Your tax-free bits
Your tax-free cash
You’re entitled to take up to 25% of your total retirement savings tax free. You can take your savings all in one go or as a series of smaller amounts, with 25% of the amount taken being tax free.
If you take all your tax-free entitlement in one go, you can’t leave your remaining 75% untouched in your plan. You’ll need to either buy a secure income or put the rest of your savings into a plan that offers you flexible access to your money – though you can choose not to take any income from it.
With flexible access, your savings stay invested in your plan. While this means they can continue to grow, it also means they can fall in value. So you could get back less than you started with.
Your Personal Allowance
The government allows you to receive a certain level of income each year, without taxing you. It’s called your 'Personal Allowance'.
For the tax-year 2020/2021, the standard Personal Allowance is £12,500. This can be subject to change.
Any tax-free cash you take doesn’t count towards your Personal Allowance.
Your taxable bits
The table below shows the income tax bands for a UK taxpayer with the standard Personal Allowance.
As you can see, someone with a standard Personal Allowance wouldn’t pay any tax if their total income from all sources during the year was less than £12,500.
The table also highlights how taking large sums of cash from your retirement savings could push you into a higher rate tax bracket – meaning you’d hand more of your savings to the government.
Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and can be subject to change.
If you're a UK taxpayer living in Scotland and you want to find out what income tax rates apply to you, please visit www.gov.uk/scottish-income-tax.