Income tax and National Insurance


Income tax

All workers in the UK must pay income tax. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn. Not all income is taxable. If you are on a very low wage and do not work full time you may not have to pay tax. If you are employed your tax will be taken via PAYE (pay as you earn) and will be deducted each month from your gross salary. The government’s website has detailed information on a beginner’s guide to tax and working and paying tax.

The UK has double taxation treaties, that is, an individual may receive income from one source but be resident in another and may be liable to pay tax in both countries under their tax laws. The UK has negotiated with more than 100 countries so tax doesn’t have to be paid twice. Individuals must apply for the right to do this (it is not automatic).

The UK government offers certain tax benefits and credits depending on your working status. Check on their website for more details.


National insuarnce

All workers in the UK must pay National Insurance contributions if their earnings are more than a certain level and they are under State Pension age. Your contributions are deducted from your salary before it’s paid to you. You pay a lower rate of National Insurance if you are a member of your university’s occupational pension scheme. Your entitlement to certain state benefits and the amount you can claim under these benefits depends on how much National Insurance you’ve paid. These benefits include the State Pension.

In order to pay National Insurance, you need a National Insurance number. This is your own personal account number and it never changes even if you go abroad, marry, register as a civil partner, change your name etc.

The Directgov website gives the latest information.


National insurance number

As an employee you are required to pay tax and National Insurance. General information on tax and National Insurance can be found on the government website.

If you do not have a National Insurance number you will need to obtain one. You should telephone Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643.

You may need to attend a local interview to obtain a National Insurance number. Waiting times for appointments may be several weeks. Your personal number will be issued to you a few weeks after the interview.

For more information, see the DirectGov website.

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