Fiscal drag bites on earners

Changes to personal tax allowances and higher interest rates have seen a growing number of people being affected by fiscal drag.

Fiscal drag is the phenomenon where taxpayers are pushed into higher tax brackets due to wage increases as they keep pace with inflation.

With the UK Government freezing most tax bands until 2028, and reducing the threshold on the additional marginal rate, fiscal drag can have a significant impact on the finances of people across different income levels.

Rising inflation

Due to rising inflation and to some degree economic growth, wages have risen from £406 a week to £533 on a median basis over the last ten years, according to Money Week.

It also reported that pay in the private sector, excluding bonuses, rose 6.5 per cent from November 2022 to January 2023.

While these rises may be good news, in reality, they are being eroded by spiralling inflation and the need to pay income tax at higher rates as people enter different tax bands.

Increased tax bills

According to Money Week, those earning £15,000, £20,000, and £30,000 will see their income rise by 21 per cent, but their tax bills will increase by 106 per cent, 50 per cent, and 32 per cent respectively.

High earners paid over £50,000 are expected to see a 21 per cent increase in wages and a 35 per cent increase in their personal tax bill – adding £1,905 to their tax bill.

To avoid fiscal drag, people need to carefully manage their income to take advantage of tax reliefs, allowances and tax-efficient investments.

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