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Do You Pay Tax and National Insurance on an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “Do you pay tax and national insurance on an apprenticeship?”

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of taxation and National Insurance for apprenticeships, providing you with the necessary information to confidently navigate these obligations.

Do You Pay Tax and National Insurance on an Apprenticeship

Tax on Apprenticeships

Regarding taxation on apprenticeships, the rules can be quite straightforward. Generally, apprentices are treated as employees for tax purposes. This means that, like any other employee, you may be required to pay income tax on your earnings. However, your tax amount depends on your income and personal circumstances.

Income Tax Allowances

Every individual is entitled to a tax-free allowance, known as the Personal Allowance. As of the 2023/2024 tax year, the current Personal Allowance stands at £12,570. This means you will not have to pay income tax on earnings below this threshold. However, if your income exceeds this amount, you will be subject to income tax based on a progressive tax system.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs)

In addition to income tax, National Insurance contributions are another important aspect of financial obligations for apprentices. NICs are payments made to the government that contribute to various state benefits and pension schemes. As an apprentice, you will be liable to pay NICs if your earnings exceed the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL).

The LEL for National Insurance is set at £123 per week for the 2023/2024 tax year. You won’t have to pay National Insurance if your earnings fall below this threshold. However, if your earnings exceed the LEL, you must contribute.

Different Types of National Insurance

There are different classes of National Insurance, and the one applicable to apprentices depends on their age and earnings:

  1. Class 1 National Insurance: Apprentices under 16 and those aged 16 to the State Pension earning above the LEL will be required to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The rate for apprentices falls into the Category H classification, which has a lower percentage than the standard rate.
  2. Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance: These classes usually apply to self-employed individuals. Apprentices employed under an apprenticeship agreement are not considered self-employed, so Class 2 and 4 contributions generally do not apply.


As an apprentice, understanding the taxation and National Insurance obligations is crucial to ensure compliance with the law and managing your finances effectively. Remember, you may need to pay income tax if your earnings exceed the Personal Allowance and National Insurance contributions if your earnings surpass the Lower Earnings Limit. 

Familiarise yourself with the specific rules and rates applicable to your circumstances to ensure you fulfil your obligations correctly. If you have further queries or concerns, consulting with a tax professional or contacting HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can provide personalised guidance.

Updated on July 8, 2023

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