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National Insurance and Income Tax
When you are 16 you will be given a National Insurance Number. It is your unique number so make sure you keep it safe - you will need it when you start work. If you are aged between 15 years and 9 months old and 20 and have not yet received your National Insurance number, call the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 between 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Every worker over the age of 16 pays National Insurance contributions which are deducted from your earnings if you earn over a certain amount. It is your employer's responsibility to deduct your National Insurance contributions from your wages through the PAYE system. Your contributions go towards any pension and benefits you may be entitled to in the future. The amount you pay will depend on how much you earn.
You can currently earn up to £146 a week before you pay any National Insurance contributions. This is known as the 'primary threshold'. However, as long as you earn more than £107 a week (2012-13) you can still build up your entitlement to a State Pension and certain other benefits. This is known as the 'lower earnings limit'.
If you are concerned that you aren't paying the correct amount in National Insurance, talk to your employer in the first instance. You can also contact the National Insurance enquiries helpline for employees and individuals on Telephone 0845 302 1479 (open 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday, closed weekends and bank holidays) or visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.
You may also pay Income Tax on your earnings. Your local tax office will give you a tax code which tells you how much you can earn before you pay any income tax.
For the tax year from April 2012-March 2013 your personal allowance - the amount you can earn in a year without paying any tax - is £8,105. Tax is taken from the rest of your salary. The current amount you will pay in tax is 20% of your pay after your tax allowance.
At the end of each tax year you will receive a P60 form which tells you how much you have earned and how much tax you have paid that year. You must keep your P60s in a safe place.
If you leave a job, you need to get a P45 form from your old employer which shows your tax payments. Your new employer will need this to make sure they take the correct amount of tax from your wages.
Your local tax office will answer any questions you have and more information about Tax and National Insurance can be found at the HM Revenue and Customs website.