November 2016 newsletter
Welcome to the first regular newsletter from the Tax Guide for Students (TGFS) website. The purpose of the newsletter is to highlight any topical tax issues which may affect students, apprentices and student money advisers.
In this newsletter we talk about the changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), council tax and self assessment tax returns. We also link to recent news articles from the TGFS and the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG).
National Minimum Wage
The NMW rates changed from 1 October, the new rates are below.
|Age|| From 1 April 2016
Rate per hour
| From 1 October 2016
Rate per hour
|25 and over (National Living Wage)||£7.20||£7.20|
|21 and over||£6.70||£6.95|
|18 to 20||£5.30||£5.55|
(under age 19 or in first year of apprenticeship
The NMW regulations depend on your age, but remember there is also a special rate for apprentices who are under the age of 19 or are in the first year of their apprenticeship.
There is more information on the NMW and the National Living Wage, which was introduced on 1 April 2016 on our factsheet, which covers topics such as when it applies, how it is calculated and what to do if you are not being paid it.
Many students would have moved into new accommodation last month and many may have assumed that they do not need to pay council tax. However, whether or not there is council tax to pay depends not only on your circumstances but also on the status of your fellow housemates.
The rules for council tax depends on where you live; Northern Ireland (where council tax is called rates) and Scotland operate different rules to England and Wales, where the rules on council tax discounts can vary depending on which local authority you reside in.
Generally, if you are a full-time student either residing in a halls of residence or sharing with other full-time students then your household should be completely exempt from paying council tax. Complications may arise, if you or your housemates decide not to carry on with their course, or change to a part-time course, or someone else who is not a full-time student moves in.
Our TGFS page on ‘Do students have to pay council tax?’ covers a number of issues affecting students including who is exempt from council tax, the definition of a full-time student and what will happen if you live in a house where not all your housemates are exempt.
Self assessment tax returns
The deadline to file a paper self assessment tax return has passed so if you need to complete a tax return for the 2015/16 tax year (which ended 5 April 2016) then you will need to complete it online as the online filing deadline is 31 January 2017.
The LITRG website has a tax guide on self-employment, which covers the self assessment tax return process, including how to register for self assessment, filing deadlines and detailed information on how to calculate self-employment taxable profits.
If you do need to complete a self assessment tax return but you have not filed a return online before then you need to either have a Government Gateway account or use GOV.UK Verify.
Tax Guide for students:
3 November: Help to design a new service for tax appeals