Help!

Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q

As a UK-trained teacher working overseas, where can I find advice on my tax situation if I decide to return this summer and work for a supply agency or a summer school? I have taught overseas since August last year and the only time I have spent in the UK since then was a two-week holiday at Christmas. Ideally, I would like to do two or three weeks' work.

A

The tax position of those working overseas is complicated and much will depend upon where you are working and for how long. If you went to work overseas last August, it would appear that you have been out of the UK for part of two tax years - the new tax year starts in April. This might mean you are treated as a non-resident in the UK for income tax purposes. But you won't avoid paying tax on any UK income. For more detailed information on this issue, consult an Inland Revenue enquiry office or see www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk. The Inland Revenue also has two leaflets that may be of help: IR 138 and IR 20. The text of these leaflets is also available on the website.

Q

I keep going for interviews at which the candidates are asked to hang around until everyone has been interviewed and the panel has reached a decision. Eventually, one of us is summoned, while the rest are told by a staff member, usually the deputy head, that we haven't got the job. I find this very demoralising and extremely wasteful of my time. What can I do?

A

I don't understand why this time-wasting form of interviewing ever took hold in teaching. The only thing in its favour is that if the panel wants to recall candidates for further questioning, they are on hand. But as this never happens, the tradition should be stopped. I suggest you tell the panel you have to leave by a certain time for another appointment, and that if they want any further information you can be contacted by phone. If all interviewees took this line, it would save them some time, and schools some embarrassment.

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Do you have a career question for him?

Email: susan.young@newsint.co.uk

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