Salary sacrifice - basic rate taxpayer example

These FAQs are for financial advisers only. They mustn’t be distributed to, or relied on by, customers. They are based on our understanding of current legislation, which may change.

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The most common method of using salary sacrifice is to keep an employee's net take home pay the same, with an increased pension contribution after sacrifice. This is the ‘KEEP NET INCOME CONSTANT’ option on Aegon’s online salary sacrifice calculator, which is held here.

Using this option, here’s how the numbers are crunched for an employee who is a basic rate taxpayer over age 25, earning £24,000 pa with an existing 5% pension contribution (£100 per month gross, £80 per month net) being paid into a personal pension. This example uses the following tax and NI rates for 2016/17 (this isn’t the complete set of tax and NI rates):

  • income tax personal allowance = £11,000. 
  • basic rate tax = 20%.
  • employee NI = 12% on earnings between £8,060 and £43,000.
  • employer NI = 13.8% on earnings above £8,112.
  • income Tax: £2,360 = ((£24,000 - £11,000) x 20%) - £240 (basic rate tax relief).
  • employee NI: £1,912.80 = ((£24,000 - £8,060) x 12%).
  • net pay: £18,527.20 calculated as £24,000 (salary) - £2,360 (tax) - £1,912.80 (NI) - £1,200 (gross employee pension contribution).

To calculate the reduction in salary (i.e. the sacrifice amount) the annual net employee pension contribution is grossed back up to take account of basic rate tax and NI:

  • £960/0.68 (20% tax + 12% NI) = £1,411.76.
  • assuming that all of the employer NI saving is added back in, the new employer pension contribution after sacrifice is:
  • £1,411.76 x 1.138 (100% employer NI saving) = £1,606.58 pa (£133.88 pm).
  • on a gross salary of £22,588.24 (£24,000 - £1,411.76).
  • income tax: £2,317.65 = ((£22,588.24 - £11,000) x 20%).
  • employee NI: £1,743.39 = ((£22,588.24 - £8,060) x 12%).
  • net Pay: £18,527.20 calculated as £22,588.24 (salary) - £2,317.65 (tax) - £1,743.39 (NI).
  • before sacrifice = £24,000 (gross salary) + £2,192.54 (employer NI) = £26,192.54.
  • after sacrifice = £22,588.24 (gross salary) + £1,997.72 (employer NI) + £1,606.58 (employer pension contribution) = £26,192.54.
  • ‘net take home pay’ stays the same before and after salary sacrifice (£18,527.20).
  • there is an increased pension contribution (£100 pm gross employee contribution before sacrifice changes to £133.88 pm gross employer contribution after sacrifice).
  • there is no extra cost to the employer or employee.

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