This section will tell you about some of the practical issues which you will need to consider after you have started working in the UK. To work legally you need the correct type of visa, and you need to be paying taxes on your earnings (both National Insurance and income tax).
HM Revenue & Customs is the government organisation responsible for taxation (the section which is responsible for personal tax issues was previously known as the Inland Revenue ).
National Insurance (NI) is a tax which is taken from pay for the UK's health and social security system (including state pensions). Your payments are known as National Insurance contributions (NICs). Most people working in the UK need to pay this: there are a few exceptions (for example, if you are from an EEA country with a reciprical agreement with the UK and you continue to pay National Insurance in your home country).
In the 2012/3 tax year (for income earned between April 6th 2012 and April 5th 2013), the National Insurance tax rate paid by employees is:
0% for the first £146 per week (this is called the earnings threshold )
12% on income from £146 per week up to £817 per week (the upper amount is called the upper earnings limit )
2% on any income above £817 per week
The tax is paid each time you are paid (usually weekly or monthly). Unlike income tax, it does not matter how much you have earned in other pay periods, and the tax cannot be reclaimed (unless a mistake has been made).
After you have been offered a job in the UK for the first time, you will need to obtain a National Insurance (NI ) number (this is two letters followed by a 6-digit number and a final letter). If your employer has a computerised payroll (payment system), a temporary National Insurance number is sometimes used to allow the computer to work, but this is not a real number and you must still apply for a permanent National Insurance
number. Your employer or an adviser at a Job Centre can tell you which telephone number you need to call. You will be asked to give some personal details, including the address and telephone number of your workplace and of your accommodation, and you will need to make an appointment at the correct local office of the Department of Work and Pensions (formerly known as the Benefit Agency). At the office you will be asked to complete an application form and there will be a brief interview. You will be expected to take two types of identity with you to prove your name, UK address and date of birth: usually a passport and a letter from your employer (containing your name and address and confirming that you have a job offer). After your interview, it may take one or two months (or sometimes longer) before you are issued with your National Insurance number. When you have received your number you should tell your employer.
If you work in the UK, you will have to pay income tax. This tax is collected by the government department known as HM Revenue & Customs (previously known as the Inland Revenue). Tax is paid based on your income during the tax year. which starts on April 6th and ends on April 5th in the following year.
In the 2012/13 tax year (for income earned between April 6th 2012 and April 5th 2013), the income tax bands are as follows (for the latest rates, see: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/it.htm ):
0% on the first £8,105 (your personal allowance ) (you will only be entitled to a part of this allowance if you are not resident in the UK during the whole tax year)
20% (the basic rate ) on the next £34,370
40% (the higher rate ) on any income above this, up to £150,000
50% (the additional rate ) on any income over £150,000
There is also a starting rate for savings, and different rates for dividend income.
Key income tax bands and allowances