Tax exemptions, also referred to as Tax allowance or tax relief in the UK, is the amount of money you can claim without having to pay tax on it. There are a few different benefits and expenses that will allow you to claim tax exemption. These are mainly divided into two sections namely: private tax exemptions and work exemptions. Let’s look at these in more detail:
Private Tax Relief
You may be able to claim tax relief on pension contributions if:
- You pay Income Tax at a rate above 20% (Higher rate of 40% and Additional Rate at 45%) and your pension provider claims the first 20% for you (relief at source).
- Your pension scheme is not set up for automatic tax relief. Note that you cannot claim UK tax relief if your pension scheme is not registered with the HMRC.
- Someone else (for example your partner) pays into your pension.
You can claim up to 100% tax relief on private pension contributions.
You can read about Defined Contribution Pensions on our blog.
Donations to charity from individuals are tax free. You can get tax relief if you donate:
If you are paying an income tax rate of over 20%, you need to declare this on your Self Assessment. If you do not complete a self assessment, you need to call the HMRC to inform them of your situation.
You are also entitled to “Married Couples Allowance”. If your income is below your personal allowance (£12,570), and your partner pays income tax at the basic rate (their income is between ( £12,571 and £50,270). This tax free allowance allows you to pay up to £1,260 of your personal allowance to your spouse (married or civil partnership).
If you and your partner or spouse separate ways and you are required to pay maintenance, you can claim for maintenance tax exemption. Maintenance Payments Relief is worth 10% of the maintenance you pay to your ex-spouse or civil partner, up to a maximum of £364 a year (or 10% of £3,640).
To get up to 100% tax relief on earnings you must have:
- Worked on a ship
- Worked outside of the UK long enough to qualify for the deduction – usually a minimum of 365 days
- Been resident in the UK or resident for tax purposes in a European Economic Area (European countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) State (other than the UK)
You can’t get the deduction if you were:
- a Crown employee (for example, a Royal Navy sailor)
- not a UK resident
- not a resident of an EEA State (other than the UK)
Tax Relief for Employed and Self Employed Individuals
As a self employed, or employed individual, you have a whole list of additional expenses that you can claim tax relief on. In this section we will look at most of these expenses.
Self Employed Tax Exemptions
The HMRC provides various opportunities to claim for the running costs of your UK based sole proprietorship. You can look at the following categories to see if you qualify for any tax exemptions:
Furthermore, it is important to know that your have a standard personal allowance of up to £12,570. This means that anything under £12,570 you are not required to pay tax returns. However, as a sole proprietor you still need to submit a self assessment even if you are not required to pay taxes to the HMRC.
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Employed / Job Tax Relief Expenses
You do not have to be a sole proprietor or company owner to make use of tax exemptions. Some of the expenses you can still claim even if you are employed are as follows:
- Working from home
- Uniforms, work clothing and tools
- Vehicles you use for work
- Professional fees and subscriptions
- Travel and overnight expenses
- Buying other equipment
However, it is important to note that if your employer has reimbursed you for the expenses or if you request to make use of an alternative service or equipment as given by the employer (for example, if you are travelling and the company pays for public transport however you prefer to rent a vehicle).
Additionally, it’s important that you keep receipts or records on what you have spent. You have four years to claim the tax reliefs on this. If you would like to see if you are eligible to claim, you can visit the HMRC website and answer a few simple questions to see what is allowable.
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