The University operates a Relocation Scheme that may be available to new staff, depending upon circumstances and their eligibility.
The following arrangements apply to appointments with offer letters dated on or after 1 September 2011.
For any queries or applications where the offer letter is dated earlier than 1 September 2011 please contact the Relocation Scheme Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Authorisation for Relocation Allowance (52kb) form - please note that this is for completion by Departmental Administrators only
(a) Eligibility for relocation expenses
(i) Staff appointed to posts which are funded from the University's General Revenue Account may be eligible to claim the costs of relocation expenses, subject to the department's discretion and the general conditions below.
(ii) Externally-funded staff may receive such allowances as are provided by the grant-giving body concerned, subject to the general conditions set out below. In the event that the grant-giving body will not support the full cost of relocation expenses it may be possible for a contribution towards such costs to be made by the appointing department, subject to the availability of departmental funds.
(b) General conditions
Note: it should not be assumed that any allowances will be payable until the approval of both/either the department or the grantor as appropriate has been received.Distance
(i) Appointees must live outside a reasonable travelling distance from Oxford at the time of appointment (i.e. date of letter of appointment) and should move to within such a distance in order to qualify for relocation expenses. A reasonable travelling distance is defined for this purpose as a 25 mile radius from the Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG [see map].Timescale
(ii) The HMRC tax rules that govern the Relocation Scheme set an allowable timescale within which the move should be made. In order to qualify, expenses must normally be incurred before the end of the tax year following the one in which the new appointment is taken up.
For clarity, tax years start on 6th April. Thus, if an appointment is made from 3rd February 2010, the appointee will have until 5th April 2011 to incur qualifying expenses (circa 14 months); conversely, an appointee with a start date of 6th April 2010 will have until 5th April 2012 (a full 24 months).
(c) Extensions to the usual time limit
Where it is not possible to move within the defined timescale the following rules will apply:
(i) Applicants will be required in the first instance to seek permission for an extension from HMRC, explaining in full the reasons for the delay. It may be possible to gain an extension if you have to delay moving in order to allow a child to complete school exams, or because you have difficulty selling your home within the usual time limit. Correspondence should be addressed to: HMRC, Government Buildings, Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff CF14 5FP, quoting your National Insurance number and the University's tax reference number of 075/Z1035. Where HMRC grant an extension, applicants will be accepted into the scheme in accordance with the eligibility outlined above.
(ii) The scheme will not support applications for extensions that exceed the above limits and are declined by HMRC. It may be possible in such circumstances to apply for an interest free loan as described in section 2 (h) below.
2. Allowances available
(a) General Considerations
Payment of the relocation costs for any appointment is at the discretion of departments. In deciding whether or not to offer a relocation allowance, the department will have regard to the following considerations: the need to recruit nationally or internationally to secure a suitable appointment; the difficulty of recruiting to a particular post; the importance of the post to the academic and business needs of the department; the need to pay relocation costs in order to secure the appointment; and any other material factors. (Where the department intends to pay a relocation allowance this should normally be stated in the Additional Information section of the job description template, as follows: “Subject to HMRC regulations and the availability of funding, a relocation allowance may be available”.)
Relocation allowances will not generally be paid where departments intend to recruit locally.
The Relocation Allowance will normally be capped at £8,000 (the income tax threshold for relocation claims). Appointees will normally be expected to bear the costs above £8,000. Where costs significantly exceed the allowance available, it may be possible for the appointee to apply for an interest-free loan from the department.
In exceptional circumstances, when particular recruitment imperatives apply, more than £8,000 may be available if authorised by the head of department. (The decision as to whether the department will bear the associated income tax will also made by the head of department.) In the case of appointments to statutory professorships, the Registrar will determine the level of the allowance and the associated tax costs to be paid, on the advice of the division and the department.
The agreed level of the allowance should be used to pay for any necessary costs associated with removal from the main residence, professional fees in relation to the sale or purchase of a property, and a single journey from the place of previous residence to Oxford for the recruit, any spouse or partner, and dependent children. The allowance is designed to cover the appropriate and actual costs of relocation, which in many cases will be well below the ceiling.
(b) Removal of household effects
Under the scheme payment will be met in full for one household move only. A move via store if necessary would be regarded as a single move, and the cost of storage will be met for periods not normally exceeding six months. Reimbursable items include the cost of insuring goods in transit to Oxford, subject to a normal maximum value in the case of overseas appointees of £100,000. If overseas appointees wish to insure their goods for a higher sum, separate approval must be sought.
The scheme does not cover the cost of:
- separate removal of individual items
- removal of motor vehicles, livestock or pets
- separate removal of work-related equipment e.g. laboratory items, files and cabinets, books or computers other than for personal use. For the arrangements relating to these items, see section (g).
(c) Moving from within the UK
Three estimates from independent companies for the cost of removal and storage of household effects must be submitted in writing to the Relocation Officer in advance, payment being limited to the amount of the lowest quotation and in accordance with section (a) above. Please note, supplements or surcharges associated with payment by credit card will not normally be covered by the scheme.
(d) Moving from outside the UK
(i) University Agent
All moves are to be undertaken by Crown Relocations with effect from 1st October 2010.
Crown Relocations are instructed NOT to commence any Oxford University moves until the applicant contract and the amount of the relocation allowance have been verified by the Relocation Officer.
Removal costs will be paid direct to Crown Relocations by the University, up to £8,000 (or the additional sum agreed by the department).
(ii) Air Freight
In certain exceptional circumstances the University will pay for up to 100 kilograms of airline chargeable weight to be transported separately from the main household shipment. The applicant must contact their appointing department and make a case for not transporting the items in question with the main shipment. She/he may, for example, have work in progress that might be adversely affected by a break in continuity and therefore impair the applicant's ability to perform their duties on arrival at Oxford.
All requests for the use of air freight must be made to your appointing department prior to moving.
Please note: Crown Relocations are NOT able to approve air freight. Prior approval must be sought from your appointing department.
(e) Travelling expenses
The scheme may cover the cost up to a maximum of the mileage allowance for one car at the full rate in respect of the initial journey within the UK. For persons coming from overseas, you may seek full reimbursement of one single journey to the UK for yourself and dependent family (see Conditions paragraph) such payment being limited to the cheapest form of travel as between economy class air, cabin class boat, or standard class rail.
It should be noted that when the purchase of return fares is the most economical, a full refund will only be given if the return leg of the ticket is submitted unused with the claim. If the return ticket is not surrendered then only a 50% reimbursement can be claimed. In cases where e-tickets are purchased, in order to claim a full refund, a signed declaration will be required stating that the return journey will not be used. If no declaration is made only 50% of the fare can be claimed.
(f) Professional expenses
Within the relocation allowance, up to £6,500 will be available towards the following costs incurred in the sale and/or purchase of property:
- Solicitors' fees in respect of sale and purchase
- Stamp duty
- Land Registry fees
- Valuation fees
- Registration fees
- Search, survey and property enquiry fees
- Mortgage arrangement/redemption fees
- Estate agents' buying/selling fees or advertising costs
Claims for reimbursement of professional expenses should be submitted in the currency in which the expenditure was incurred. For currencies other than sterling, the appointee may request reimbursement in the original currency. If payment in sterling is required, conversion will be at the University exchange rate applicable at the time of reimbursement. For claims paid in a currency other than sterling the payment will be converted to sterling at the rate that would have applied at the time of payment.
Where costs significantly exceed the allowances available, see interest free loans in section 2(g), below.
(g) Separate removal of work-related equipment
As indicated above, the relocation scheme applies to personal effects only and does not cover the removal of laboratory or office items. The University will normally assist with the removal of such items, and persons moving to the University who wish to receive such assistance should write in the first instance to their appointing department, setting out the position. Each case will be considered on an individual basis.
It should be noted that payments by the University to move work-related items are not regarded by HMRC as part of the employee's taxable income (see Income Tax, below).
(h) Interest free loan
A new appointee who can demonstrate that they have been financially disadvantaged, over and above the allowances available, by moving their home to Oxford, may apply for a long term loan to maximum of £10,000, but only if the eligibility conditions have been met.
Repayment will be made via deduction from salary on a monthly basis unless separate arrangements have been approved by the Deputy Director of Finance (contact details available to Oxford staff only). Please note that this is regarded by HMRC as an employee benefit which will be declared to the tax office each year on a P11(D) and will be subject to income tax.
This facility will be available to cover such things as professional fees and charges which exceed the £6,500 and other costs which have been necessarily incurred as a result of the move.
Applicants must demonstrate that they have purchased (or are purchasing) a property of similar size, position and standard to that they have left/sold.
A separate application form is available on request and persons applying should complete and return it to the Relocation Officer together with any supporting documentation.
Applications received will be dealt with on an individual basis with each being considered on its own merits. As such loans will be underwritten by departmental funds, the authority of the Head of Department will be sought by the Finance Division before approval is given. Approval should not be assumed except when written approval is received.
Relocation expenses paid under this scheme are subject to the post-holder giving written agreement at the time of application to the effect that if they resign (or are dismissed) prior to the completion of three years' service, they will refund that proportion of the expenses by which the period of actual employment falls short of three years. If appropriate, any outstanding expenses will be reclaimed via deductions from the remaining salary payments.
Please note this condition applies universally: applicants to the scheme who have an initial contract period of less than 3 years will equally be requested to repay a proportion if they leave prior to the end of the 3 year period (i.e. in accordance with their initial contract term, or without extension to 3 years or beyond).
In exceptional cases the repayment may be spread, at the discretion of the Deputy Director of Finance (contact details available to Oxford staff only), over a period not exceeding 12 months after the individual has left the University. Permission to repay any significant amount in this way must be obtained in writing in advance of termination of employment.
Applicants for a loan made under section 2(h) of these guidelines will be required to sign a separate declaration in respect of the loan.
In cases of the joint University and college appointments of CUF Lecturers and Titular CUF Lecturers, the University will only pay the proportion of the relocation expenses which the University's share of salary bears to the total joint salary according to the salary scale for lecturers.
For the purposes of the scheme an applicant's household will normally be taken to include the applicant's spouse or partner and their unmarried dependent children under the age of 16 or in full-time education or other approved full-time training at the time of the applicant's appointment.
The relocation allowance is intended to cover the move of one household. No double-claiming is permissible. If more than one member of the household is eligible for the University’s relocation scheme, or if one member is eligible and another has access to a similar scheme through a different employer, the total combined reimbursement may not exceed the ceiling set by the University or the other employer (each to be responsible for a reasonable share – usually half of the total.) Two members of the same household relocating to join the University’s staff may normally only claim a combined allowance of up to £8,000.
4. Income Tax
All appointees should be aware that under UK Tax Law, benefits paid to new employees (or on their behalf to agents or others providing services) to assist with the costs of relocation to a new job are, subject to certain exemptions set out in the relevant legislation, regarded as part of the employee's taxable income. The University will pay the relocation allowances covered by this scheme without deduction of tax but will be obliged as employer to submit returns to HMRC, at the end of the tax year, of any assistance that has been paid.
Whilst the individual employee will be responsible for declaring any assistance on his or her tax return, with the Head of Department's approval, the University may reimburse the employee for any tax liability assessed by HMRC as a taxable element of relocation allowances as a result of exceeding the limit for qualifying benefit (currently £8,000) providing in all cases that the HMRC time-limit for claims is not exceeded.
The employee should, on receipt of a demand from HMRC, notify Relocation Officer in writing together with a copy of the demand whereupon the amount will be refunded via salary as soon as practicable.
As indicated in section 2(g), payments for the removal of laboratory or office items are not recorded as employee benefits, and are not required to be declared to HMRC by the University or by the employee.
Current legislation provides that, for those expenses that are eligible for tax free treatment, the first £8,000 of qualifying benefit will be exempt from tax so long as certain conditions are met. These are essentially that:
- the employee's existing home is not within reasonable daily travelling distance of the new workplace (i.e. it is outside a 25 mile radius from the Bodleian Library);
- the home the employee moves to is within reasonable daily travelling distance of the new workplace (i.e. within a 25 mile radius from the Bodleian Library);
- the expenses are (unless an extension is granted by HMRC) incurred, or the benefits provided, before the end of the tax year following that in which the appointment is taken up.
Special rules govern the payment of travelling expenses for appointees and their families from abroad and these make available additional tax reliefs to overseas appointees who are not UK domiciled: further details are available on request.
Additional guidance is available from the Relocation Scheme Officer (available to Oxford staff only), and full details may be obtained from UK Tax Enquiry Centres and Offices and also at www.hmrc.gov.uk/guidance/relocation.htm
No reimbursement of expenses will be made until the department has submitted the appropriate authorisation form, stating the amount of the relocation allowance, to the Relocation Officer.
The person authorised to sign for relocation should submit the Authorisation for Relocation Allowance (52kb) form to the Relocation Officer.
After the relocation allowance has been approved, the applicant should compete and submit the forms below, along with paid original invoices or receipts, to the Relocation Officer (contact details at the bottom of this page). The Finance Division cannot accept electronic receipts.
- Reimbursement of Travel expenses (1,121kb)
- Reimbursement of Removal expenses (1,097kb)
- Reimbursement of Professional fees (1,236kb)
Administration of the Scheme is dealt with by the Relocation Officer to whom any enquiries should initially be directed.
For further information, please contact:
Address: 23-38 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, OX1 2ET