If you’re a student thinking about starting up on your own after graduation, or you have enrolled on our programme with Inspiring Enterprise Winchester, you may be asking yourself this very question. Val Buckingham from Fredricks Foundation has this advice for you…
How much do I need to be earning before repayment starts?
If you took out your loan in England or Wales before 1st September 2012, you will repay your loan under HMRC’s Plan 1. You’ll start repaying your student loan the April after you leave your course. For the 2019/20 tax year, which starts on 6th April 2019, you will need to make repayments if your income is over £364 a week or £1,577 a month (before tax and other deductions). This is a salary of £18,935 per annum.
You’re on Plan 2 if you’re an English or Welsh student who started your undergraduate course on or after 1st September 2012. The earliest you start repaying is when your income is over £494 a week or £2,143 a month (before tax and other deductions). This is a salary of £25,725 per annum.
How and when do I repay?
Repayments are made automatically through the tax system and stop once you’ve paid off your student loan in full. This applies whether you’re self-employed or in direct employment.
Full-time courses – you’ll start repaying the April after you finish or leave your course, but only if you’re earning over the repayment threshold. For example, if you graduate in June 2019, you’ll be due to start repaying in April 2020, if you’re earning enough.
Part-time courses – you’ll be due to start repaying the April four years after the start of your course, or the April after you finish or leave your course, whichever comes first, but only if you’re earning over the repayment threshold..
You’re on a Postgraduate Loan repayment plan if you’re an English or Welsh student who took out a Postgraduate Master’s Loan or Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
If you took out a Master’s loan, the earliest you start repaying is when your income is over £404 a week or £1,750 a month (before tax and other deductions). This is a salary of £21,000 per annum and it’s payable from the first April after you leave your course.
If you took out a Doctoral loan, the earliest you start repaying is when your income is over £404 a week or £1,750 a month (before tax and other deductions). This is a salary of £21,000 per annum and payable from either the:
- first April after you leave your course
- April four years after the course started.
How does this affect me as a self-employed person?
If you complete and return your 2018/19 Self-Assessment form to HMRC by 31st October 2019, HMRC will calculate how much you need to pay for student loan repayments, as well as the usual tax and National Insurance contributions. You can get your accountant to perform these calculations for you if you prefer and include these on your Self-Assessment return for submission to HMRC by the deadline of 31st January 2020.
Your tax liability must be paid to HMRC by 31st January following the end of the tax year. HMRC will pass the details of your student loan repayment amount to the Student Loan Company, who will update your loan account accordingly.
What if I didn’t get my Self-Assessment in before 31st October?
If you don’t submit your Self-Assessment to HMRC by the 31st October, you (or your accountant) will need to calculate the repayment amount and include it on your Self-Assessment return. Every student loan holder is required to pay back 9% of their annual gross income that falls above the threshold.
To work out how much you need to pay, you need to:
- Calculate your annual gross income by adding together your gross salary, gross dividends, and any other earnings
- Subtract the threshold that applies to you (either £18,935 or £25,725 from Plans 1 or 2 highlighted above) from your annual gross income to find out how much over the threshold you are
- Calculate your student loan repayment for the year which will be 9% of the remaining amount.
The balance is your annual payment. You must submit your annual Self-Assessment and the payment for all outstanding tax liabilities, including your student loan, by the HMRC deadline of 31st January to avoid any fines or penalties.
There’s no penalty for paying some or all of your loan early.
If you’ve nearly paid off your loan
You can avoid overpaying if you know your loan will be paid off within the next two years. State on your Self-Assessment tax return that your loan will be paid off in the next two years. Send your online tax return to HMRC before 1st November to avoid overpaying.