Tax and National Insurance

All workers in the UK pay tax and National Insurance. Before you start working you'll need to apply for a National Insurance number.

What is National Insurance?

National Insurance is paid by people working in the UK. The amount paid is a percentage of how much you earn. For people who are working, the money is deducted by their employers and paid to the Government. National Insurance isn't a tax. The money collected from national insurance contributions is used to pay towards the cost of providing social assistance and welfare. Find out more about National Insurance.

Applying for a National Insurance number

You must apply for a permanent National Insurance number once you're offered a job or, when you start working.  

You can get a National Insurance number by telephoning Jobcentre Plus on 0345 600 0643 to book an appointment.

The telephone operator will ask you a number of questions including:

  •     postcode (of your current UK address)
  •     personal details (name, date of birth)
  •     full UK address
  •     employer’s name and address
  •     your occupation
  •     your date of entry to the UK
  •     your eligibility to work in the UK (e.g. student visa, student dependant visa, EU citizen).

The phone call will last approximately 10 – 20 minutes.

If the operator considers you to be eligible for a National Insurance number on the basis of the information you've given, they'll book an appointment for you to have an interview at one of the local offices (they'll provide the address).

National Insurance refunds

You may be entitled to a refund if you've overpaid National Insurance. You can calculate if you have overpaid. Find out more about National Insurance refunds.

Further information

Find out more about National Insurance for people coming to the UK and how to apply for a National Insurance number.

You can also call the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 for advice.  Lines are open 8am–5pm Monday to Friday.

Do I need to pay income tax?

Depending on your earnings, you may need to pay income tax.  The amount of income tax payable depends on a number of factors. You can find out more on the HMRC website.

P45s and Payslips

P45s and payslips give details about your earnings and deductions, such as National Insurance and income tax. A P45 should be sent to you when you leave employment and you should give this to your new employer. Your employer should provide you with a payslip on a regular basis (e.g. weekly, monthly) so you can confirm that you have received the correct payment. You should store these documents in a safe place. They contain important information about you and your earnings and you may need them later.