NHS Employers have confirmed that nursing associates do not qualify for tax exemption under the HMRC Widening Access Training (WAT) scheme.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have taken the view the role does not qualify for the tax and national insurance (NI) exemptions on the basis that the income received is more similar in nature to a salary than a scholarship income.
In order to be eligible for a refund, or receive payments free of tax and NI contributions, applicants need to satisfy certain qualifying conditions. These are: either an employee receives an income as part of a scholarship or bursary; or receives full-time instruction at a recognised university or similar establishment open to the public.
HMRC have taken the view that the payments received by trainees are subject to superannuation contributions, where progression can be made on a salary scale, making them more characteristic of a salary rather than the receipt of a bursary or similar endowment. It is also considered that as the majority of training is provided in-post by the NHS, with possibly only one day per week spent at an educational establishment, this does not satisfy the qualifying conditions.