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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Employment income: scholarship income: student union officials

Section 776 IT(TOI)A 2005 (Section 331 ICTA 1988)

Universities and colleges normally have a students’ union. Its affairs are administered by full- time officers, elected from the student body. A union officer interrupts his course for a sabbatical year whilst he is a union official so that he can devote his full attention to union matters. The individual may retain student status at the university etc but he does not receive full-time education whilst acting as a union official. The sabbatical year forms no part of his course and no examinations are taken at the end of the year. Any local education authority grant is suspended throughout the term of office and in its place he normally receives a payment at an equivalent rate (but for the full 52 weeks) out of the funds of the union.

Payments to the union officer from union funds are earnings from an office or employment with the union and are taxable as employment income. Exemption is unlikely to be due under Section 331, as the student does not receive full- time instruction during the relevant period. Furthermore, the payments received are not scholarship income but a salary paid in return for services to the union.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)