it is vital to put sincere effort into reducing your overall tax liabilities. If you are tired of making all the efforts yourself or just too busy for any tax planning, contact our team of experts at CoreAdviz. With our years of expertise and experience as a reputed UK accountancy firm, we offer comprehensive tax planning specifically tailored to your financial goals.