Student tax guide - what should I pay attention to?

Aske Buemann

CEO & Co-founder

Understanding income tax obligations for students

While being a student exempts you from certain financial responsibilities such as counciltax, it is important to note that you are still required to pay income tax on your earnings. 

The questions often arise from not having a fixed monthly income as a student.

You should be aware that your taxes change depending on your income. For example, if you have:

1.  Been working full time during university/college holiday periods, then only part time or not at all during the rest of the year.

2. Have you been working abroad: If you work in another country, particularly during the summer holiday period, it adds another layer of complexity to your income tax situation.

We often see 2 different reasons for students to have overpaid income tax. 

1. Emergency tax

When starting a new job, you'll usually give your new employer a P45 form. This contains details of your tax code and tells the employer which income tax rate to apply to your salary. If you don't have a P45, you'll be taxed at an 'emergency tax rate' until your actual tax code can be determined. This also applies if you only work part-time, which usually means you're paying too much tax on your income.    

2. Tax-free personal allowance

Everyone is entitled to earn up to a certain amount before they have to pay income tax at all. This amount changes annually and is called your tax-free personal allowance. 

Most students will not earn more than their tax-freepersonal allowance in a tax year. However, if you've worked full-time for a few months in the summer, HMRC can assume that will be your earnings going forward for the rest of the financial year and tax you accordingly.

How can I claim a tax refund?

You can find help with completing your tax return in many places online.

HMRC can be tricky to get through, but you can find useful help on GOV.UK.

It's also possible to get help at

And don’t worry even if you've finished your studies, it's not too late, as the rules allow a tax rebate to be backdated for four tax years.

Check if you are due a tax refund in just 15 min.

In TaxHelper, we help you find the tax refunds you are entitled to. You just answer simple questions that only take 15 min. to go through.

Afterwards, we report the tax refunds and you get an extra £308 paid out on average. And you only pay if you get a tax refund.

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