Phd stipend & tax question


Ok these are probably very basic questions, but I have looked on this forum and couldn't find the definitive answer I need.

My supervisor gives me a stipend of 1000 per month for my PhD position, and he claims that is the maximum amount of
money he can give me, otherwise someone has to pay tax (either department or me). Is that true?
This forum suggests that stipends can run up to 18k per year without any tax, and this site
claims that there's no tax at all for stipends of PhD students.

So basically: is there or isn't there a 'no tax' limit to a stipend for PhD?


Avatar for sneaks

Stipends are not taxed. I personally have one that is about 18k - yes applaud my jamminess and don't have to pay tax

HOWEVER it could be that your supervisor is taking the £ out of some other fund i.e. a research fund to pay an RA rather than a PhD student so he might not be able to give you loads. Having said that most PhDs are on about 1000 a month. Failing that he could be creaming it off the top haha



It may be best to speak to your university finance office. I get a bursary which is tax-free because it is classed as a bursary rather than a wage. I receive £1000 per month now, but I do know people that receive more - both in my department and across the university - all tax-free.



There's a minimum PhD stipend which has been increasing annually for a few years now. Last time I checked it was £13,100 and it's tax-free. Take the matter up with the administrative people in the department.


Quote From sneaks:

Stipends are not taxed. I personally have one that is about 18k - yes applaud my jamminess and don't have to pay tax

*applauding your jamminess*


Given that a bursary is, by definition tax free, I don't quite understand his reasoning. But there may be plenty of other reasons why he can't give you any more funding. Im on £1k/month and so is everyone else in my dept. It's the lower end of the scale for PhD salaries but it's not uncommon.

And sneaks - you are the jammiest of dodgers (up)


Your supervisor is telling porkies.

Avatar for sneaks

I would say its odd that it is coming from your supervisor. Most stipends come from the university or a research council - so maybe he is paying you out of his own grant money or something??


I only know for EPSRC (I reckon PPARC is the same though) but MINIMUM stipend for 2009-2010 year is £13,290. I started in 2006 on £12,300. No tax is payable on it to the robber barons...erm, I mean the government.

You have to pay tax on any teaching earnings you get that go over about £5k, but I don't know of any people who rack that much up.

EPSRC says:
"Stipends - You can decide what stipend to pay students as long as it is at least the national minimum set by the research councils".

Someone needs to explain to you where your funding comes from; if it's university money then fine, but if you're on a doctoral training account, you're being screwed over by quite a lot.


Thank you all for your answers.
I have gone to the financial people of my department and they are going to find out where my stipend
money comes from. They made it sound like it was a very definitive amount that I'm getting and that
not much can change.
I'm not very much convinced.

I'm going to find out what my minimum amount of stipend per month is as well, maybe there's a way
to get a bit more.


Michaeal, not to put a downer on it, but unless you're funded by a specific council who set rules on this, then there may not be a minimum. There certainly isn't in my case and my stipend is definitely non-negotiable (ie - there are other people who'll happily take a PhD being paid it).


Is there a minimum? I started in 2006 on £12000 (and stayed on it for 3 years). £1000 seems perfectly normal to me :-)


I think you need to chase this up but there may well be a simple explanation. I get the minimum EPSRC stipend of £13,290 but I also get external sponsorship from a company of £8000 per annum - neither of which are taxed.

Hope this helps.