Wednesday, March 9, 2011

UK Tax Numbers & Bank Accounts

Explaining Tax Numbers

In the UK your tax numbers are called a National Insurance number. You don't need one to start working but you do need one in order to be taxed correctly.

Most likely having a National Insurance number will mean you pay less tax.

When you start employment you will automatically generate a temporary NI number when you are entered into the computer system at your place of employment.
This number is most likely to be a couple of letters followed by your birth date followed by M or F as determined by your gender.

  • Phone Inland Revenue (0845 600 0643 or 0845 915 7006)
  • 10 mins of your time to set up your 'Evidence of Identity interview'
Interviews will be held at the local DWP Job Centre Plus. Inland Revenue will ask you some questions and advise you of all information you will need to provide on the day.

Another thing about National Insurance
You may notice on your pay cheque that you are also paying money to something called 'Employer NIC' or 'Nat Ins'
This is the National Insurance Contribution fund.
It's the UK pension fund or super-annuation fund. It's money that gets put away for your retirement.
Great idea if you intend on retiring in the UK and a complete loss of income if you don't.
Ask your manager or contact Inland Revenue to find out how to 'opt out' of this scheme (and into a personal pension scheme)
Do this before the end of the fiscal year in April or you'll lose all contributions paid.

How to get a UK bank account?
2 ways to get a bank account in the UK, they are both relatively easy if you've got the right info.

One option is free and one is not.

Option 1 – Free

Firstly you'll need your passport.
Secondly you'll need a utilities bill (electricity, gas, water etc) in your name and stating your address in the UK. Now this might be a problem if you're a traveller and have only just arrived, however some banks will accept an official letter from the manager of your work or hostel etc.
Your bank card will be a standard chip & pin debit card. 

Option 2 – Cost about ₤60 (only option available for unemployed travellers)

You will need your passport again
It will cost you ₤60
This kind of account will have restrictions on lines of credit.  You will get a standard chip & pin debit card which will be usable anywhere around the world, either in an ATM, via EFTPOS, telephone banking or online, so there really is no need for a credit card.
Two UK banks that offer these services are HSBC and Barclays bank.
HSBC though has the bonus of being worldwide which can be a plus if you find yourself in a foreign country and need help

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