Tax on Dividends

How Dividends are Taxed

You may get a dividend payment if you own shares in a company.

You can earn some dividend income each year without paying tax.

You do not pay tax on any dividend income that falls within your Personal Allowance (the amount of income you can earn each year without paying tax).

You also get a dividend allowance each year. You only pay tax on any dividend income above the dividend allowance.

You do not pay tax on dividends from shares in an ISA (external link).

Dividend Allowance 

Tax YearDividend Allowance
6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020£2,000
6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019£2,000
6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018£5,000
6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017£5,000

The rules are different for dividends before 6 April 2016 (external link).

Working out Tax on Dividends

How much tax you pay on dividends above the dividend allowance depends on your Income Tax band (external link).

Tax BandTax Rate on Dividends Over the Allowance
Basic Rate7.5%
Higher Rate32.5%
Additional Rate38.1%

To work out your tax band, add your total dividend income to your other income.

You may pay tax at more than one rate.


You get £3,000 in dividends and earn £29,500 in wages in the 2019 to 2020 tax year.

This gives you a total income of £32,500.

You have a Personal Allowance of £12,500. Take this off your total income to leave a taxable income of £20,000.

This is in the basic rate tax band, so you would pay:

  • 20% tax on £17,000 of wages 
  • no tax on £2,000 of dividends, because of the dividend allowance 
  • 7.5% tax on £1,000 of dividends 

How you Pay Tax on Dividends 

If you need to pay tax, how you pay depends on the amount of dividend income you got in the tax year.

Up to £10,000 in dividends 

Tell HMRC by:

You do not need to tell HMRC if your dividends are within the dividend allowance for the tax year.  

Over £10,000 in dividends 

You will need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return.

If you do not usually send a tax return, you need to register by 5 October following the tax year you had the income.

You will get a letter telling you what to do next (external link) after you’ve registered.

Selling your Shares 

You may need to pay tax if you sell your shares (external link).

See Also: