Tax and National Insurance

Employees will normally pay PAYE (‘Pay As You Earn’) Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (‘NICs’) whilst working in the UK.

The percentage of your income that you pay in tax will vary according to your income, including any allowances which may count as taxable benefits. For academic staff with joint appointments, income is counted as your combined University and College salary. The tax rates are set by the government and it is advisable to check your tax code and rate whenever you start a new role or receive a pay rise or salary increment, particularly if this might take you over the threshold into the higher or additional tax rate.

For international employees, your move to the UK may have implications for your tax status in your home country. Please consult your Departmental Administrator or the Payroll team for advice.

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General information can be found on the Payroll section of the Finance Division website. New employees (from overseas) should complete the ‘Starter Checklist’, available from the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website. This is designed to be completed online. The completed form should be printed, signed and sent to the Payroll team. The information provided on the ‘Starter Checklist’ form will determine which tax code should be applied, as per the HMRC guidelines.

However, if you are seconded to the UK, ie working wholly or partly in the UK, whilst remaining employed by an overseas employer, you should complete the ‘Expat Starter Checklist’ form instead.  This form is also designed to be completed online, then printed, signed and sent to the Payroll team. The information provided on the ‘Expat Starter Checklist’ form will determine which tax code should be applied, as per the HMRC guidelines.

If you are an Academic Visitor, a different process applies.

A National Insurance Number (NI number) is a unique identifier for tax and benefits purposes. You may be asked to provide it at other times too, for example when opening a savings account. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

National Insurance Contributions

Anyone between 16 years old and the state pension age who earns above a set annual amount has to pay National Insurance Contributions. These are collected through payroll by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and go towards state benefits, such as the National Health Service and state pension.

You must have a National Insurance (NI) number to be able to work in the UK. You may have been given an NI number as part of a visa application - if so, it will be on your Biometric Residence Permit. If not, you can apply for a National Insurance number by phone. Special rules apply for people from the European Economic Area (EEA)**, or from countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements. Further details can be found on the HRMC website. **these may be subject to change

University employees

You must notify your Departmental Administrator of your NI number as soon as you have one. They will notify the Payroll Team to make sure that you pay the correct tax and National Insurance contributions. You can check your payslips to see how much tax and National Insurance you have paid.

To find out more about tax, National Insurance and other issues related to your pay and conditions of employment, talk to your departmental/college administrator or HR representative, or look in the relevant Staff Handbook (there are separate versions for academic staff, academic-related staff and support staff).


Did you know?

In the 19th century, any student who owed money to a local tradesman could have his degree vetoed at the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre. The tradesman would be allowed to tug at the Proctor's cloak when the student's name was called out to trigger this public humiliation. This, however, came at a cost to the tradesman: he would run the risk that other students might boycott his services in revenge.