When it comes to managing personal finances, planning for retirement is an essential aspect that should not be overlooked. One of the most popular ways to save for retirement is through a private pension scheme. However, many individuals are confused about whether they need to declare payments into a private pension on their tax return. In this article, we will explain what you need to know about private pensions and your tax obligations.

What is a Private Pension Scheme?

A private pension scheme is a way for individuals to save for retirement by contributing regular payments to a pension fund. The pension fund is then invested in various assets, such as stocks, bonds, and property, with the aim of generating a return on investment that will provide an income in retirement. Private pensions are typically set up by individuals who are self-employed, employed by a company that does not offer a workplace pension scheme, or those who want to supplement their workplace pension.

Do I Need to Declare Payments into a Private Pension on My Tax Return?

The short answer is no, you do not need to declare payments into a private pension on your tax return. This is because contributions to private pensions are made from your pre-tax income, which means that you have already received tax relief on the amount contributed. The tax relief is applied at the basic rate of 20%, which means that for every £100 you contribute, the government will add an extra £25 in tax relief.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you are a high earner and contribute more than £40,000 per year to your pension, you may be subject to the annual allowance charge. This is a tax charge on any contributions that exceed the annual allowance of £40,000. If you are unsure whether you are affected by this charge, it is best to seek advice from a professional accountant.

Additionally, if you have already accessed your pension pot, you may need to declare any income you receive from your pension on your tax return. This is because any income received from your pension is subject to income tax, although you may be entitled to the personal allowance and any other tax reliefs that apply.


In summary, you do not need to declare payments into a private pension on your tax return as contributions are made from your pre-tax income. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as the annual allowance charge and income received from an already accessed pension pot. It is important to seek advice from a professional accountant if you are unsure about your tax obligations relating to private pensions.

At Unicorn Accountants, we offer a range of accounting services to help you manage your finances effectively, including pension planning and tax return preparation. Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your financial goals.