UK Investment Guides Loader

The basics of UK tax system

written by Bella Palmer

When it comes to managing your finances in the UK, understanding the ins and outs of UK tax laws is crucial. From income tax to capital gains tax (CGT), there are different types of taxes that individuals and businesses need to be aware of to ensure they are compliant with the law.

What is UK tax?

UK tax refers to the system of taxation in the UK, which is imposed by the government on individuals and businesses to fund public services and government spending. There are various types of taxes in the UK, including income tax, National Insurance contributions, value-added tax (VAT), CGT, and corporation tax.

How income tax works in the UK?

Income tax is a tax on an individual's earnings and is calculated based on their total income for the tax year. The UK has a progressive tax system, which means that the rate of income tax increases as income levels increase. There are different tax bands in the UK, with each band having a different tax rate.

For the tax year 2021/22, the basic rate of income tax in the UK is 20% on earnings between £12,570 and £50,270, the higher rate is 40% on earnings between £50,271 and £150,000, and the additional rate is 45% on earnings over £150,000.

National Insurance Contributions

National Insurance contributions (NICs) are payments made by individuals and employers to qualify for certain state benefits and the State Pension. There are various classes of NICs in the UK, depending on an individual's employment status and earnings.

Employees' NICs are deducted from their wages by their employer, while self-employed individuals are responsible for paying their NICs directly to HMRC.

Value-Added Tax

VAT is a consumption tax that is levied on the sale of goods and services in the UK. VAT is charged at different rates depending on the type of goods or services being sold. The standard rate of VAT in the UK is 20%, but there are also reduced rates of 5% and 0% for certain goods and services.

Businesses that are registered for VAT are required to charge VAT on their sales and submit VAT returns to HMRC on a regular basis. They can also reclaim VAT that they have paid on business expenses.

Capital Gains Tax

CGT is a tax on the profit made when an asset is sold or disposed of at a higher price than it was acquired for. Individuals are liable to pay Capital Gains Tax on gains made from the sale of assets such as property, shares, and personal possessions.

There is an annual tax-free allowance for CGT, known as the Annual Exempt Amount. For the tax year 2021/22, the Annual Exempt Amount is £12,300.

Corporation Tax

Corporation Tax is a tax on the profits of limited companies and other organizations in the UK.

Companies are required to calculate their profits for Corporation Tax purposes and submit a Corporation Tax return to HMRC. The deadline for paying Corporation Tax is normally nine months and one day after the end of the firm's accounting period.

So, understanding UK tax laws is essential for individuals and businesses to ensure they are compliant and avoid any penalties or fines. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of taxes in the UK and their respective rules and regulations, you can effectively manage your finances and make informed financial decisions. Remember to seek professional advice from a tax advisor or accountant if you have any specific tax-related queries or concerns.


The opinions expressed by our writers are their own and do not represent the views of UK Investment Guides. The information provided on UK Investment Guides is intended for informational purposes only. UK Investment Guides is not liable for any financial losses incurred. Conduct your own research by contacting financial experts before making any investment decisions.

Share this post with friends!