While you were studying at university, loans from the Student Loans Company to cover the cost of fees and maintenance costs may have seemed like a godsend. But once you’ve donned the cap and gown and began post-student life in the workplace, you’re faced with the joyous task of having to repay them. 
 
If you’re a permanent or agency employee, you’ll likely give these repayments little thought. Like income tax and national insurance contributions, student loans are deducted for you, before you receive your net income. And unless you keep a close eye on your payslips, you may not even know how much you’re repaying each month. 
 
For contractors, this responsibility is all yours at the end of each financial year, so it’s important to be aware of how and when you should go about making repayments. 
How much do I need to repay? 
 
Depends on whether you are on Plan 1 or Plan 2. 
 
Plan 1 
 
You're on Plan 1 if you're: 
an English or Welsh student who started your undergraduate course before 1 September 2012 
a Scottish or Northern Irish student 
 
On Plan 1, the repayment threshold is £18,330 per year - so once your earnings exceed this, student loan repayments are calculated at 9%. 
Plan 2 
 
You're on Plan 2 if you're: 
an English or Welsh student who started your undergraduate course on or after 1 September 2012 
 
On Plan 2, the repayment threshold is £25,000 per year - so once your earnings exceed this, student loan repayments are calculated at 9%. 
 
It’s worth bearing in mind that these are the figures for the 2018-19 financial year, and you should check the Student Finance website to find out if these figures have changed by the time you’re completing your self-assessment. 
 
For permanent and agencies employees, HMRC will deduct 9% of an employee’s gross monthly income, regardless of the loan amount to repay. For example, if two employees both earn £25,000, one of whom has £10,000 in student loans, and the other has £3,000, both will pay £30 a month if their loan was provided by the Student Loan Company in England or Wales. 
 
Self-employed individuals should calculate their repayments in the same way. 
 
How do I make the repayments? 
 
There are a couple of ways in which self-employed contractors can make their repayments. The first is to simply calculate the amount due each year, based on 9% of gross income, and declare this on the your personal tax return, which should be submitted by the 31st January each year. 
 
For contractors who work throughout the year on both a self-employed and employed basis, some of your student loan repayments will automatically be calculated by your employer. Repayments over this amount should be calculated separately. 
 
Lastly, if you’d prefer to make the payments throughout the year, instead of declaring 9% of your earnings at the end of January, you can pay Student Loans directly, as frequently as you like. With this option, you can also choose to set up a monthly direct debit, increase the payment amount, make additional one-off payments, or pay the remainder of the balance. 
 
If you’d like to discuss the best repayment option for your employment situation, or have any queries about student loans or self-assessment in general, please feel free to get in touch. 
 
 
 
 
Written by: 
 
Nicola J O'Sullivan -  
Effective Accounting 
 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
 
 
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