Jobs · 5 min read

Is Income Tax High In The UK?


Time to get down to a subject no one enjoys. Income tax!

But before you block your ears, wait! Because UK income tax is a subject that everyone needs to get to grips with at some point.

This will also help you answer a question you’ve probably wondered before: “Is income tax in the UK high?”

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What Is The UK Income Tax System?

In the UK, tax has been around for yonks - it’s a pretty old practice.

And before you get all huffy about having to pay them, just remember! It would be impossible to pay for our health, welfare, schools, universities, transport, all that kinda stuff, without them.

So, yeah, they’re pretty important.

We’ve all gotta chip in with taxes to keep the country’s wheels turning. But here’s the deal to keep it fair: you only start paying up when you earn over a certain amount. This is what’s known as the personal allowance threshold.

As of 2023/24, this limit is £12,570. Once you’re earnings cross that line, well then sorry, but you gotta cough up!

But hang on - is it fair that we all fork out the same amount when some folks are rolling in more dough than others? Well, the UK tax system has already got this sorted.

The point of the UK tax system is to make sure the burden is spread fairly. So, if you’ve got your moolah, you’re expected to kick in more. That’s the idea anyway.

What Are The UK Tax Bands?

When it comes to UK income tax, that’s the basic scoop: the more money you make, the more income tax your gotta pay.

This is broken down into what are known as tax bands. Your taxable income will depend on how much dough you’re raking in. Check it out:

  • Personal Allowance - £12,570
  • Basic Rate - £12,571 to £50,270
  • Higher Rate - £50,271 to £125,140
  • Additional Rate - over £125,140

If you’re in the basic rate zone, you’re looking at a 20% tax rate. Climb to the higher rate band, and it jumps to 40%. And, if you’re rolling in the big bucks in the additional rate band, it maxes out at 45%.

Okay! That should give you an idea of the UK income tax system, and how much we’re all expected to pay.

Now we can spill the team on that all-important question: is UK income tax high?

How Can We Assess If UK Income Tax Is High?

Figuring out if UK income tax is high can be a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s a subjective question after all, and it’s all about perspective peeps!

So, whether you think UK income tax is chill or not depends on a few things:

  • Income Level - Earning the big bucks might sound great in theory! But here’s the catch: higher earners may feel the tax more since they’re dishing out a bigger chunk.
  • Tax Deductions and Allowances - If you’re eligible for tax deductions and allowances, it can make the whole tax thing feel a bit more manageable. Phew!
  • Economic Conditions - Stuff like inflation and the cost of living can already be a major buzzkill. Throw income tax into the mix, and it might make the burden feel a lot heavier.
  • Government Policies - When the UK government decides to shake up tax rates and policies, it can totally mess with how you see tax. Sometimes you gotta shell out more to respond to economic challenges or to fund public services. This can be a total bummer.
  • Comparisons to Other Countries - The grass is always greener on the other side, right? Well, this can apply to taxes too. If you peep at other countries with lower taxes, UK income tax might seem like a party pooper.


So, is income tax in the UK high? The answer to this really depends on perspective. There are relatively high taxes, especially for higher income earners, compared to some countries. But the UK does also offer a range of free public services and social benefits. So, it kinda balances out.

Ultimately, whether income tax is high or not is a matter of personal opinion. Do you look at what UK income tax is and think - “WTF? That’s high!” Or, do you think, “Yeah, that seems fair enough”? At the end of the day, this decision is really up to you!

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