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Updated on 6 April 2024

Tax on the state pension

The state pension is taxable but unlike private pensions, the state pension has no tax deducted at source before it is paid to you. Here we look at what tax is payable on state pension payments.

a pink piggy bank wearing glasses, sat next to a calculator.
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The state pension is taxable. However, you receive your state pension gross, with no tax taken off.

If your income, including your state pension, is less than your tax-free allowances, you probably do not need to pay any tax at all. But if your total taxable income, including your state pension and any other pensions as well as other sources such as earnings, is more than your tax-free allowances you may need to pay some tax.

The state pension is taxed on an accruals basis. This means that the amount which is taxable might not be exactly the same as the amount received. This is explained under the heading below: Taxable state pension payments.

   Note: you do not get a form P60 after the end of each tax year for your state pension, so you must keep your own records of your state pension income.

How the state pension is taxed

Please see our page How tax is collected on the state pension for full information. Always keep any Department of Work and Pensions paperwork you are sent which tells you what your weekly amount of state pension will be for any tax year, as you will find this useful if you need to check your PAYE coding notice, complete a tax return, check a tax calculation sent to you by HMRC or make a repayment claim.

To help avoid any problems with tax on your pensions, you should tell HMRC whenever you receive a new pension or other source of income.

If you are thinking of retiring abroad, read our information on how your state pension will be taxed and about increases in state pension when you are living abroad.

If you put off claiming your state pension, there is more information on our pages: Putting off (deferring) claiming the state pension and Tax on deferred state pension lump sums.

Taxable state pension payments

The amount of state pension you pay tax on in a year is the amount that you are due to receive in the year.

This is often not the same as the amount you actually receive, as you are likely to have your state pension paid to you four-weekly, as explained on GOV.UK.

You might need to do some sums to get to the right taxable amount, as you do not get a P60 for the state pension after the end of the tax year.

To do this, you should look at letters you receive from the Department of Work and Pensions (usually before the start of the tax year) telling you how much your weekly amount of state pension is.

You will then have to count how many weekly payments you would have received in the tax year if you had it paid weekly and multiply this by the weekly sum. Sometimes, depending on how the dates fall, you might have to add, say, 51 weeks at one amount to 1 week at a different amount to make up the full tax year.

If you only started to receive the state pension part way through a year, you will need to count the weeks from the date you were due to start receiving it. This reverse would be true if you are dealing with the affairs of someone who died during the tax year – you would need to count the weeks from the start of the tax year in which they died up to the date of death.

If you have another source of income which is taxed under PAYE, such as an occupational pension, then you might find the taxable figure for your state pension in your tax code for that source of income. If you are filling in an online Self Assessment tax return, the system might fill in the figure for you. Alternatively, you can contact HMRC to ask them the correct figure.

Example – calculating taxable state pension

Christine was due her state pension from 15 March 2024 at £203.85 a week (the rate up to April 2024). The default payment is 4-weekly in arrears (which means that the first payment will be due at the end of the first four weeks after she first became due to receive it).

The first payment she receives is therefore on 12 April 2024. Although Christine did not actually receive any state pension in the 2023/24 tax year (which ended on 5 April 2024), had she been paid weekly, she would have received payments on 22, 29 March and 5 April. Her taxable state pension for 2023/24 is therefore three times the weekly amount she is due – 3 x £203.85 = £611.55.

Non-taxable payments connected to state pension

Note that the winter fuel payment and Christmas bonus, also paid by the Department for Work and Pensions, are both non-taxable. Be careful not to include these amounts as part of your taxable state pension amount. Child dependency additions paid with state pension are non-taxable. Pension credit is also a non-taxable state benefit and does not need to be declared.

Backdated state pension claims

You can backdate a claim to the state pension by up to 12 months. So if, for example, you reach state pension age on 1 October 2024 but do not claim it at that time, up to 30 September 2025 you can still backdate your claim as if you had originally made it at 1 October 2024.

In such cases, the state pension will be taxed in the year it would have been paid, had the claim been made at the appropriate time. Therefore, using 1 October 2024 as in the above example, any state pension that would have been due to be paid to you between 1 October 2023 and 5 April 2025 will be taxable in the 2024/25 tax year. Any amount due from 6 April 2025 will then be taxable in 2025/26.

This is effectively just a catch-up payment of the state pension you would have been due to receive if you had claimed it earlier, so there is no special tax treatment in this situation. This is different to where you defer your state pension.

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