17th April 2020

Tax And National Insurance

  1. Counsil tax
  2. Income tax
  3. National insurance numbers

Counsil tax

Council Tax is a charge set by local authorities to help pay for certain public services such as libraries, schools and police.

Full time students do not pay Council Tax. Part time students are liable for Council Tax but you may qualify for Council Tax Support depending on your income.

If you live in a Hall of Residence that is owned or managed by the University, then there is no Council Tax to be paid as the property is exempt.

If you are living in private rented accommodation you will need to get a Council Tax exemption certificate from SSID. This needs to be sent along with a letter asking for exemption or the exemption claim form to the Council Tax department of your local council. For Sheffield send the letter/form to:

The Council Tax Office

Sheffield City Council

PO Box 1310


S1 1UY

If there are people living with you who are not full time students, there will be a Council Tax bill. Full time students do not have to pay this as they are exempt. The bill may be quite high, depending on the Council Tax Band that the property is in. A discount of 25% is available if you are the only non-exempt adult in the house.

If the landlord lives with you, then they are liable for the Council Tax. If everyone living in the house, including the landlord, is a full time student, then there is no Council Tax to pay.

If you are living in a House in Multiple Occupation then your landlord will be liable for the Council Tax.

If you are a full time student on a course that lasts for at least one academic year, you can apply for council tax exemption with a certificate from SSID. Your husband or wife can also apply for exemption as long as they are not a British citizen and are not allowed to claim benefits in the UK. This will usually be the case if they come from outside the European Union. You will need to show the City Council your spouse’s visa or passport to prove this.

If you are doing a short English Language Preparation Course and it lasts for less than 24 weeks, you will have to pay Council Tax.

Students are exempt from paying council tax if they are attending full time. An exemption certificate can be obtained from SSID.

During your writing up period you are not usually required to attend full time. SSID will issue you with an exemption certificate during this period, but your Council may not accept this. If they do not, you can apply for Council Tax Support. However, if you live in Sheffield, Sheffield City Council will accept this and will exempt you from council tax in your writing up period. Please note the situation for other local authorities may vary, and students who are not living in Sheffield should contact their lcoal authority for clarification on their position.

Once you have handed in your thesis and are waiting for your viva, you are normally liable to pay Council Tax as you are not required to attend University full time. However if you live in Sheffield, Sheffield City Council wll give council tax exemption for PhD student up until your viva date or resubmission deadline. You can get your council tax exemption certificate from SSID. Please note the situation for other local authorities may vary, and students who are not living in Sheffield should contact their lcoal authority for clarification on their position.

Once your full time course has finished, you no longer qualify for the student exemption and you will have to pay Council Tax. If you are going to do another course, you are still liable for Council Tax in between both courses as you will not be a full time student.

While you are on a leave of absence you are still a full time student. Therefore you are not liable for Council Tax.

Each property is put into one of eight Council Tax bands according to its value. Find out what band your house or flat is. Council Tax bills are divided into 10 monthly instalments but it is possible to request that your payments are spread over 12 months.

Council Tax Benefit was abolished in April 2013 and replaced with a localised Council Tax Support scheme. This scheme helps working age people liable to pay Council Tax with their bills. In Sheffield,all liable people have to pay 23% of the Council Tax bill and may receive help to pay the remainder from Sheffield's Council Tax Support scheme.If you live outside of Sheffield, you will need to check with your local Council about their scheme.

Income tax

All students who are resident in the UK will pay Income Tax on their earnings over a certain amount. See the HM Revenue and Customs website for more information on residency and tax liability. This includes international students who are here for their studies.

The tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April the following year.

Income tax is paid on any income that you receive over a certain amount during the tax year. The most common forms of taxable income are:

  • Earnings from employment
  • Profits from business
  • Interest from savings
  • Rental income

Student loans, Grants, Scholarships, Bursaries and Research Awards are not taxable.

Each individual is allowed an amount of income that is tax-free. This is your personal allowance and you pay tax on any income over that. When your employer or HM Revenue and Customs calculate your tax, they divide your tax allowance into monthly or weekly allocations which build up throughout the tax year.

Find out more about Personal Allowances.

PAYE allows your employer to calculate and deduct tax directly from your wages. When you start a job you may be given an emergency tax code until HM Revenue and Customs provide your employer with the correct tax code. You can speed this process up by giving your P45 from your previous job to your new employer as quickly as possible.

If you don’t have a P45, your employer should complete a starter checklist to work out how much tax you need to pay.

When your pay is calculated, you should receive 1/52 of your personal allowance tax free if you are paid weekly and 1/12 if you are paid monthly. Any earnings on top of this will be taxed. This is so that allowances can be spread throughout the year.

If you are self-employed you must register with HM Revenues and Customs within 3 months of becoming self-employed. More information on being a sole trader.

You will need to fill in a self-assessment form every tax year and you can submit this online.

International students who are here in the UK on a student visa are not allowed to be self employed.

If you think you have paid too much tax then you can ask for a repayment. If you are still working, you should contact the HM Revenue and Customs and tell them why you think you have paid too much tax. Your employer will give you a P60 after the end of each tax year and this will tell you how much tax you have paid.

If you have stopped working, you can complete a P50 to claim back any overpaid tax. You need to send it to HMRC, along with parts 2 and 3 of your P45, which your employer should give you when you stop working for them. If you are entitled to a refund of tax then HM Revenue and Customs will post it to you.

Find out more about students and income tax.

National insurance numbers

Your national insurance number (NINO) is a unique reference number and is used to identify you within the tax and benefits system. If you live in Great Britain and your parent or guardian claims Child Benefit for you, you will be registered automatically and will receive your National Insurance Number when you are 16 years old.

You will need your National Insurance Number when you apply for your Student Funding.

You can apply for a NINO provided you have a right to work in the UK (for example as an EEA national or an international student here for more than 6 months). You will need to prove you are actively seeking work and provide evidence of your identity.

To apply for a number, you call your local Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643. They will check that you don’t already have one and that you need a number and will then arrange an interview for you to verify your identity.

If you are employed or self-employed you will pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs) when you earn above a certain level. Find out more about the rates.

Your NICs can help you claim certain Welfare Benefits and will contribute towards your state pension entitlement.