Everything You Need to Know About the Tax Code in the United Kingdom

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Il Tax Code, noto come “codice fiscale” in Italia, è un codice alfanumerico assegnato a ogni contribuente e ha un impatto diretto sul calcolo delle imposte sul reddito. In questo articolo, esploreremo il mondo del Tax Code britannico, compresi i suoi scopi, i tipi comuni e come può influenzare le tue imposte.

The Function of the Tax Code

The Tax Code plays a fundamental role in the British tax system. Its function is twofold: on one hand, it protects the taxpayer by ensuring taxes are calculated fairly and accurately, and on the other, it ensures the government receives the necessary tax revenues to fund public services and government programs.

In practical terms, the Tax Code serves as a calculation tool to determine the amount of taxes to be withheld directly from your salary or income. So, the better you understand your Tax Code, the better you can plan your finances based on the amount that will be at your disposal after tax deductions.

An error in the Tax Code could lead to incorrect tax payments, with the risk of overpaying or underpaying. Overpaying means less money for your daily expenses, while underpaying could result in fines and accumulated interest.

How a Tax Code is Assigned

The assignment of a Tax Code is the responsibility of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the tax authority in the United Kingdom.

This process is meticulous and based on a set of specific factors related to your financial situation. HMRC experts carefully consider information such as your tax deductions, earnings, sources of income, and other relevant variables to calculate the Tax Code that best suits your circumstances.

The primary goal is to ensure that your Tax Code accurately reflects your financial situation, enabling you to pay income taxes fairly and accurately.

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Common Types of Tax Codes

Here are some examples of the most common types of Tax Codes:

  • L (Standard Tax Code): This is the basic Tax Code that applies to the majority of taxpayers with a standard financial situation.
  • BR (Basic Rate): This Tax Code is assigned to individuals who receive income from a single source and do not have specific tax deductions. It is the standard tax code for those who pay income tax at the basic rate.
  • OT (No Tax): The “OT” Tax Code is used when HMRC does not have sufficient information to calculate income tax. In this case, no tax deductions will be made, but you need to provide the missing data to HMRC to establish an appropriate code.
  • NT (No Taxable Income): The “NT” Tax Code is assigned to individuals whose income is not subject to taxation in the UK. For example, full-time students with income below the tax exemption threshold may receive this code.
  • D0 (Higher Rate): The “D0” Tax Code is assigned to taxpayers with higher income, subject to a higher tax rate.
  • K (Additional Rate): The “K” Tax Code is used when a taxpayer’s tax deductions exceed their income, resulting in additional tax.

Verification of the Tax Code

Verifying the accuracy of your Tax Code is a crucial step in ensuring your financial situation. If you have any doubts about your tax code or believe it is incorrect, it is important to take prompt action. You can do so through HMRC, which will provide assistance and support to resolve any issues related to your Tax Code.

Additionally, if you notice errors in your Tax Code, your employer can request an update through the company’s accountant.

Here is a list of documents where you might find your Tax Code:

  • Pay Slip: The Tax Code is often indicated on your pay slip. Check the document provided by your employer to ensure that the code displayed is correct.
  • Annual P60 Certificate: The P60 is a document summarizing your income and tax deductions during the fiscal year. Check the Tax Code on your P60 to verify that it aligns with your financial situation.
  • End of Employment Certificate (P45): If you change jobs or cease employment with an employer, you will receive a P45 indicating your Tax Code. Ensure its accuracy when starting a new job.
  • HMRC Online Portal: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offers an online service that allows you to verify your Tax Code and make changes if necessary. You can access the HMRC portal and check your tax code at any time.
  • Communications from HMRC: HMRC may send you direct communications regarding your Tax Code. Be sure to read them carefully and act accordingly if specific instructions are provided.

In conclusion, the Tax Code is a fundamental component of the British tax system. Its correct understanding and management are essential to ensure accurate calculation of your income taxes. Make sure to verify your Tax Code regularly and, if necessary, seek assistance to ensure tax compliance.

What is redundancy, who can be made redundant, and what are my rights?

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What are your rights in case of redundancy in the United Kingdom?

What is Redundancy?

Redundancy is an English term used to describe dismissal for economic or organizational reasons. This can happen when a company needs to reduce its workforce to cope with financial difficulties (redundancy due to personnel reduction), often caused by events like the coronavirus crisis. It’s not the same as being dismissed for misconduct or just cause.

If you’ve been affected by redundancy, UK law provides you with protection. Regardless of how challenging it may be, there are rules and regulations that employers must adhere to.

Who Can Be Selected for Redundancy in the UK?

When it comes to the challenging decision of reducing the workforce, the selection of employees is a crucial step. It’s important to know that dismissals shouldn’t happen lightly. UK law clearly defines the criteria that employers must follow, and there are some fundamental rules that must be adhered to.

Selection Criteria: What Doesn’t Count

Certain criteria cannot, under any circumstances, justify dismissal. These include:

  • Age or Gender: Your age and gender can’t be valid reasons for redundancy.
  • Pregnancy: If you’re pregnant, your condition should not influence the decision to dismiss you.
  • Union Membership: Being an active union member shouldn’t be a basis for selection.
  • Leave for Holidays or Maternity: Requesting leave for holidays or maternity should not jeopardize your job.

Permissible Selection Criteria

Employers can consider legitimate criteria for selecting employees for redundancy. These may include:

  • Length of Service: The “last in, first out” principle is a common practice.
  • Disciplinary Records: Previous disciplinary incidents may influence the decision.
  • Volunteers for Redundancy: In many cases, companies ask employees to volunteer for redundancy. However, the final decision on who gets made redundant lies with the employer.

It’s crucial to remember that these rules are designed to ensure fair and lawful employee selection during redundancy. Employees should feel secure in the knowledge that their rights are protected throughout the redundancy process.

I’m on Furlough. Can I Be Fired in the UK?

It’s a common question, especially during times of economic crisis or financial difficulty. The answer is that, yes, you can be terminated even while on furlough in the UK. Furlough, is an action employers can take to reduce operational costs, but it doesn’t guarantee complete job protection.

While it’s possible to be terminated during furlough, employers must strictly adhere to regulations and employee rights, following the proper procedures. Everything must be done legally and in accordance with UK labor laws.

For employees on furlough who are concerned about losing their jobs, it’s important to be informed about your rights and have a clear understanding of labor laws. Consulting a legal professional specialized in employment matters may be helpful to ensure fair treatment during this uncertain period.

Can My Employer Terminate Me Without Notice?

No!

The amount of notice you’ll receive depends on how long you’ve been employed with the company:

  • At least one week of notice if you’ve worked for one month to two years
  • One week of notice for each year of employment if you’ve worked from two to twelve years
  • 12 weeks of notice if you’ve been employed for 12 years or more
  • In the case of termination, you have the right to a consultation with your employer.

If the company is cutting 20 or more jobs, they must organize a collective consultation involving a union or employee representative. This consultation process should begin at least 30 days before an employee’s job ends. If 100 or more workers are involved, the consultation must begin 45 days before. The consultation process is carried out even if the company is insolvent and permanently closing.

What Redundancy Pay Am I Entitled to?

If you have worked continuously for your employer for two or more years, you have a legal right to receive redundancy pay. There is a legal minimum, but some employment contracts and employers are more generous.

The amount depends on your age, length of service with the company, and your salary. You can make a rough calculation using the government’s calculator. You will receive at least:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year of work if you are under 22
  • One week’s pay for each full year of work if you are between 22 and 41
  • One and a half week’s pay for each full year of work if you are 41 or older
  • An employer is not obliged to pay you more than £16,140 or £16,800 if you are in Northern Ireland

If you still have unused vacation time when you leave, you are entitled to be paid for accrued holidays.

If a company has gone bankrupt, the government itself may provide redundancy pay.

What Happens to the Taxes I’ve Paid?

The first £30,000 of any redundancy pay is tax-free.

This amount includes all non-monetary company benefits that are part of your redundancy, such as a company car or computer. Their value will be quantified and added to your redundancy pay.

Any amount exceeding this threshold will be subject to taxation.

Remember to Check Your Taxes

One of the important things to keep in mind when you’re involved in a redundancy is managing your taxes. At the end of the fiscal year, which runs from April to March in the UK, it’s good practice to check your tax status to ensure you’re on the right track and have paid the correct amount of taxes. This is particularly relevant if you’ve found a new job in the meantime.

When you find a new job after a period of redundancy, your income and taxes may change. This can affect the taxes you should pay or the taxes you may have overpaid during the period of unemployment.

If you’ve overpaid taxes during your period of unemployment, you may be eligible for a refund. On the other hand, if your new salary is significantly different from your previous job, you may need to make changes to your tax codes or deductions.

Keeping a close eye on your taxes will help you stay in control of your financial situation and avoid unpleasant surprises. If you have specific questions about your taxes or need assistance, read our article or send us an email.

Search for Your New Job

In the event of redundancy, you may be granted paid time off to look for another job.

If you have worked continuously for your employer for at least two years, you can take 40% of your workweek off, for instance, two days out of five, to attend job interviews.

Your employer must pay you for the hours you are absent when job hunting. If you take more time than is granted, the employer is not obligated to pay you for the additional hours you were away, although some employers may be more generous.

Anyone who is made redundant may be eligible for scholarships, loans, and free courses.

What is the CSCS card and how to apply?

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The CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) is a card attributed to construction workers to demonstrate that they have received adequate training and qualifications to work properly. It was introduced to improve standards and safety on construction sites.

Finding work without this card is not impossible: it is not mandatory. However, most large companies do not hire employees without a CSCS card, so we advise you to request it if you intend to work in this sector in England. Let’s find out how to get it together.

What types of CSCS card are there ?

There is no a unique type of CSCS card: depending on the specific work you do in construction (architect, construction engineer, bricklayer, etc.) you will need to request the CSCS card corresponding to your activity. On this site you will find all the existing categories: click on the one you are interested in to find out what are the qualifications necessary to obtain it. If you are not sure which card you need, you can use the card finder to find out which card suits your skills or qualifications.

Some of the categories are:

  • Laborer: You can receive this card if you have achieved the RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or the SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate. Visit this site to find out where these certificates can be obtained. The card you will receive will be valid for five years;
  • Trainee: You can receive this card if you are currently studying to obtain a certificate. You must have already completed the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test Operative Level in the past two years. This temporary card is valid for five years but cannot be renewed;
  • Skilled Worker: this card is for those who have already obtained an NVQ or SVQ Lelev 2 certificate, or an apprenticeship in the construction sector. This card is valid for five years.

With the exception of the trainee card, all others are renewable. There is also the possibility of requesting the card for a higher role if you progress in your work.

Types of CSCS Card

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How do I apply for a card?

The application is made online on the official CSCS website. Make sure you have all the necessary certificates before submitting your application. In addition to the certifications you will be asked to pass the CITB Health Safety and Environment (HS&E) Test: currently the cost is £ 21; starting from April 1st 2020 the cost will be £ 21.50. This is a 50-question test to test your knowledge of workplace safety regulations. Also in this case there are different types of tests depending on your work.

Now that you have all the documents available, let’s find out what you need to send the application to obtain the CSCS card:

  • A scanned copy of your certificates, or a document demonstrating your enrollment in a qualified course for which you will receive a certificate;
  • The Test ID Number of the HS&E test shown on the certificate;
  • Indicate the type of HS&E test achieved;
  • Make sure that the personal data shown on the HS&E certificate is correct;
  • Have a checking account to make a £ 36 payment.

Alternatively, you can call 0344 99 44 777 to request the CSCS card. Make sure you have access to an email account during the call.

Once your request is accepted, the card will be shipped the next day and you will receive it in less than a week.

Watch the video and follow all the instructions to request the CSCS card

How to prepare for the HS&E test?

Passing the CITB Health Safety and Environment (HS&E) test is essential in order to receive your CSCS card. At the time of application, your certificate must be less than two years old. You can use the card finder to know which type of test you need to pass.

On the CITB online shop you will find a series of books to help you study for the test. The main book with all the information is the Health, Safety and Environment Test for Operatives and Specialist: make sure you have the most recent copy at the time of purchase. The books are exclusively in English, but the smartphone application (available for iOS and Android) is available in 14 languages.

The exam is carried out on a touch screen computer in a center recognized by the CIBT. During the exam it is possible to receive assistance in different languages.

Can an employer apply for a card for his employees?

If you are an employer, you can request the CSCS card for all your employees yourself. After creating an employer account on the CSCS website you will need:

  • Send a scanned copy of the certificate of all your employees, or a document showing that your employees are in the process of obtaining a recognized qualification:
  • Send the test ID number of the HS&E certificate of each employee;
  • Know the type of paper your employees require;
  • Communicate the personal data of each employee.

This application (multiple questions) can only be done online. For this reason you will have to communicate an email address for each of your employees, and you will need to have a current account to make the payment (£ 36 per card).

Renew or replace the card

To renew the CSCS card, just go to the CSCS website where, once logged in to your account, you can request a renewal. You will again be required to demonstrate that you have the necessary qualifications and to declare any changes in your work. The card can be renewed six months before or after the expiry date.

In the event of loss or theft, or if your card is broken, you just need to log in to your account and request a new one. Alternatively you can call +44 (0) 344 994 4777, making sure you have your CSCS registration number on hand or, alternatively, your National Insurance number.

I have my own qualification, can I do the conversion?

The answer is yes. On the NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Center) website you can convert and certify your documents, to be attached later in your application to receive the CSCS card.

Do you work in the construction sector? Write us in the comments!

Professional job titles and wages in England

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When looking for a job on the internet, we almost always use a professional title as a keyword to find the most suitable positions for us. In this article we will discover together the different English professional job titles and the corresponding wages.

What does a professional job title indicate?

Professional job titles can have different values. Titles as supervisor, manager and director indicate your level in the company: you will often find these job titles in management jobs. Other titles, such as receptionist, chef or bartender describe your work. The job titles can often be paired: in the case of a company with several accountants, titles as senior accountants are used to highlight the difference in rank. On the internet you can often find the list with all the positions for the most important companies, called the organization chart. For each position, you can later look for the salary range, an indication of how much you can expect to be paid for that specific position.

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A very useful site is Glassdoor: you can use it not only to look for job offers, but also the wages, the tasks and the knowledge required. Since the employees themselves share these details on the site, you will also be able to find personal experiences and questions asked during the interview.

It is therefore important to know the job titles related to your field of interest, so that you can easily find your ideal job. Here is a short list of the main positions in the different fields:

  • Business: consultant, human resources (HR) administrator, public relations manager, communications executive;
  • Media: Market analyst, social media strategist, media officer, campaign manager;
  • Jobs in contact with the public: Customer service assistant, waiter, receptionist, travel consultant;
  • Manual jobs: builder, electrician, plumber, delivery driver;
  • Technical jobs: engineer (software, electrical, maintenance etc.), GP (General practitioner), IT consultant.

For the first work experiences, look for ads of entry level jobs: these are jobs dedicated to recent graduates and that do not require experience in the field. These positions are ideal for those who wish to gain experience in their field of work and then progress in the company.

All the positions mentioned above are subject to the minimum wage mandatory in the United Kingdom (read this article to learn more). Now let’s see what jobs are not subject to the minimum wage.

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are subject to a national minimum wage, but it is lower than for the above positions. The apprenticeship is an alternative for those who do not wish to attend university: it allows you to study and work alternately, so that you can acquire the skills necessary to enter the world of work. The work done during your apprenticeship is paid, but depending on your age and the year of apprenticeship that you undertake you will be paid less than your peer in a conventional job.

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The minimum wage changes every April, so it is advisable to check the official government website for the latest updates. At the moment the minimum wage is £ 4.15 per hour for apprentices up to 19 years old and for those over 19 attending the first year of the course. For example, a 16 year old apprentice and a 25 year old attending the first year of apprenticeship will be entitled to a minimum wage of £ 4.15. Starting from the second year of the course, all apprentices who have turned 19 will be entitled to the same minimum wage as their non-apprentice peers. Completed the first year, the 25-year-old apprentice will earn £ 8.20 from the second year.

To be able to attend an apprenticeship course in the UK you must be at least 16 years old, have a permanent address in the UK and not attend compulsory school or a full-time university course.

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Volunteering

Although voluntary experiences are unpaid, they represent a unique experience not only to improve your English, but also to acquire essential knowledge and skills to insert you later in the world of work. Volunteering experiences are always well viewed by employers, and more and more people undertake this activity to enrich their curriculum. The possibilities are numerous and it will be impossible not to find an opportunity suitable for you.

As specified above, volunteering experiences are unpaid but the cost of travel and accommodation are almost always paid by the organization. A site to start your research is do-it.org, through which you can search for opportunities based on your location, your interests, or the causes you care about most. Volunteering will also offer you the opportunity to meet people with whom to share the passions and same interests, which are essential to enrich your professional contacts.

Freelance and self-employed

More and more people decide to work on their own for more flexibility and control over their career. The English bureaucracy is known to be simpler than other European countries: you just need to fill in a form on the HMRC website to declare your business.

To create a company you will have to go to this page instead. Waiting times vary between eight and ten days, and the cost of the application is currently £ 40. You may optionally request a fast registration of your company (on the day you submit your application), provided that Companies House receives your application no later than three in the afternoon, and with a fee of £ 100.

Nothing prevents you from being employed on behalf of a company and self-employed at the same time, as long as the times of the two jobs do not coincide.

There are many advantages to being freelance or freelancer, including:

  • A less monotonous job and more flexibility with your schedule;
  • The possibility of being paid much more than a similar job as an employee;
  • Work from home and avoid hours spent in public transportation every day.

However, there are also negative sides that should not be underestimated, including:

  • You will not have a guaranteed fixed salary, and there may be months in which you may earn less than usual;
  • Depending on your industry, there may be high initial costs before you can start your business;
  • Finding customers, especially at the beginning, can be difficult, and you won’t have a ‘superior’ to help you in case you have a problem.

Tax bands are the same as an employee: you will only start paying taxes when you earn a minimum of £ 12,501 per year.

Night job

Depending on your job you may be asked to work on night shifts. In the UK, a night shift must last a minimum of three hours between 11pm and 6am to be considered as such. Like all other jobs, the employee is entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage the employer is not required to pay you more than the minimum due.

If you are expected to work most of the night, you will be paid for all hours of your shift, even if you are allowed to sleep between tasks (in the case of a carer, for example). Conversely, if you sleep most of the night and only work a few hours, you will be paid only for the actual hours of work.

The other rules of night shifts are:

  • Night clerks cannot work for more than eight hours in a 24 hour period;
  • Minors cannot work between 22:00 and 06:00, with the exception of some jobs (trade, catering, agriculture) in which they cannot work from midnight to 04:00.

Do you have experience in the world of work in England? Share them with us in the comments!

How to prepare for a job interview

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How to prepare for a job interview

Has your application been successful and have you finally been called for a first job interview?

Here are some tips to follow to better prepare for the job interview:

  • It may seem obvious but when you are given a date and place for the job interview, try not to decline or postpone, nor anticipate. Do whatever you can to be free on the requested date.
  • Conduct research: it is essential to arrive prepared for the interview, enter the website of the company you have applied for and read the story. How the company was born and the words of its founder / CEO – remember that the idea and philosophy behind the brand will be the subject of several questions that you will be asked during the interview.
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  • Review your Curriculum Vitae: It is obvious that you know very well your CV but do not forget to review your professional history, important especially if they will ask you questions regarding some specific positions held during your career; be ready to answer.
  • If there are long periods of time (gaps) in your Curriculum Vitae in which you have not worked for various reasons, prepare an intelligent justification. If the reason is personal, hopefully never too serious, be honest. Also be sincere for reasons concerning travel or volunteering, both of which are welcomed very well here in England. If the reasons are others, try to articulate a plausible answer and make sure the conversation move on the fact that in your career you have always been a hard worker, apart from these breaks.

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Some of the most frequently asked questions will be the following:

Why did you decide to apply for this role?”

At home, write down plausible answers. Only you really know what really pushed you to apply, be honest, express your admiration towards the company, if possible, towards the products / services it sells. In the case of a fashion company, for example, it may happen that you have worn the garments of that particular brand several times, then make them aware of it and express your interest as much as you can.

“What improvements do you think you can bring to our team?

Here, too, I always recommend taking pen and paper and analyzing your best qualities and using them to ensure that they can represent a potential improvement for the company, eventually you are hired.

List a number of strengths and weaknesses that belong to you”

Once again, make a wise choice and choose weak points that, from another point of view, can also be seen as a strength.

There are different types of contracts and wages in the UK. Find out what the differences are

Where do you see yourself in ten or twenty years?”

Study this answer with caution. Communicate your dreams and, obviously, if your intention is not to be in the company for at least 5 years, do not tell that. We know that sometimes, some jobs are a springboard but this is certainly a detail not to be communicated during a job interview.

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What other basic ideas to follow

– Do not speak if you are not questioned, listen carefully to the manager or the recruiter and if you can, use most of his own words in the answer you will formulate. This will demonstrate not only that you are an excellent listener and a respectful individual but also that your language approaches them.

– Do not take uncomfortable positions, sit straight and it is advisable not to cross your arms. Be confident but humble and make clear that you value anything you are told on the other side.

The outfit: in general, black trousers and jacket, and a shirt that can be either white or black. Specifically, for men a tie is obviously welcome (if the environment is an office and / or formal, and for women, if you choose a skirt, always black, I recommend wearing one with a length that goes beyond the knee. No colored shoes, always choose a black, elegant and formal ones. Light heel, but it is not essential as long as, I repeat, the shoe is black and sober.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE MORE IDEAS ON HOW TO DRESS FOR A JOB INTERVIEW?

– Study well the itinerary in advance. Consider the various traffic and strikes and especially the time you will start the journey, to make sure you arrive on time.

– If you were to succeed at an initial interview and you are asked to start immediately, you will be asked how much notice you will have to give to the company for which you are currently working. If you are not asked, you can mention it, saying that you have a notice to give and respect. The fact that you respect it, speaks volumes about you, as you will be seen as a loyal and respectful worker to any company you will work for.

If you have any suggestions you want us to put on the list of ideas, please let us know in the comments below.