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Unite in health

Edit8 December 2014

Widening Access Training Scheme – have you overpaid tax and national insurance?

NHS Payroll departments have been contacting staff who may be eligible to receive a refund of Tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions, paid in error, whilst they were in full-time education.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have stated that employed staff also in full-time education are exempt from Tax and NI up to an annual allowance on earnings of £15,480, whilst in training, provided they meet the following conditions: 

The claimant must have been:

  • An existing NHS employee when starting a training scheme (this could have been at another NHS organisation). 
  • Looking to widen their knowledge. 
  • In full-time attendance at an educational establishment for at least one academic year, and must have attended the course for at least 20 weeks in that academic year. If the course is longer, the employee must attend for at least 20 weeks on average in an academic year over the period of the course.  
Claims for refunds of tax and NI can be made for the period September 1999 to March 2013.  

HMRC normally only accept refund claims for the previous 6 tax years. However, this restriction has been extended back to September 1999, to coincide with the start of a specific training scheme; the Widening Access Training Scheme

NB: If you were on a training course that began prior to September 1999, then you will not be eligible for a refund.

You should claim directly to HMRC, and they ask that you apply in writing and provide the following information:
  1. National Insurance Number
  2. An explanation of why you think you are due a refund, (i.e. incorrectly paid income tax and National Insurance contributions made on payments whilst studying full-time)
  3. Confirmation of  which NHS Trust you are currently employed by, and  who you were employed by during the period of your training
  4. Confirmation of the exact start and end date of your training.
  5. Confirmation of the amount of bursary you received to attend the course (this is probably your basic wage).  Please note, any additional paid work (bank or term time) that you carried out for the NHS during the period of your training would still be liable for tax and National Insurance contributions.  If you did no additional paid work for the NHS during the period of your training, then please advise this in your letter. If you did do additional paid work then you must provide HMRC with sample copies of your payslips for each of the tax years involved.  
  6. Proof of your student status (ie letter of secondment from NHS to attend, and any certificates attained).
  7. Payslips for the period of training if you have then.
All written claims should be sent to:
Widening Access Central Co-ordination Team
Multi Refunds Room BP2001
Benton Park View
NE98 1ZZ 

Some members have already successfully claimed a refund, following notification by their employer that they may be eligible.  You should contact HMRC directly, with all the relevant information, to find out whether you are also eligible for tax and National insurance contributions made during your own training period.