How Do Higher Rate Earners Claim Pension Tax Relief?

As a higher rate earner in the UK, you can claim additional tax relief on your pension contributions. We are here to help you claim it, but here’s a reminder about how it’s done:

Check Your Tax Bracket:

Higher rate taxpayers in the UK are eligible for 40% tax relief on pension contributions. Additional rate taxpayers are eligible for 45% tax relief.

Contributions from Net Income:

If you’re contributing to a pension scheme that operates under the relief at source method (most workplace pensions and personal pensions), your contributions will be taken from your net income after tax has been deducted. The pension provider then claims basic rate tax relief (20%) from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and adds it to your pension pot automatically.

Claiming Additional Tax Relief:

To claim the additional tax relief for higher rate taxpayers (40% or 45%), you need to include your pension contributions on your annual tax return. You can claim the difference between the basic rate tax relief claimed by your pension provider and your higher rate of tax.

Through Self-Assessment:

If you’re not already in self-assessment, you may need to register for it to claim the additional tax relief. You can do this through the HMRC website or by contacting HMRC directly.

Declare Pension Contributions on Tax Return:

On your tax return, there will be a section where you can declare your pension contributions. You’ll need to enter the total gross amount of your contributions (including the basic rate tax relief already claimed by your pension provider).

Receive Tax Relief:

Once you’ve submitted your tax return, HMRC will calculate the additional tax relief you’re entitled to based on your tax bracket. This additional relief will either reduce the tax you owe or increase any tax rebate you’re entitled to.

Keep Records:

Make sure to keep records of your pension contributions and any tax relief claimed, as HMRC may ask for evidence to support your claim.

Using your pension allowances and obtaining the full tax relief is a critical part of financial planning. This tax relief is your reward for locking your money into a pension into your retirement date, so make sure it’s claimed in full.

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The guidance and/or advice contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK. Welby is a trading name of Welby Associates Wealth Management Ltd Company Registered Number NI630504 who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA register number 697372. The Financial Ombudsman Service is available to sort out individual complaints that clients and financial services businesses aren't able to resolve themselves. To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service please visit

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