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Student Loans

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Good morning,


I had loans at University between 1998 and 2002. Following this I got a permanent full-time job and began to pay back the loans. Since April 2004 I have either been unemployed or self employed. For this entire time no contact occurred between myself and SLC and no payments made as I was always paid below the payment threshold (£5300 p/a) via a Managed Service Company or a Limited Company as a Director.


During a recent random check of my self-assessment it was noted that my accountant had not ticked the "Pay Student Loans" box on my previous two returns and now SLC wanted to claim the money owed for those two years (approx £3600). My accountant looked at my returns and got that figure reduced to £2100 but there has been no contact from SLC. Letters have been sent by my accountant to them asking for any furtehr information. I have since been sent a statement saying I owe roughly £13000 in total.


My questions to you are.....is this agreement enforceable? I have spoken to people and "deferrment" was mentioned but on the SLC website it says my style of loan cannot be deferred. CAn anyone help or advise? Please.....



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By engaging my accountant and having him reopen my 2007/08 return am I acknowledging the debt? Would a Student Loan from September 1998 be statute barred?


I am also on a DMP currently with Debt Advisory Line. If I add my student loan to this DMP would it help...even with a token payment of say £10-15 a month?


Jase (again)

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Hi Jase,


Probably not much you can do. If you started uni in 1998 (as did I) you probably have an income-contingent loan which means that you repay 9% of your earnings over the average earnings threshold, which was £10000 then but went up to £15000 a few years ago. The repayments are taken by the Inland Revenue through PAYE (if employed) or through Self Assessment (if you are self-employed etc). The Revenue then pass the monies on to the Students Loan Company. You can also make additional payments to direct to the SLC.


I definitely wouldn't add your student loan to a debt management plan as it's not a "proper" debt anyway (i.e. doesn't show up on credit records etc.) and the interest rate is very low (I think based on cost-of-living increases as calculated by National Statistics).


I had what appears to be a similar problem to you in 2006; I had been making repayments through PAYE but when I changed jobs my new employer's payroll clerk forgot to tick the box on the payroll system to deduct loan repayments despite me ticking the P46 box to say that they needed to. As a result I missed nine months of repayments and when I completed my tax return for that year was shocked to find that in addition to the smallish amount of tax owed I also had to pay over £2,000 of Loan repayments.


I spoke to the SLC and they told me to speak to the Inland Revenue, who in turn asked me to write to them. I did, but they failed to get back to me and then started chasing me for the outstanding tax (which wasn't income tax but loan repayments!) and when I queried it was told that I had left it too late to resolve problems with the previous years' tax return! I then ended up having to undertake a lot more locum work in addition to my full-time job (I'm a pharmacist) to pay them off.


I honestly can't remember if the student loans for students who started after 1998 are regulated under the CCA as I can't find the agreements that I signed, and this only occurred to me today. I would imagine they probably aren't, which means they can't default you etc. However, the Inland Revenue collect on their behalf and can do all sorts of stuff that "normal" debt collectors can't.


I would suggest that your accountant might be liable as they made the error, but as I have never used an accountant I don't know how this would work. Maybe engage a different accountant to look over the work done by the previous guy and see what they suggest, or perhaps speak to a solicitor. However I was told that despite my employer's clear error, I should have held on to the money and remitted it to the SLC myself and had no legal recourse.


This probably doesn't help much...

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