Tax and NI refunds: widening access training scheme

Pound coins

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have created a scheme that allows NHS employees to claim refunds for the income tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions they paid for Widening Access Training (WAT) courses.  Employers need to:

  • identify and inform potentially eligible employees of this opportunity to claim a refund of their tax and national insurance contributions
  • submit claims to HMRC on behalf of eligible employees or process their claims through payroll and
  • advise employees where they need to go for more advice on the scheme, including what to do if their employer at the time of the WAT course no longer exists, as well as the possible impact on their national insurance record and entitlement to state pension benefits.

NHS employees may be able to claim refunds of their income tax and national insurance contributions if:

  • the employer deducted income tax and national insurance from pay while the employee was attending a qualifying (WAT) course or
  • income tax and national insurance were deducted while the employee was doing paid work for an NHS trust and attending a qualifying WAT course.

Under the HMRC scheme employers are responsible for:

  • submitting claims to HMRC made by employees who attended qualifying WAT courses, and had tax and national insurance deducted from their pay, before 6 April 2013 and
  • processing claims from employees who attended courses after this date through the employer's payroll system.

The Widening Access Training scheme has been offered to NHS employees since 1999 and claims for tax and national insurance refunds can be made for any period since it began.

More information
Full details of the scheme are available on the HMRC website.

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