Tax & National Insurance
If you plan to work while you are studying, you need to apply for a National Insurance Number
What is National Insurance?
National Insurance is paid by people working in the UK. The amount paid is a percentage (%) of earned income. For people in employment, the money is deducted by their employers and paid to the Government. National insurance is not a tax. The money collected from national insurance contributions is used to pay towards the cost of providing social assistance and welfare. Find out more about National Insurance.
Applying for a National Insurance Number
You must apply for a permanent National Insurance number once you are offered a job or, when you start working. Do not use a temporary National Insurance number (i.e. with the prefix ‘TN’, your date of birth and M or F to denote gender e.g. TN131160M). These are no longer accepted and must not be used.
You can obtain a permanent National Insurance number by telephoning 0845 600 0643 to book an appointment.
The telephone operator will ask you a number of questions including:
- Postcode (of your current UK address)
- Personal details (name, date of birth)
- Full UK address
- Employer’s name and address
- Your occupation
- Your date of entry to the UK
- Your eligibility to work in the UK (e.g. student visa, student dependant visa, EU citizen)
The phone call will last approximately 10 – 20 minutes.
If the operator considers you to be eligible for a National Insurance number on the basis of the information you have supplied, they will book an appointment for you to have a National Insurance number interview at one of the local offices (they will provide the address).
National Insurance Refunds
You can also call the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 for advice. Lines are open 08:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday.
Do I need to pay income tax?
Depending on your earnings, you may need to pay income tax. The amount of income tax payable depends on a number of factors, but in general:
The Government gives employees a taxable allowance, this is non taxable income.
In the current tax year, 6th April 2011 to 5th April 2011, the taxable allowance/non taxable income is £7475. After this, the rates of income tax are charged as in the below table:
Taxable Bands Allowances 2011-12 (£)
Basic rate 20% £0-£35,000
Higher rate 40% £35,000-£150,000
Additional rate 50% £150,000+
The following information may help you avoid having too much income tax deducted from your income:
- If you will only be working in the vacation periods and will be earning less than the personal allowance, you can avoid having to pay tax during the year by filling in a P38(S) form before your first pay/you start work. This is available from your employer.
- If this is your first job in the tax year and if you are working in term time as well as during vacations ask your employer for a P46 form to fill in before your first pay/you start work. It’s important you complete your P46 before your first pay day. If you don’t, you could end up paying the wrong amount of tax.
- If this is not your first job in the tax year, give your employer the P45 form given to you when you finished work with a previous employer.
Income Tax Refunds
If you think you have overpaid income tax, you can find information about making a claim for an income tax refund by contacting the Revenue & Customs on 0845 300 0627or by visiting their website
P45s and Payslips
P45s and Payslips give details about your earnings and the deductions, in particular, national insurance and income tax during a particular period. A P45 should be sent to you when you leave employment and you should give this to your new employer. Your employer should provide you with a payslip on a regular basis (e.g. weekly, monthly) so you can confirm that you have received the correct payment. You should store these documents in a secure place. They contain important information about you and your earnings and you may need to produce them at a later date.
Find out more about Income Tax.