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Generation Still Taxed

SMcCleary Stephen McCleary 21 December 2018

Retired Couple

With so much choice on offer, and with frequent rule changes and distinct tax benefits to consider, finding the right vehicle for your retirement planning is essential.

Add to this the number of taxpaying pensioners nearly doubling over the last two decades, and with talk of also requiring pensioners to pay National Insurance on any earnings or even on pensions, the older population may start thinking of themselves as ‘Generation still taxed’.


The analysis[1] shows that between the mid- 1990s and the mid-2010s, the number of taxpayers over the age of 65 nearly doubled from 3.32 million in 1995/96 to 6.49 million in 2015/16, the last year for which detailed figures are available. It is estimated that the number has broadly stabilised since then and stands at around 6.37 million in 2018/19.

The data covered every local authority in the UK and provided separate information for men and women. The data relates to the 6.87 million taxpayers over State Pension age in 2015/16 and includes around 400,000 women over State Pension age but under the age of 65.


Amongst the 6.87 million taxpaying pensioners, the average annual tax bill is £3,522. For the 3.87 million men, the average bill is £4,341; for the 3 million women, the average is £2,467. More than a quarterof taxpaying pensioners are still in paid work – 1.5 million have employment income, and 0.5 million have income from self-employment.

The total amount of Income Tax paid by pensioners in 2015/16 was around £24 billion. Of this, around £21 billion came from England, £1.7 billion from Scotland, £0.8 billion from Wales and £0.4 billion from Northern Ireland.


The five local authorities with the highest total tax bill by pensioners were Surrey (£961 million), Hampshire (£763 million), Essex (£756 million), Greater Manchester (£646 million) and Kent (£645 million). This means that pensioners in Surrey are paying more in Income Tax than pensioners across the whole of Wales.

When planning for retirement, it is vital to remember that the tax office will still want a slice of your income, which reinforces the need to put aside enough to secure a decent standard of living, even after the taxman has had his slice.

Whatever your plans for the future, we are here to help you take the next step. It is possible that you could spend a third of your life in retirement, and your income needs do not necessarily reduce just becauseyou stop work. This means your retirement is likely to be one of your largest lifetime expenses. Please talk to us if you want to review your retirement plans.

Source data:

[1] Royal London Freedom of Information Act request – data for 2015/16 for taxpayers over pension age, broken down for each local authority in the UK and for men and women separately. Data gives the number of pensioner taxpayers in each area and how much tax they pay. It also shows how many have income from self-employment, employment, pensions, property and other sources.

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