Tax and National Insurance

Your move to the UK may have implications for your tax status in your home country. However, the UK rules governing employees who are not nationals of the UK are relatively straightforward. Employees earning above a certain threshold amount (set by the government) will normally pay PAYE (‘Pay As You Earn’) income tax and National Insurance contributions (‘NICs’) whilst working in the UK.

Income tax

General information can be found on the University’s Finance 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 a short-term visiting academic, a different process applies.

National Insurance (NI)

All working individuals in the UK aged 16 and over and below the state pension age, and earning above a certain threshold amount (set by the government) need to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs). NICs are collected by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) through the University’s Payroll system and go towards state benefits, such as the National Health Service (NHS) and the state pension.

An employee from overseas, coming to work in the UK will have to obtain a National Insurance (NI) number and immediately start paying NICs in the UK on the same basis as people who normally live and work here. A NI number is a unique identifier (issued by the HMRC) that enables the HMRC to track the payments made for NICs for all individuals. All employees of the University must obtain a NI number and notify their department as soon as they have it, so that Payroll can be informed.

Details on how to apply for a NI number can be found on the government’s website. If you need further advice in relation to NI, please contact your Departmental Administrator in the first instance who may then refer your query to the Payroll department.

Special rules apply for employees coming from the European Economic Area (EEA), or those countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements, and further details can be found on the HRMC website.

*It is unclear, in light of the referendum held in June 2016, how this will work in the longer term future. The University is keeping its staff informed about the impact of the Referendum outcome via a dedicated website.

Further Information

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.