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Students should work out what they earned during the summer or what they expect to earn over the coming months. If this figure comes under the threshold and students see from their payslips that they have been paying or are paying income tax, they should get in touch with their nearest tax office
—Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax, ACCA

ACCA advises students to check what they are owed

Hundreds of thousands of students are starting their new university year in the next few weeks, and ACCA is reminding those who worked summer jobs or are planning to work part-time at university to claim back any overpaid tax.

‘Money earned by summer jobs or part-time work is unlikely to push income over the personal allowance limit,’ says Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax at ACCA. ‘Students need to check their payslips to make sure they’ve not paid tax that they don’t owe. If anyone has overpaid tax, they can claim it back now; they don’t have to wait to the end of the tax year.’

The 2011/12 personal allowance is £7,475. Anyone who earns under this amount in a tax year (April-April) does not have to pay income tax. Income tax should only be paid on money earned over the personal allowance threshold.

‘To make things easier for businesses, tax is usually taken out of pay packets automatically, even if it shouldn’t be,’ says Chas Roy-Chowdhury. ‘Students should work out what they earned during the summer or what they expect to earn over the coming months. If this figure comes under the threshold and students see from their payslips that they have been paying or are paying income tax, they should get in touch with their nearest tax office.

‘However, while you can claim back overpaid income tax, there’s nothing you can do about National Insurance Contributions. With few exceptions, everyone in work has to pay these.’

HMRC can be contacted about overpaid tax on 0845 300 0627. Those claiming overpaid tax should have their National Insurance number to hand. Those still working should get a rebate in their next pay packet, while those no longer working can expect a cheque. You can also find out more information on overpaid tax on HMRC’s website (see 'related links')

‘To avoid future problems during holiday times, whether at Christmas or Easter or next summer, students can fill out a P38S form,’ continues Chas Roy-Chowdhury. ‘This stops tax from being automatically taken out of your pay packet during holidays and saves you from the hassle of tracking down your rebates.

‘University can be a worthwhile but expensive experience. If you’re owed money, there’s no point waiting for HMRC to give it back to you; you need to get on the case.’