InvestmentIslamic Finance

How to deal with Zakat on your investments [2020 update]

Zakat is a tricky topic. There’s no getting past that fact. Anyone that thinks it’s simple probably doesn’t appreciate how much nuance is involved. And because we only get to zakat once a year, it’s not easy to stay on top of all the practical fiqh in that area. Since we get a bunch of investment-related zakat questions, we thought it would be good to write a piece on it so that everyone can benefit.

In this article, we’re going to cover a few key investments and how you approach zakat on them.

In this article specifically we’ll discuss zakat on buy-to-let propertypensions and shares. We appreciate that this is not comprehensive. Do comment or get in touch privately if you have any specific queries.

The key thing to understand with zakat is that there are lots of opinions on lots of different things (with very good scholars and reasons on all sides). So do your research and come to a conclusion. Zakat is ultimately a question of taqwa.

Buy-to-let property

If you have a property that you rent out to someone and receive money for, you will need factor that in to your zakat calculations. The same applies if you have property through platforms like Yielders or Igloo Crowd. Our approach is as follows:

You pay zakat on the rental income which remains in your possession on your zakat date

So let’s say you pay zakat on 15 Ramadan every year. On that day, you have in your bank account, £2000 of rent, but you also have £1000 to pay as a mortgage payment for this month, and £200 to the plumber for some work. So you would pay zakat on £800. Crucially you don’t pay zakat on the value of the house overall (or even your share of the house) – just the income (rent).

In the same way, if you invest with someone like Yielders, you will pay zakat on the rental income you get in from them. Since your fees will be deducted from your rental income payment, you are effectively paying zakat on your net annual income.

So we can boil buy-to-let property down to a fairly simple rule: pay zakat on the net annual income from your property.

If you have an intention to resell a property, you should pay zakat on the whole value of the property. If you only part-own it (e.g. you have an Islamic mortgage on it) then you only pay for the portion you own.

Pensions

Pensions are more nuanced. There are multiple views on this.

Our preferred view (after much thinking and consultation) is that you pay zakat on 40% of your pension pot value if you have a normal workplace pension  (but make sure your workplace pension is halal in the first place).

So let’s say you log in to your workplace pension provider and it shows the value is £100,000. Take 40% (£40,000) and pay 2.5% on that (£1,000). An easier way to get to that calculation is to pay 1% of your pension pot as zakat.

Where you don’t have the cash to pay that amount, you may defer the payment until you receive your pension or until a later year – or you could just set up a direct debit for this year to even out the payment.

The reason for the 40% figure is that because your pension is likely to be invested in the stock market, a good rule of thumb when it comes to funds is that 40% of their assets will be zakatable. For a full discussion on zakat on shares and funds, check this article out.

Where you do not control where your pension is invested and/or your pension is a defined benefit scheme (e.g. the NHS pension), you do not have to pay zakat on it until you actually receive your pension – and then it is zakatable just like any other money in your account on your zakat date.

Why the difference? A defined benefit scheme is viewed by scholars as a deferred salary. It’s not something you actively contribute to or even control. Whereas a standard workplace pension is an investment that you’re making monthly and it’s being done for your benefit.

The fact that you cannot access the money is irrelevant. It exists and it’s locked away for your benefit. This is the view of Mufti Faraz Adam.

The long and short of it is that you need to be factoring in your pension for zakat. A lot of people miss this.

Shares

If you own shares in a public company, you have to pay some zakat on it. There are broadly three approaches – we’ve discussed these before in this article so please do read that.

Our preferred approach is manually working out the zakatable assets of each company. You can do this by going to the balance sheet, and adding up the amount of the liquid assets the company has. Work this out as a percentage of the market capitalisation of the company. Then pay zakat on that percentage of your own holding.

So let’s say you work out that your company has £50m in zakatable assets. Its market cap is £500m. That means 10% of its assets are zakatable. You then take 10% of the value of your holding and pay 2.5% on it. So if your holding is £5,000, 10% of it is zakatable (£500). You then pay 2.5% on this £500 (£12.50).

There a few different ways to approach shares. Choose which one you think best having read the article.

Conclusion

This is a whistle-stop tour of some of the more popular investment topics when it comes to zakat. For a free copy of our zakat guide, go here.

13 Comments
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  • Salaam

    Good article mA

    Two questions:
    1. How do you calculate zakat on sukuk?

    2. Let’s say I had a rental property and no other income. I got £10k in rent, net of costs and tax. I spent £6k on my living costs during the year. I have no liabilities on the 15th Ramadan, my zakat date. So i have £4K sitting in my bank.

    How much zakat is due?

    Reply
    • Mohsin Patel
      June 9, 2019 12:01 pm

      Ws,

      1. I would probably take a similar approach to zakat on funds. If the underlying asset is zakatable, then figure out the extent to which zakat is due on it, then work out your proportion.

      2. Zakat due on the 4k.

      Reply
  • Hi. Is there different perspectives of calculating zakah on normal savings account balance and investments account balance? I have accounts in islamic banking. As per my view, savings account is liable for zakath. But in terms of Investment (Mudarabah) account balance should not be liable, instead the income you receive from Mudarabah is liable. Am i correct? Or if you have a different opinion please share.

    Reply
    • Ibrahim Khan
      May 4, 2020 11:18 am

      Our view is that any cash in any account should be zakatable. This is also NZF’s view.

      Reply
  • If i convert cash into physical assets like purchasing land, house etc.. then only the income which incur from those property is subject to zakath. Isnt it?

    Reply
  • Kamran Ahmed
    May 11, 2020 10:26 am

    Salaam,
    What if I invest in an Islamic mutual fund like Amana or an ETF like HLAL? Do I need to figure out the Zakatable assets of every single company in the fund? How would I do this? Also what if I’m investing in gold shares like GLDM?
    Thank you,
    Kamran

    Reply
  • Salaam. Is Zakat payable on rental income derived from a property ‘held-in-name’ only (i.e. no mortgage obligations or other overheads- simply transferred to the current title-holder) if that rental income is never received by the owner of the property but is instead paid to, used and controlled solely by a third party?

    Reply
  • As a recent convert to Islam should I pay zakat on only my Islamic investments or, on these and my non halal investments (e.g. UK stocks & shares ISAs). Thank you

    Reply
  • Joaquin Mcguirt
    May 28, 2020 12:43 am

    You have got to see this…

    Reply
  • How much zakat should be paid for investments with Wahed? I have recently invested so for the recent zakat payment I simply paid 2.5% on savings that I had for a full lunar year (which included some of what I invested in wahed). However, for next year I wanted clarification as to how much zakat I should pay on Wahed investments? 2.5% of the most recent value of my investment shown to me on wahed site or otherwise?

    Reply

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