What you will have to pay for

Like everyone else, whether in the Armed Forces or in Civvy street, you’ll have to make sure your monthly pay stretches to meet your expenses.

After taxes, there are other deductions that will come out of your pay before you get it, depending on your living situation.

And then it’s yours, so make sure you plan ahead and think about what other expenses you might have so you don’t have any nasty surprises before the end of the month.

Deductions from your pay

You can find out your annual salary by looking at the pay tables for officers and other ranks but how much you get in your bank account each month depends also on the deductions that are taken from your pay.

Some of the typical deductions from your salary could be:

  • Income Tax and National Insurance – even when you are serving abroad you must pay UK tax and National Insurance contributions
  • accommodation charges
  • fuel and light charges (married quarters, overseas)
  • Contributions in Lieu of Council Tax (CILOCT) – not payable if you are under 18 years old
  • daily food charge, and 
  • student loan. 

Income Tax and National Insurance

As someone earning money in the UK – even if you are posted abroad – you have to pay Income Tax. The basic rate of tax is 20% and the higher rate of tax is 40% - paid on taxable earnings above £32,000.

Everyone below pension age has a tax-free allowance of £11,000 (2016/17). This is the amount of money you can earn before you have to pay tax and is shown on your payslip as a tax code - see Understanding your pay statement.

Most people should have a tax code of 1100L. If you don’t have a tax code of 1100L you can get help to find out why from your pay office, or the Benefits and Money Advice team at The Royal British Legion or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You also have to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs). NICs ensure that you can claim a basic State Pension when you retire and also ensures that you can claim certain benefits if you become sick or unemployed. For more information see National Insurance on Gov.uk

Accommodation charges

You will be informed what accommodation you are entitled to, either Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or Service Family Accommodation (SFA).

The type and cost of your accommodation will depend on your Personal Status Category (PStatCat) and rank.

You can find out more at Where you will live.

If you live in SLA, amounts will normally be deducted from your pay to include:

You can find the current SLA charges in JSP 754 Annex E.

If you live in SFA the following amounts will normally be deducted from your pay:

  • accommodation charge (which includes rent, water and sewerage), and 
  • Council tax (CILOCT as above).

In the UK, if you live in SFA you are responsible for paying your electricity and gas bills. Get tips on reducing the cost of your utility bills in Save money on your energy bills.

You can find the current SFA charges in JSP 754 Annex E. 

Daily food charge

If you are single and live in Service accommodation a daily food charge is deducted from your pay unless you are part of the pay-as-you-dine contract. This will be mostly Phase 1 and Phase 2 trainees but some units still have not switched over to 'pay as you dine'. The current daily food charge can be found in JSP 754 Annex D. 


If your university course started between September 1998 and August 2012, you will repay 9% of anything you earn above £1,316 per month. So if your gross pay is £1,339.45 per month, your Student Loan deduction will be 9% x (1339.45-1316) = £2.11 per month.

So now you have an idea of what will be deducted from your pay before you get it, it makes sense to plan your budget so that you stay MoneyFit. Use our Budget planner to get started and see Budgeting to make the most of your money for some tips to make your money go further.

Student loans

If you have a student loan deductions will be taken automatically from your pay. How much you will have to repay each month will depend on when you took the loan out and where you live. For more information visit the Student Loan Company website.

Last reviewed: 19/09/2017