Income Tax and National Insurance contributions for NHS WATS courses

14 June 2019


For NHS employees who attend training courses, often known as widening access training scheme (WATS) courses, tax and NICs will be due on payments made for courses starting from 1 September 2019.


Guidance on how to apply the tax rules for NHS employees who attend WATS courses has been updated to explain that no refunds of Income Tax and National Insurance contributions can be made for WATS courses starting on or after 1 September 2019.



When tax and National Insurance contributions should be deducted


Courses starting before 1 September 2019

If you’re not currently deducting tax or National Insurance from payments and the course starts before 1 September 2019, you should carry on paying your employee in this way until the course is finished.


If tax and National Insurance has not been paid in the past, HMRC will not ask you to pay it.

If you’re already deducting tax or National Insurance, you should continue to do this.


Courses starting on or after 1 September 2019

You must deduct tax and National Insurance on any payments made to employees taking part in these courses.


How to deal with employees’ refund requests

You may have been giving refunds to employees or former employees where you’ve deducted tax or National Insurance from their pay when they were attending a course.


Refund requests received before 1 September 2019

You can continue to provide refunds under your existing procedures.


Refund requests received after 1 September 2019

Refunds should not be considered if the request is received on or after 1 September 2019, unless you’ve already told your employee they’ll get one at the end of their term or course.



How to claim a refund from HMRC


Training courses started before 6 April 2013

You should submit claims to HMRC on behalf of your employee.

You can do this by sending a schedule by email to HMRC’s Widening Access team [email protected] and they will issue the refund.


HMRC will not process refunds sent after 1 September 2019.


Training courses started after 6 April 2013

You should deal with the refund through your payroll system.