How do I work out my tax?

Updated on 6 April 2017

If you are an employee, your employer takes income tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) off your pay before paying you. Your employer sends the tax and NIC to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You need to be able to work out your tax, so that you can check your employer is deducting the right amount of tax from your pay.

The system your employer uses to collect tax and NIC at source is called Pay As You Earn (PAYE). PAYE spreads your tax and NIC over the tax year. The tax collected under PAYE is an estimate, and is not necessarily the exact amount you are required to pay.


How do I work out my tax?

Remember that the tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next, for example, the tax year 2017/18 runs from 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018.

If you live in Scotland and are a Scottish taxpayer, you will pay Scottish income tax on your employment income. Different income tax rates and bands apply to your non-savings and non-dividend income. There is more information in our section on Scottish income tax. UK tax rates and bands apply to your savings and dividend income.

Working out your tax position is basically a four stage process, which we set out in the ‘tax basics section’ of our website. In stages one and two, you have to work out your taxable income and any allowances or deductions you are entitled to.

In this employed section of our website we provide further information on:

that relate specifically to employees.

To work out your tax, you also need to understand how much tax you pay through PAYE, so you need to be able to check your coding notice and understand your payslip.

You have to pay tax on any other taxable income that you have in the tax year too. So, if you have any other taxable income, you need to include this in your calculations.

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Where can I find more help and information?

HMRC have online tools to help you check the tax you are paying in the current year and have paid in past tax years. These can be found on GOV.UK. In order to access these services you need to have a Government Gateway account.

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