In celebration of the fact that this week I got my first substantial pay cheque since arriving in London(woohoo!), and that I received my National Insurance Number three weeks early, I thought I'd write some info about Tax here (also to benefit my brother who returned to Australia three years ago after living in Manchester for a year, and has yet to claim his tax refund).
The tax year here ends on April 5th (I have no idea why?) and if you have earned less than £4,745 in the 2004/2005 financial year, or £4,615 in 2003/2004, then you will receive a full refund on tax paid. If you have earned over your tax free allowance you will get a proportion of the tax you have paid back.
You can claim at any time of the year and expect to receive your rebate within 4 to 6 weeks of claiming, providing you do not work again in the same year, and you can make claims that are up to six years back (lucky for Mike).
When you get a job in London, your employer will ask for your P60 and a P45. A P60 is a statement of income and tax to the end of the tax year, which your employer will give you at the end of the tax year. A P45 is your Group Certificate received when you finish employment.
If you're a traveller new to London, you of course will not have a P45 or a P60. You must make sure you tell your employer you don't have one and they will give you a form to sign so you will not have to go on Emergency tax.
You can either do your tax return yourself online (look at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/) or by going through an agency. Make sure the agency is accredited by the ATA though (http://www.associationoftaxagents.co.uk/). If you think your financial affairs will be fairly straightforward, there is a new 'Short Tax Return' introduced this year you can do. Only four pages long!! Go here for the short tax return
You can quickly check to see if you are due a rebate from previous financial years in the UK by entering your figures here
Hope this is of use to someone!