THE SNP has finally made use of its tax-raising powers and introduced two new bands for income-tax payers north of the Border - a starter rate that sits between the personal allowance and the basic rate and an intermediate one that sits between the basic and higher-rate bands.

Much has been made of the complexity the changes have introduced to the system, but there are a few numbers that stand out to help you work out whether you will be better or worse off than under the current system - and better or worse off than those paying tax in other UK jurisdictions.

Thanks to last month’s increase in the tax-free personal allowance - a figure that is set by Westminster - as well as finance minister Derek Mackay’s new 19 per cent starter rate, anyone earning under £26,000 will not only be up to £90 a year better off than they are under the current tax regime but they will pay up to £20 less a year than those earning the same salary south of the Border.

The situation reverses at the £26,000 point, with someone on a salary of £35,000, for example, paying £20 a year more than they currently do and £90 more than they would in England.

While higher-rate taxpayers will pay significantly more than they would if they were based south of the Border - £650 extra on a salary of £50,000 - up to the £55,000 salary level their tax bill will be less than it is currently.

At the moment income tax on a salary of £50,000 comes in at £9,100 but under the new system it will drop to £9,015. Someone earning £90,000, meanwhile, will pay £315 more than they do currently and will be £1,055 worse off than if they lived in England.

Mr Mackay’s justification for the changes is that the revenue raised will allow the Government to invest in health services without having to make cuts elsewhere.

While few could argue with that, even a small decrease to take-home pay could be hard to swallow at a time when the cost of living is rising far faster than wages are growing. Knowing that you could be paying significantly less if you lived in another part of the British Isles is not going to help.

Unless you want to foot the bill for moving to another part of the UK, though, there is nothing you can do to change these new taxes, but there are ways of easing the impact on your personal finances.

David Thomson, chief investment officer at VWM Wealth, noted that the changes will act as “more of an incentive” to make use of tax-efficient savings vehicles such as ISAs.

In the current financial year up to £20,000 can be invested in such accounts, with any interest or investment gains being paid free of tax.

For anyone under the age of 40 the Lifetime ISA could also be an option, particularly as the UK Government pays a 25 per cent bonus on the amount saved into one.

While there are tight restrictions on the amount you can save into these accounts - a maximum of £4,000 per tax year - and when you can withdraw the money - either when you buy your first home, turn 60 or are terminally ill - the bonus could more than make up for the extra you are paying in tax.

Someone on £50,000 may be paying £650 more in tax than their English counterparts, but if they save the maximum £4,000 into a LISA they will get £1,000 paid into their account by the UK Government and will still be able to benefit from paying no tax on their investment gains.

For Shirley McIntosh, a tax partner at accountancy practice RSM, anyone facing a higher tax bill could also think about saving more cash into their pension each month to increase the benefit of tax reliefs applied by the UK Government.However, that solution relies on individuals being able to give up even more of their monthly paypacket.

“Pension contributions will reduce the tax liability but if you’re already squeezed on income then you won’t necessarily have the cash to put away,” Ms McIntosh said.

Another issue is that pension tax relief is based on income tax bands of 20 per cent and 40 per cent and so far it is not known how the new Scottish bands of 19 per cent and 21 per cent will affect that.

Currently the 20 per cent relief is automatically applied by workplace pension providers, who claim £20 from the Government for every £80 an employee puts away, with higher-rate taxpayers having to fill out a self-assessment form to claim the 40 per cent relief.

Mr Thomson at VWM Wealth said it is now likely that individuals will also have to self-assess for the portion of income taxed at 21 per cent, with savers theoretically owing the taxman the portion of relief paid on the £2,000 of income that will be taxed at 19 per cent.

For those likely to be paying significantly higher amounts of tax, vehicles such as Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS), which carry tax reliefs of 30 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, may also be attractive.

After all, if you earn £1 million you will have to pay around £10,000 more in Scottish income taxes than you currently do, but could get £9,000 back from the UK Government if you put £30,000 into an EIS.

However, as Aberdein Considine financial services director Allan Gardner pointed out, such vehicles, which invest in early-stage businesses, are extremely high risk and should only be considered by sophisticated investors who have the ability to absorb potential losses.

“You might get 30 per cent tax relief but you might lose 60 per cent of your capital,” he said.