Do I Pay Tax on my Google Adsense Earnings?

You must declare your Google Adsense earnings to HMRC however the amount of tax you pay depends on your personal circumstances and how much you earn from all your sources of income.

Everyone is legally required to declare all their earnings even if they earn below the threshold for paying any tax.

How Do I Declare on My Google Adsense Earnings?

The easiest way to declare your Google Adsense Earnings is to register as Self-Employed and send in a self-assessment tax return form.

This personal tax return is a form which lets HMRC know how much you have earned and how much tax you need to pay (much like an employer would do if you worked in a job).

Your Responsibilities being Self Employed

Self Employed Individuals are responsible for reporting their income to HMRC under Self Assessment by submitting a personal Tax Return by 31 January each year detailing all of your Google Adsense earnings along with any other earnings (from a salaried job or property rental for example), income tax and National Insurance due, as well as paying any tax you owe.

Your tax return submitted by 31 January covers the previous tax year (a tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April). So for example, your tax return due by 31 January 2018 details your earnings between 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017 from Google Adsense as well as any other income you have (such as employment income, rental income, bank interest or dividends).

How to Work Out Your Google Adsense Earnings

When you are self-employed the tax you pay is based on the income you make from Google Adsense.

Confusingly, income actually means profit – all the money you make less all the costs you have incurred.

Working Out Your Google Adsense Earnings

You can find out your Google Adsense Earning by looking in your Adsense account.  A useful report for adding up your earnings is the detailed transaction report, which you can find by going to:

  • Settings
  • Payments
  • View Transactions
  • Choose Detailed transactions
  • Choose Payments
  • Select Your Date Range
Tax Adsense Earnings

Allowable Expenses

When you are self employed it is really important to understand which are allowable as they reduce the amount of tax you have to pay.  Here are some examples of expenses you may pay for that you could claim against your adsense earnings:

Computer If you use your computer to manage your website and adsense earnings then you can claim for the cost this as an allowable expense.

It is a common to have something, like a laptop, that you use for business and personal reasons.  In these types of cases HMRC allows you to only claim for the portion of the item being used for the business. So if for example you use your laptop 60% of the time for your business and the other 40% for personal things like internet shopping, Facebook etc then you would only be able to claim for 60% of the cost of the laptop against your taxes.

Website Build, Domain Hosting

Use of Home
If you choose to work from home then there are rules that will allow you to claim an amount for the running costs of doing so from your home as a portion of your household bills such as gas, water, electricity or rent.

Alternatively, HMRC allows you to claim a flat rate of £4 per week for using your home for work purposes and you don’t need to substantiate this claim with receipts.

Any marketing you do (online or offline), paid ads or anyone you pay to help you with your marketing in relation to your website and earning from Google Adsense is also fully allowable so make sure you download or ask your marketing assistant to send you an invoice before you pay them.

Accounting & Bookkeeping
If you choose to use an accountant to complete your self assessment tax return again their fees will be an allowable expense. Keeping accurate records will definitely help keep their fees down too as well as giving them all the information they need to make sure you receive all the deductions and reliefs to reduce your tax liability.

Bank Charges
It is advisable to open a business bank account and keep your business and personal expenditure separate. The bank charges you pay on your business bank account is an allowable expense.

All expenses must be supported by a receipt, so make sure you keep hold of all your paper or emailed receipts. It is also really important to be aware of which expenses are allowable for your business because incorrect claims can result in penalties. If you are unsure, always seek the help of a professional.

Top Tax Tip:

Even if you make a loss you must still register with HMRC and complete a tax return.  This may feel onerous, but completing a tax return means you can record all your expenses to create a tax loss.  This can then be used against any money you make in future tax years and save you tax at this point.

How Much Tax Will You Pay on Your Adsense Earnings?

As you now know the amount of tax you pay is based on the profit you make from Google Adsense (all your income less all your allowable expenses).

However the amount of tax that you actually pay is based on your own circumstances and how much you earn in total during a tax year.

Income tax is calculated at different rates according to how much your profits are.  So for 2017/2018 the rates are:

Personal Allowance0%Up to £11,500Up to £11,000
Basic rate20%£11,501 to £45,000£11,001 to £43,000
Higher rate40%£45,001 to £150,000£43,001 to £150,000
Additional rate45%over £150,000over £150,000

Example of Working Out Tax 

Molly has a website with Google Adsense running but also has a part time job earning £15,000 per year, so has paid tax of £800 through payroll.  She is getting ready to submit her tax return for the tax year 2016/2017 which is due by 31 January 2018.  She has worked out that her profit from google adsense was £22,000 therefore she will need to pay tax of £4,400.

What are Payments On Account?

What Other Tax Must You Pay on Google Adsense Earnings?

Self employed individuals may need to pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance as well as tax.  The amount of Class 4 National Insurance you pay is based on your google adsense profits. The current rates are:

ClassRates for tax year 2017/2018Rates for tax year 2016/2017
Class 2£2.85 a week on taxable profits above £6,025£2.80 a week on taxable profits above £5,965
Class 49% on profits between £8,164 and £45,000 2% on profits over £45,0009% on profits between £8,060 and £43,000 2% on profits over £43,000

In our example above, Molly earned £22,000 therefore would need to pay Class 1 National Insurance of £145.60 and Class 2 National Insurance of £1,254.60.

Molly’s total tax bill is therefore:

  • Income tax £4,400.00
  • Class 1 National Insurance £145.60
  • Class 2 National Insurance £1,254.60
  • Total for 2016/2017 £5,800.20
  • Payment on Account £2,827.30
  • Total to pay by 31 January 2018 £8,627.50

Complete Your Tax Return

In our example, Molly would need to complete the self-employment section AND employment section of her Self Assessment Tax Return.  She would need to disclose what she earned in her job which will be on her P60 provided to her by her employer.

Updated 15 April 2019


About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek and money nerd helping financial DIY-ers organise their money so they can hit their goals quicker.