Careers ServiceIncome Tax

Income Tax is your contribution to Government spending such as the NHS, education, defence and law and order.

  • All workers in the UK who earn over a certain amount per year will need to pay income tax - the more you earn the more you pay
  • Students are not exempt from paying income tax
  • Earnings from full or part-time work, including bonuses and tips are taxable income
  • HM Revenue & Customs is the organisation which collects tax in the UK
  • The tax year runs from 6th April in one year to 5th April the following year

Your employer will keep any tax you are due to pay from your earnings and pay it directly to the HM Revenue & Customs for you.

Income tax is deducted from your wages and the amount deducted will appear on your wage slip, probably entitled 'PAYE' which stands for Pay As You Earn.

You do not pay tax on all of your earnings. Everyone receives a personal allowance, which is shown to your employer in the form of a code so that they know what your personal allowance is.

See the GOV UK website: Income Tax in Scotland.

Find out this year's current rates and allowances for income tax.

You will pay tax immediately, not after you have earned your personal allowance, as the tax deductions are spread over the year according to your weekly earnings.

However, if you begin work several months into the tax year you may not pay tax immediately. This will depend upon your wages and individual job circumstances.

Your employer will ask you for your National Insurance number.

If you have never worked before, when you start a new job your employer will need to work out how much tax you should be paying on your salary.

Your employer then informs HM Revenue & Customs that you have started work.

HM Revenue & Customs will then inform your employer what your personal allowance is. You may be allocated an emergency tax code until your personal allowance code is notified but any excess tax paid under the emergency code will be refunded.

When you leave a job your employer should give you a P45.

If you have a P45 from a previous employer you will need to fill this in and give it to your new employer, otherwise too much tax may be deducted. Make sure you do not lose this form as copies are not available.

It is possible for students to be self employed.  However, there are requirements to register with HM Revenue & Customs in order that you can pay the correct tax and national insurance contributions. Find out more on the GOV UK website: Student jobs: paying tax.

If you pay tax but do not reach your personal allowance in the tax year, or only go over a bit but have paid tax on all earnings, you may be entitled to a refund. Find out more on the GOV UK website: Claim a tax refund.

If you think you might have paid too much tax check the GOV UK website: Estimate your Income Tax for a previous tax year.