Whilst much of Europe has adopted the Euro as its common currency, the UK is currently waiting to see where its best interests lie and has retained the Pound Sterling (£)as its legal tender.
Essential currency facts:
- There are 100 pence in a pound.
- Available coins are: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 & £2.
- Available notes are: £5, £10, £20 & £50
You will also find notes issued by the bank of Scotland and the Bank of Ireland. Whilst these are legal currency, they are often rejected in England except at Banks and Post Offices.
The Bank of England has made efforts to reduce the ease of counterfeit. Check for a metal strip woven through the notes and a watermark.
There are four common 'high street' Banks; Barclays, Natwest, HSBC and LloydsTSB, although several former Building Societies have now taken on Bank status and can offer similar account solutions.
The problem is that many people find it nearly impossible to open an account, unless they have every piece of documentation under the sun, including passport, birth certificate, driving licence, proof of residential address (such as a utility bill - impossible to get when you first arrive) and a letter of employment from your employer.
For this reason, Sonographers Medical has established an excellent relationship with Barclays Wealth International who have accounts specifically designed for professionals moving to the UK and can even arrange to have your bank account opened before you arrive!
Click here for more information.
Everyone working in the UK is required to apply for a National insurance number.
You will need to contact your local "Department of Social Security, DSS, and arrange an appointment.
You will then need to go along with your passport, any other piece of ID you have with you and a letter confirming you are in employment (from the employer). They will subsequently send you a card with your new number through the post, but this normally takes 8-10 weeks.
The NI number will be unique to you and is used by employers, the Contribution Agency and the Inland Revenue. Until you receive your personal number, you will find many people using a temporary number consisting of the initials TN followed by your date of birth in 6 figures and the letter F or M depending on gender. These temporary NI Numbers can not be used for 'End of Year returns, so it is important you obtain an NI as soon as possible.
Having a National Insurance Number does not entitle you to Social Security Benefits, unless you are a British Citizen.
Paying tax is not an option. It is mandatory. income is generally taxed at source (before it is paid to you) and the amount of tax you pay will depend on the amount of money your earn. Tax bands currently vary from 10% to 40%.
If you work for less than a tax year (April 6 - April 5) or have been allocated an Emergency Tax Code, you might be able to claim a tax rebate.
You will need a P45 (a declaration of earnings and tax paid, given to you when you leave a job) as well as a P60 (declaration of earnings and tax paid, given to you in May, for any position you were still employed in at the end of the tax year).
If you are leaving the UK before the tax year is out, and do not intend on working here again, you may be able to claim before the end of the year, using form P85. This form, and additional information on the tax system can be obtained at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk or by telephone on 0845 070 0040