Tax on savings interest

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UK savers can benefit from a certain amount of tax-free interest on their savings thanks to the personal savings allowance (PSA). On this page, you’ll find out if savings account interest is taxable, how much you might be taxed on your savings, what the personal savings allowance is, all about tax-free savings accounts and how to pay tax on your savings.

The rundown
  • Tax on savings interest: Paying tax on savings depends on how much interest you earn and your tax bracket 
  • Personal allowance: The personal savings allowance allows you to earn tax-free interest on your savings up to a certain limit
  • Tax-free savings: ISAs are an option if you’re looking for tax-free savings

Do you pay tax on savings interest?

Whether you pay tax on your savings depends on how much interest you receive and which income tax bracket you fall into.

Low-income earners or non-taxpayers can benefit from the 0% tax ‘starting rate’ on savings of up to £5,000. This means you can earn up to £5,000 in interest before paying tax. This is reduced for every £1 you earn over your personal income tax allowance of £12,570 per year (2022/23). For example, if you earn £13,500, then your 0% starting rate for savings would be £4,070. Basic rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000 per year tax-free. For higher rate (40%) taxpayers, it’s £500.

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What is the personal savings allowance?

The personal savings allowance (PSA) is a tax allowance introduced by the UK government to reduce the tax burden on individuals’ savings income. It was first introduced in April 2016 as part of a series of changes to simplify the UK tax system and encourage saving. The PSA is designed to make it easier for people to earn interest and income from their savings without having to pay tax on it.

Your allowance depends on the rate of income tax you pay:

  • The PSA is set at £1,000 per year for basic-rate taxpayers
  • Higher-rate taxpayers can earn £500 per year with no tax
  • Additional-rate taxpayers do not get an allowance

How much can I save before I go over my personal savings allowance?

This table shows how much you can earn before paying tax on your savings interest:

Tax Rate Annual personal income, not from savings Tax-free interest on savings
No tax £0 to £12,570 Earn a maximum of £5,000 tax-free with the 0% starting rate for savings
Basic rate taxpayer with a low income £12,571 to £17,570 Earn up to £5,000 tax-free with the 0% starting rate of savings and up to a further £1,000 tax-free with your PSA
Basic rate taxpayer £17,571 to £50,270 Earn up to £1,000 interest tax-free with your PSA
Higher rate taxpayer £50,271 to £150,000 Earn up to £500 interest tax-free with your PSA
Additional rate taxpayer Over £150,000 Not eligible for any savings interest allowance

Are there any tax-free savings accounts?

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are an option if you’re looking for tax-free savings and investments. The annual amount you can save in your ISAs is £20,000, and you won’t pay any tax. This is the total amount you can deposit in one year, regardless of how many ISAs you hold. There are several different types of ISA to consider, including:

  • Cash ISAs – similar to a traditional savings account, there are three types of cash ISA: instant access cash ISA, regular savings cash ISA and fixed-rate cash ISA. Cash ISAs allow individuals to save money without paying income tax on the interest they earn
  • Stocks and shares ISAs are designed to encourage individuals to save and invest in a variety of financial assets, including stocks, shares, bonds, and mutual funds, while shielding any potential profits and income from taxation
  • Innovative finance ISA allow you to invest your money in peer-to-peer lending platforms or crowdfunding projects while enjoying certain tax benefits
  • Lifetime ISA are government-backed savings account designed to help individuals save for two specific purposes: buying their first home or saving for retirement

Do I have to notify HMRC of savings interest?

If you complete a Self Assessment tax return, you should report any interest earned on savings there. You will also need to register for Self Assessment if your income from savings and investments is over £10,000.

If you do not complete a Self Assessment, you’re not employed, or do not get a pension, your bank or building society will automatically tell HMRC how much interest you received at the end of the year. Then HMRC will tell you if you need to pay tax and how to pay it.

HMRC state that any tax owed will be paid through changes to your tax code. So you’ll get a lower personal allowance for income tax to pay any tax due on savings interest. HMRC will look at how much you got in saving interest last year and base your tax code next year on that if you went over your personal savings allowance. If you’ve had a tax code change in the past and are now earning less interest than your PSA, you’ll need to contact HMRC, as it will need to adjust your 2023/24 tax code to be correct.

What you need to know about a cash ISA
What you need to know about a cash ISA

In this article, you’ll learn more about cash ISAs and how they work. We also consider whether a cash ISA is the best option for you, as well as the alternative savings accounts that are available.

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Stocks and shares ISAs explained

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Lifetime ISA
Lifetime ISA

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What if I earn interest other than from my savings accounts?

Your personal savings allowance is not only applicable to your savings accounts. If you own corporate bonds or other financial products that also pay interest, this interest will be included in your total annual PSA. The same applies if you invest in a trust or a similar fund that pays interest on dividends.

How to claim back tax on savings interest

If you think you’ve paid too much tax on your savings, for example because your savings interest has fallen below the allowance, you can claim a refund.

You can either do this through your Self Assessment tax return (if you’re required to submit one) or by completing form R40. You must do this within four years of the end of the relevant tax year. It usually takes around six weeks for the tax to be refunded.

Apply for savings accounts online

If you want to quickly and easily open savings accounts online, consider using our marketplace. 

Some of the most popular types of savings accounts we offer include fixed rate bonds, easy access accounts and notice accounts.

  • Fixed rate bonds – these usually offer the most competitive rates of all account types and are a good option for long-term savings goals. Your money is locked in for a set period – typically between one and five years – and you won’t be able to access your cash until the agreed end date.
  • Easy access savings accounts – easy access savings accounts are ideal if you’re looking for more flexibility, as you can withdraw money whenever you like. However, they tend to pay lower rates of interest.
  • Notice accounts – these types of accounts combine the benefits of both fixed rate bonds and easy access accounts. They give you a degree of flexibility in that you only need to give a relatively short notice period to access your savings, but they also pay competitive rates of interest.

To open a high interest savings account, simply register for a Raisin UK Account (it’s free) and choose from a range of offers from our partner banks. Once your application is approved you can then sit back and watch your savings grow.

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