Student tax questions answered
You may have heard various rumours about how much tax students pay. Yes, students usually pay less tax, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it all together – you could even be entitled to a refund in some situations! Here’s the top tax questions we get at the Student Advice Service and links to the best places for student tax information.
Do students pay Council Tax?
From the accommodation pages of student life:
- If you are live in halls you don’t have to pay council tax and you don’t need to register your details with the local council.
- If you are a full-time student living in a house or flat share where all the residents are full-time students, the property will be deemed ‘exempt’ from council tax. This means that you don’t have to pay during term time or the long vacations. However, all residents will need to register their details with the local council and provide evidence. How you inform the council depends on where you live
- If you are a full-time student living with non-students (or part-time students) including parents or your partner and you jointly rent or own a property, you are not charged council tax. You need to inform the council office with evidence of your status. However, the non-students do need to pay council tax and how much this is often causes confusion.
- Part-time students are liable to pay council tax, and there are no exemptions. If you are at all unsure of your situation contact the accommodation team, or your local council.
Do students pay Income Tax while studying?
Yes, if they earn over their personal allowance for that financial year. If you are a member of an EEA country and you are living in the UK the basic personal allowance (amount you can earn before you start paying tax) is £9,440 for April 2013 – March 2014. The University of Brighton recommends students work a maximum of 15 hours per week while studying, so, depending on your salary, you are less likely to earn over the personal allowance threshold. For a more detailed explanation visit the excellent Tax Guide for Students.
National Insurance Contributions are deducted regardless of your personal allowance, and depend on how much you earn. For the 2013/14 the rates of National Insurance Contributions for employees visit Tax Guide for Student NICs.
For international students it is different, see the Tax Guide for Students page here.
How do I apply for a National Insurance number?
If you want to apply for a National Insurance number you need to phone the application helpline on 0845 600 0643 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and make an appointment at your local Jobcentre
I had a job before uni, am I entitled to a refund?
If you had a job before university, you may have been paying tax at a rate that assumed you would be earning that income for the entire tax year. For example, if you earned £1000 a month for five months in the tax year before university, you may have been paying tax that assumed you would earn £12,000 that year. If, once you started university, you stopped employment or received a part-time salary that was less, resulting in your total earnings for the tax year being less than your personal allowance mentioned above, you would be entitled to a refund of the tax you paid on you pre-university salary. There are various pieces of information you’ll need to apply for this refund. See Tax Refunds on the Tax Guide for Students website.