Claiming Pension Higher Rate Tax Relief

02 Mar 2016

The following does NOT apply to Salary Sacrifice / Exchange or SMART  pension contributions

Basic rate tax relief is automatically added to any personal pension contributions you make from your net pay at the point the contributions are invested into your pension account.  If you are a higher/additional rate taxpayer, you are entitled to claim additional tax relief to reflect this.

How to Claim: The first step to complete this is to obtain a statement of the GROSS PERSONAL contributions that you have paid into your pension account during the tax year from your pension provider. Most pension providers allow you to obtain such a statement online once you have registered to use their online services.

Once you have your statement YOU need to make a claim to HMRC for your higher rate tax relief which you can so in one of two ways:

1.Complete Box 1 of the ‘Tax Reliefs’ section of your Self Assessment (SA100) form 

Enter the total amount of your gross personal contributions on which you wish to claim your higher rate tax relief. Do not include any employer contributions in this figure. During completion of the tax return you can choose whether to receive any tax rebate immediately or via an adjustment to your future tax code.

2. Contact HMRC directly and request your higher rate tax relief

Write to HMRC (Pay As You Earn, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AS) and request your higher rate tax relief either immediately or via an adjustment to your future tax code. We can provide you with a template letter on request to accompany your statement of contributions.

Alternatively, you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and confirm your name, address, National Insurance Number, gross personal contributions during the year and the tax year to which the claim relates.


CARE: Subsequent to your claim, HMRC is likely to automatically change your tax code for future tax years on the assumption, rightly or wrongly, that the same contributions are to be paid in the future. Whilst this provides you with your higher rate tax relief immediately, saving you the need to claim this in the future, it does mean that if this assumption turns out to be wrong to any degree you could end of paying too little tax and owing HMRC money.

As such you must remember to advise HMRC immediately your contributions change,, particularly if these reduce, stop or change to a salary sacrifice/exchange/SMART Pension basis, so that they can re-adjust your future tax code.

Previous Tax Years: It may be possible to claim higher rate relief on pension contributions made in previous tax years if you have not previously done so. The deadline is four tax years after the end of the tax year in which you are making the claim.

As per 2 above in this case you should contact HMRC and provide them with the details of your gross personal contributions paid and the tax years to which these relate. HMRC will then review this and confirm whether or not a rebate is due and if so the amount. Normally HMRC settles any previous tax year claims by cheque.


All statements concerning the tax treatment of products and their benefits are based on our understanding of current tax law and HM Revenue and Customs’ practice. Levels and bases of tax relief are subject to change. This information is not provided as personal advice and should not be treated as such.

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