Payroll Giving: The Tax Effective Way Of Giving To Charity

To put it simply, your employer will take your donation off your salary before working out the tax you owe to the tax man. For example, if you earn £1000 per month and donate £100 per month through payroll giving, the amount you will be taxed on is £900.

This is significant because this means that a £100 donation has only cost you £80 (20% tax payer) or £60 (40% tax payer). This is because you have not been required to pay tax as it deducted before your tax is calculated: (100 x 20%= £20) or (100 x 40% = £40).

Why a cash donation isn’t effective.

The most common way for most people to donate is by giving cash. However, to give £100 from your take home pay (income after tax), this has cost you roughly £125 in earnings to give that £100 (125 x 0.8 – assuming a 20% tax payer ) or £166 (166 x 0.8 – assuming a 40% tax payer).

National Insurance Contributions

Please bear in mind that for National Insurance Contributions will not be reduced by the donation figure. It is only the Tax Due on your salary that will change.


Please note that there is an transaction fee for setting up a regular payment through payroll by most providers. It tends to be roughly 20p. I wouldn’t let you put this off as it is roughly in line with the fees that would be required through a standard donation scheme (Direct debit/cash).

In many cases, employers set up a monthly donation to cover the admin fee’s for donations made by staff.

Fundemtally the most efficient way

To me, Payroll Giving is a no-brainer if you are looking to donate to charity. It reduces the tax paid by yourself making the donation ‘cheaper’.

More info can be found via the Charities Aid Foundation here.

What would I do if I won 1 million?

This is a great ‘thought experiment’ by The Saving Ninja. What would I do if I received a million pounds?

Where am I getting the million smackerooni’s?

I do not play the lottery.  But for those who do, what are the chances of actually ever winning? Spoiler – very little!

Dr. Liberty Vittert gave the answer in a Ted Talk at my home city of Glasgow.  It is a 1 in 45 million chance. She visualized it as paying £2 for the pleasure of closing your eyes and attempting to pull out the single golden grain of rice from a bathtub full of rice. Consequently, my direct debit for the lottery was canceled, saving me £208 a year.

I would like to make a shout out to any relatives, perhaps a relative in a whiskey empire, who need to give some money out too? Get in touch, I could do with the milly.

What would I do with the money?

My whiskey empire long lost relative has left in their will a million for me. Great news – not on the death of course.

I would start by putting £250k towards a house. I am currently in the ‘looking for my first house’ section of my life. This would probably allow me to go up a level in house price and get a house I want quicker. The added benefit would be that the house would be paid for in cash, and that’s it out of the way. As this is my first post, be warned, there will be plenty of house buying and mortgage posts!

Furthermore, I would then put £50k aside as an emergency fund.

My ‘strategy’ for the majority of the remaining money (£700k) would be to invest as much of the money as possible and utilize the passive income. The passive income would be mainly used to top up my savings and pension. This is where the ‘Tax Alarm Bell’ starts ringing! I am all for paying a fair share of tax, so I wouldn’t look to do anything that would get me on a Panorama investigation special.

The Fire Starter blog has done a detailed post on using ISA’s/SIPP’s etc and is worth checking out if you are interested in more detail. I may also call in some favors from one or two of my personal tax accountant friends (#party).

I would also look to donate a % of the passive income to charity. Instead of donating up front a slice of the money, my logic is that a when I die, I will hopefully leave a healthy chunk of money in the family tree.  Hopefully, those who inherit my estate will continue to donate and this will be a legacy that will be passed on.

On the fun side, I would be using some of the passive income to boost the holiday budget on pursuing some of my dream travels (New Zealand’s South Island HWFG! (‘Here we f’ing go’ – Scottish slang which is slightly cringe!). Picture of the North Island I visited below:

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Waiheke Island

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Would I quit my job?

This would give me a ‘leg up’ and propel me further along the path I was looking to take.  It would allow me to move into retirement a lot sooner and/or alternatively moving to a part-time role until retirement.


  • I’d buy a house.
  • Stash some money in an emergency fund.
  • Invest the rest and utilize the passive income.

What do you think of my plan? What would you do?