Income Tax and National Insurance

The money raised from Income Tax funds a number of services in the UK e.g. public services, healthcare, state benefits, infrastructure and the Police. 

National Insurance contributions qualify a person for certain benefits including the State Pension.

Do students pay Income Tax?

If your earnings are above a certain threshold you will pay Income Tax.  This applies to all students including international students. Visit Gov.uk for information about earnings, personal allowances and tax and student jobs.

You can find useful information about paying tax on taxguideforstudents.org.uk.

If you work for an employer then your Income Tax is usually taken directly from your wages through Pay As You Earn (PAYE). 

Will I have to pay National Insurance contributions?

You will have to pay National Insurance contributions if you earn over a certain amount.  For information visit Gov.uk for details. All students, including international students, are required to pay. Payments are deducted from your wages by your employer.

Note that if you’re not working and you intend to live permanently in the UK, you can make voluntary National Insurance contributions. This protects your National Insurance record and ensures you receive a full pension when you retire. However, check with the Inland Revenue whether this is worthwhile in your case.

Visit Gov.uk for more information about voluntary contributions.

What if I pay too much tax?

If you think you might have paid too much tax, you will need to contact your tax office at the end of the tax year. The tax office can check its records and send you a refund if you've overpaid. The Tax Guide for Students explains how to claim for income tax repayment.

You can use HMRC's tax checker to find out if you might have paid too much tax.

How do I get a National Insurance Number?

You need a National Insurance Number to make sure you pay the correct National Insurance contributions and tax. If you're a UK national, you should have been issued National Insurance number when you turned 16.  

If you're an EU/EEA or international student, you can apply for a National Insurance Number as soon as you are looking for work, or if you already have a job. Please visit the application page on Gov.uk for full information on how to apply. 

What happens if I lose my National Insurance card?

You should look after your National Insurance card carefully - if you lose it, you will not be able to get a replacement. However, you can still use your number without the card.

If you forget or lose your number, you should be able to find it on your payslip or you can visit the find a lost National Insurance Number webpage on Gov.uk

Further information

Contact Student Advice if you have further questions.

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