What is week 53 and how does it affect me?

Carrie Foster

Week 53 (54 for fortnightly or 56 for four-weekly)

Time for some accounting magic, watch us turn 365 days into 53 weeks.

In a standard calendar year, we have 52 weeks, with an additional day, and two extra days in a leap year. Employers who remunerate their employees on a weekly, fortnightly, or four-weekly basis may find themselves making an additional payment (the 53rd in one calendar year) to their employees at the conclusion of the tax year.

These extra payments are called:

Week 53 if there are 53 weekly payments in the year
Week 54 if there are 27 fortnightly payments in the year
Week 56 if there are 14 four-weekly payments in the year

These additional ‘weeks’ are computed on a non-cumulative basis, denoted as week 1, and are regarded as distinct periods within the tax year. Tax is deducted independently without factoring in prior pay and tax calculations. National Insurance (NI) is deducted as usual for this additional payment.

As these payments may lead to a potential underpayment of tax, owing to the additional Personal Allowance, it is advisable for employers to notify employees when a payroll includes a week 53. HMRC will directly inform individuals if there has been any underpayment of tax.

Week 53/54/56 for the tax year 23/24 will fall on payrolls with a pay date of the 4th April and 5th April 2024.

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